The Route So Far - Google Maps

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We are doing this ride to raise money for Research Autism. We are aiming to raise £20,000.
We are supporting Research Autism because my cousin Jamie is severely affected by the disease, and I have seen its effects not only on him but on the whole family." He is 13yrs old, but cannot yet talk.
Just take a moment to imagine not being able to talk.
Imagine understanding everything going on around you, but not being able to comment.
Imagine having to be dressed every morning in clothes you don't choose, and then hurting your parents as you try to tell them you wanted the blue shirt today.
Imagine being swamped by having to hear everything that everyone is saying around you, and not being able to listen to just one thing at once. Jamie loves being in a swimming pool, just floating, legs held motionless by the weight of the water, while he keeps his ears underwater to just relax, hearing nothing.
He understands everything - he appears to have a photographic memory - but can’t get his thoughts out.
Frustration leads to despair, and anger, which is just one of the many things that his family has to deal with.
He has extremely specific eating requirements and requires round the clock supervision. Jamie is at the severe end of the autistic spectrum, but given that one in 100 people suffer from the disease (with varying severity), and that everyone has some autistic traits, it is shocking that so little is known about it'.
Click here to support our cause and donate to Research Autism.
Read the "Meet Jamie" post - the only post in February, for more information about Jamie, and a poem - painstakingly slow for Jamie to type, but ultimately incredible.

Photo Video - New York to St Louis

May 27, 2010

First Tuesday, then Wednesday - No Wifi in Kansas.

Tuesday 25th May - McPherson - Rush Centre 95 miles, 3 burgers, 1 spoke - 11 spokes, 3108kms, 31 days, 78 burgers

Today was a day easily divided in thirds. We did 95 miles, 3 sets of 30ish. First, after leaving Courtney and Dave's at 10 - refreshed and relaxed after a good meal, shower and sleep - we got to the town of Lyons - passing the 3000km milestone on main street. Shortly afterwards I broke yet another spoke, but decided to fix it in Great Bend 30 miles on. We ate lunch in Dairy Queen in Lyons - branching out our fast food tasting mission - then cycled to Golden Bike Shop in Great Bend (named as it comes at a big junction, and highway 56's only bend in Kansas). Here we fixed our spoke, and had a load of help from the owner, concerning gears and chains and bicycling Kansas.

We then embarked on the final third of our trip - leaving Great Bend late, after a KFC buffet. We got to Rush Center at 8.40, and went straight to the liquor store to find a spot to camp and something to celebrate our cycling efforts with. Great, peaceful campsite, near the highway (peaceful highway). Until 11 o Clock that is, when, as we started to sleep - the tent started collapsing on Alex's head because of the high winds. The rain meant that quick fixes with extra ropes, and sticks as pegs were out of the question (the tent only comes with minimal pegs - and as such is "not suitable for severe weather"). This weather was certainly severe. Hail the size of golfballs was falling 20 miles north of us, and the lightning was sharp and widespread. We decided to leap out, take all the pegs out, and drag the tent to the other side of the park we were camping in - to be in the lee of a big warehouse 50m away. Now 50m could be done in 5 secs by Usain Bolt on a clear day, but for a night time race in "adverse" weather conditions dragging a tent against the wind with a sandpit and a tap as an obstacle - I think we set a record. I was back in the tent, in my sleeping bag, all pegs back in, and kit back under cover (second trip) within a minute.

In the process of moving, we ripped a small hole in the bottom of the tent, which meant that I used the mattress donated to me by a rider on "the ride for world health" (see leitchfield, KY post) to lift me out of the wet on the floor! The rain came down pretty hard for 6 hours, which meant the ground was not dry. But, I have now fixed the hole, so we are ready to brave whatever Colorado has to throw at us. Hopefully we won't get snow in the Rocky's.
Wednesday 26th May - Rush Centre - Scott City, 88 miles, 4 burgers - 3250kms, 32 days, 82 burgers

Averages - per day - 102kms, per cycling day - 125kms/78miles, burgers each per day - 1.2, 1 spoke every 3 days.

I woke up at 5.30 (as you do in a tent when the last thing you thought before you went to sleep was "will I be dry in the morning?") and took a peek outside from the safety of my sleeping bag. It was still raining! I made an executive decision not to go ahead with plan A to leave at 6, and rolled over for another couple of hours. At about plan H we decided it was time to get up, and ended up leacing Rush Centre at 10. In the calm aftermath of the storm we made good time - it was cool, clear and not windy. We divided today up into thirds as well, because it worked so well yesterday (and because there is only water every 30 miles) so we arrived in Ness City for Lunch at 12.30. For breakfast we had finished off most of KFC's buffet from yesterday - smuggled out of the restaurant in an inconspicuous big red box.

Another 31 miles took us to Dighton, where we had supper/tea, and a quick 24 miles later took us to Marcia's in Scott City. We covered the 140kms in just over 6 hours, crusing along with East winds helping us on our way. Apparently extremely unusual to have east winds, but suits us just fine. They should continue into tomorrow, and we will make a decision whether to do 75 miles to Sheridan Lake, or 100 miles to EADS, when we get to Sheridan. It would be great to make the most of the East Winds, but 100 miles is a long way anyday, and there is nowhere in between in case we don't make EADS - we'll see how we go.

As I said in my update - wifi is sparse, corn is abundant, and "nothingness" stretches forever. This is a pretty apt description of Kansas - one of the things that has kept me going is the mile markers on the left hand side of the road - every mile there is a number on a little green sign, we started in Kansas City on 421 miles, and 4 days later we are on 53, so we haven't done badly - we have covered the last 700 miles in 9 days from St Louis at 85 miles per riding day, with one rest day. The monotony has brought my "no-hands" skills to a new level, I have cycled 5 continuous kms! - I only stopped because that too got boring - I can also take my raincoat out of my panniers and put it on and take it off. But, all this is tiring, and plenty of miles still to go - we passed the halfway mark yesterday - so another 3000 kms, of deserts and mountains, time to sleep ready for the challenges of tomorrow.

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