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Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

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Old July 17th 03, 12:49 AM
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Default Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

Here's the rest..........-Mark

Then I turn north on 49 and the crosswind is at last at my back after a
full day of having it come from our side. Robert and Sara catch up just
after the north-bound turn. We flag down a highway patrol car and the
trooper signs our sheet and wishes us well for the night. We keep
expecting the pizzas to show up but we get to mile 125 before the RV and
van pass us and pull off to serve dinner. The kids are jumping up and
down with greetings when we arrive. The weather is pleasant, the breeze
is gentle. The pizza boxes and drinks are on the pavement in the
pullout. We lean up against the cars, eat and rest. Amy rubs birch oil
on my knees, gives me an anti-inflammatory pill, and tells me to take
some homeopathic Arnica tablets through the night. Then I take off
again. Its 7 p.m. 2 hours and 15 minutes of reserve time. Robert and
Sara stay behind to hook up the lights on their bikes. Anne and Amy
drive ahead for a campsite at the Missouri River. Anne will drive back
with the Honda as soon as they’re set up.

My knees had been getting a bit tender before dinner. After the half
hour break they really didn’t want to start turning again. It took a
full half-hour before they recovered from that break and got limbered up
again. No more long breaks tonight. No nap for sure. Open ranchland,
the sun was behind a cloud, I was tired and suddenly feeling lonely and
small in this wide open land with a full night of riding ahead. I was
hoping Robert and Sara would catch up soon, but they were packing their
bikes for the night ride and nowhere in sight. Then a bit later a
rainbow appeared to my right and lifted my spirits. Actually, it was a
double rainbow. The northern end reached up somewhere towards my
destination. The southern trailed my path, out across the fields. The
rainbow was so bright that its reflection shimmered along over the
field. Sara and Robert caught up with me. “That’s a sign, Lars,” Sara
said. I agreed.

After some miles the rainbow faded, and the sun set. We were expecting
Anne back with the Honda anytime. It got slowly darker as we pedaled
on. Cars had their headlights on. Soon we turned ours on. We crossed
the White River and climbed a steep grade to get out of the river
valley. Five more miles we rode until we reached the underpass to
Interstate 90. It was dark now and stars were showing in the sky. “We
need a Honda,” Sara said.

When the infrequent car came our way, you could see its headlights far
into the distance ahead of its approach. “We need a Honda,” Sara would
say for everyone. Finally, one vehicle slowed and turned. It was Anne
and the Honda. We were at mile 151. ‘You got far,” Anne exclaimed.
“Sorry I’m late. We got all set up and then the attendant came and told
us that we were in someone else’s spot. They helped us move, but it
took a long time. I’ve got pizza, chocolate milk, OJ. What do you
want?” It was a quarter past 10. An hour and a half of reserve time.
Sara rode a few circles in the headlights of the Honda to get in the
last three tenths of a mile to make 60 miles for her day, her longest
ever. Then she packed her bike up and got in the Honda to help escort
us through the evening. We rode alongside, following the path of the
headlights. The windows were down and the radio was on so we could all
hear it as we rode.

At midnight we called WCCO radio for our regular Wednesday evening
update with Al Malmberg. “I’m sorry you have to stop,” he apologized.
“Don’t worry. You have no idea how good it feels to stop for a minute.”
Each time we talk now Al gets the address for where listener’s can send
checks for the Seward Peninsula Endowment. We’re looking forward to
meeting him when we get to Minneapolis. He’s becoming a good supporter
of One Wheel – Many Spokes, and he wishes us well for the ride through
the night. Midnight. 164 miles. A little more than an hour of reserve
time left.

Mile 160 to 170 are the slowest ones yet. We’re riding on the Lower
Brule Indian Reservation, headed towards the Missouri River and Fort
Thompsen. For a long stretch I’m only riding 8 miles an hour. “Is that
the dam up there?” Robert laughs at me. “No really, is it?” “Of
course it is,” he replies. The lights are swimming together as I ride
towards them. Then finally, we’re riding over Big Bend Dam, a long
earthen dam that is lit by streetlamps along its full length. “We’re
camped down there,” Anne points to the lower side of the dam, “Just a
few more hours.” We ride through Fort Thompsen, then follow the sign
for East 34.

“You’re doing great, guys,” Sara calls out the window. Now it’s Roberts
turn to zone out. He misses when he tries to return his water bottle to
its carrier and it drops to the ground. And when we pass a flashlight
back and forth to check the odometer, it requires our full concentration
to keep from dropping it. “Shine the light on that sign,” I tell
Robert, “I think it says West on it.” Sure enough. We’ve missed a
turn and we’re on West 34. We check the map and find out this will
work. West 34 is actually heading north on this stretch and that works
for us too. It has turned out well, since the gentle breeze is still
behind us when we travel north.

Mac’s Corner is on the map, but all we see is a single gas station where
we pull in for another piece of pizza. Amazingly, there are two cars
with children and dads in them parked nearby. They start walking toward
us. “We couldn’t believe it when we passed you back there. What are
you doing, trying to set a record or something?”

“Yeah,” I reply, “What are you doing here at two in the morning?”

“Oh, we’re just coming back from taking the kids fishing. I work here.
I’m the head of security at the Cherokee Tribal High School.”

Another official on our path. He agrees to sign our verification sheet.
Two a.m. 19 miles to go. 50 minutes of reserve time left.

We ride long distances in silence except for the radio. When I ask
Robert what the mileage is, I find out we’ve only gone a mile or two
since last asking. Mileage and time are slowing down. There are only
15 miles to go. Not far, I tell myself. 15 miles is a long ways
though. It’s the distance from Greenbank to Coupeville back at home
when I was training last winter. It’s the distance to the beach from
home when I was a kid. I visualize riding down the block from home,
passing each house, turning each corner, riding past my high school, the
mall, and then out Tujunga Canyon Road. I ask Robert the mileage. My
six mile trip in my head is worth two point three on the odometer. Sara
is driving now. Anne is sleeping. Sara looks tired, but she keeps
telling us, “This is great. You’re doing great.” Ten miles to go, we
discover. At last. 30 minutes of reserve time.

There’s a light up ahead in the dark. Two men are standing outside
their broken down car, a lantern on top of the hood. They’re a couple
of sorry looking cowboys who have drunken far too much to be out on the
road. “We need a ride,” one of them tells us. “We’ll ride in the

We have four miles to Highmore. I consider what to do. The Honda is
full of stuff. We’re traveling nine or ten miles an hour. I’d like to
help, but I sure don’t want Anne and Sara riding with two drunks for the
next half hour. It’s a balmy evening and they’re not in danger of
freezing. “No, sorry, we can’t give you a ride. The car’s full. We’ll
go to Highmore and call someone to come and get you.”

“We can fit.”

“No, we can’t give you a ride.”

“We’ll ride on top.”


This conversation is too strange, at nearly 4 a.m. in the morning. I
tell Robert to watch them while I try and get back on the unicycle. It
has become more and more challenging to find my balance and get going
after breaks these last couple of hours. I make it back up on the first
try and we pedal off. Sara drives past them and we continue on.
“Well,” Robert says, “that woke me up.”

In a moment the sky begins to lighten up and we see Highmore in the
distance. Pedal, pedal, pedal. With 23 minutes of reserve time left,
we hit 200 miles, just outside of Highmore. We stop for five minutes to
take pictures and get a drink of orange juice. Then Robert and I get
back on our cycles for one last time for the last few minutes. We ride
thorugh Highmore and make the turn out on to Hwy 14 East, ride a mile or
so out of town and finally stop at 4:45 a.m. The sun is just about ready
to come up. We’ve covered 202.78 miles. It seems a long time ago that
we started this day.

202 miles is a bit less that the distance from New York to Washington
D.C. (233)

Its more than the distance from Seattle to Portland (189)

Its more than half the distance from Los Angeles to San Francisco

Its farther than I ever thought I’d ride a unicycle. And I never could
have done it without Anne and this team of friends who thought this
would be a fun adventure.

I was wondering how I’d feel after this ride. I feel tired. I am
amazed that my body agreed to do this.

Robert volunteers to drive us back to the campsite. The rest of us are
snoring before we leave Highmore.

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Old July 17th 03, 09:54 PM
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Default Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

Great report. Where's the link to part one?

rubic - Unstable Coker Addict

It's never to late to have a happy childhood.

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Old July 17th 03, 10:11 PM
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Default Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

rubic wrote:
*Great report. Where's the link to part one? *

Part one is in the thread titled "Jack Hughes riding the STP"

john_childs - Guinness Mojo

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Old July 17th 03, 10:19 PM
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Default Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

Thanks for posting that, Mark. Yes, if that's on the site a link would
be nice.

Lars, you're an animal! The 24-hour bar has been raised to 202.78 miles,
with what sounds like thorough recordkeeping and witnesses to make it
stick Steve McPeak's 186 miles probably can't be substantiated nearly as

I wonder who will be the next to tackle the 24 hours?

johnfoss - On the Cutting Edge

John Foss
the Uni-Cyclone
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Old July 18th 03, 01:34 AM
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Default Lar's 24 hr ride part 2

johnfoss wrote:
*Thanks for posting that, Mark. Yes, if that's on the site a link
would be nice.

I don't think it's on his site. Lar's sent it to Al Lieffring who
posted it on his Yahoo Group "Al's Unicycling Club"

I did find some pics of this day at



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