Oskaloosa Cyclists stopped Friday in Oskaloosa near the end of Bike Across Kansas, a 470-mile road trip with almost 1,000 participants
They were so close.
The bicyclists were only 30 miles from the end of 470-mile journey. They had come almost 70 miles Friday to end up in Oskaloosa.
No one seemed in a rush to finish.
``We don't get in a big hurry,'' Kenny Barnes, Wichita, said. He and his riding partners, in their sixth day of the Bike Across Kansas, usually don't start their daily ride until 8 a.m. or 9 a.m. Some cyclists Friday, they said, began as early as 4:30 a.m.
Almost 1,000 participants in the annual ride pedaled into town throughout the afternoon. The three different routes of the ride, which started last Saturday along the Colorado border, merged Friday. The cyclists will ride last leg of the trip this morning, rolling into Leavenworth.
``We started at Tribune last Saturday, and the overnight temperature was 33 degrees,'' Bob Yulich of Overland Park said. By Friday, the cyclists were riding in temperatures in the high 80s.
Yulich said that when riding on flat stretches at high speeds, the breeze cools the cyclists. On hills, though, the heat can be stifling.
Dozens of cyclists slept Friday afternoon in Oskaloosa High School's gymnasiums, while others pitched tents on the school lawn. Men and women in bicycling shorts wandered the parking lot, chatting with friends. The halls of the school were lined with bicycles. The swimming pool was crowded with riders hot from a day on the road.
Jim Turner of Lawrence had only been with the ride for four days; that was all the time he could get away.
``I broke a spoke, I got lost and I got a flat, but other than that, it was a great day,'' he said. He and Charles Rhine from Greeley, Colo., rode into Oskaloosa after 4 p.m.
``It's not always fun,'' Rhine said. ``You'd be selling bridges in New York if you said it was all fun.''
This year, the two said, they had a great ride. They didn't even get rained on.
``We had one (storm) to the east and one to the west of us, and we were high and dry in Wamego,'' Turner said.
Despite the potential difficulties, the two keep coming back. Rhine has been riding in the BAK since 1987; Turner started riding in it in 1974.
``I've done most of these routes three or four times,'' Turner said.
Barbara Beadle of Overland Park was making the trip for the 13th time.
``To me, the fun of it is the small towns along the way,'' Beadle said. ``You kind of get hooked on it. As my father says, `You don't have to be crazy, but it helps.'''
-- Felicia Haynes' phone message number is 832-7173. Her e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org.