Coast-to-Coast Riders Roughly Halfway Home

Coast to Coast 2012

From left: Nate Windon, Melina Benson and Sean Burn take a breather at a Rocky Mountain pass in south-central Colorado. (Photo courtesy http://coasttocoastforacure2012.blogspot.com)

Melina Benson, Sean Burn and Nate Windon, the UConn medical and graduate students-turned-cross-country cyclists for the summer, are nearly four weeks into the 2012 Coast to Coast for a Cure, a 4,000-mile bicycle tour to raise money for Lea’s Foundation for Leukemia Research.

Along the way the riders have been keeping a blog. Below is a recent entry, written by Benson:

Day 25: I Fought the Wind and the Wind Won

Fowler, CO to Tribune, KS (138 miles): To say we woke up in Fowler might be misleading because it would wrongly imply that we slept. I’m not sure how anyone can possibly do so with a whistle-blowing train passing through town every few hours, but I have great respect for the resilience of the locals. We broke fast at Tamarac Diner and got on the road shortly before 9 a.m. The riding was smooth and relatively flat for the first few hours, where we were able to keep our speed around 20 MPH. Eastern Colorado may just as well be Kansas for its barren monotony: dry flat ground, blue expanse of sky in all directions. I tried to pass the time by making Nate play the People Game with me (I’m thinking of a person… it’s a man… we both know him… ask me yes/no questions), but I think I might be the only remaining person from my generation that thoroughly enjoys said game. Blame it on the GameBoys.

Ten miles shy of our lunch stop, Eads, an invisible force coming from the south decided to wake up and try its darnedest to keep us from progressing. Winds reminiscent of Nevada were so strong Sean and I regressed to venting our frustration in the form of a few primal screams. Throughout the rest of the day, the wind may have induced every stage of the Kubler-Ross grief model. Denial… Anger… Bargaining… Depression… Acceptance (I may or may not be exaggerating).

Eads was adorable. We found a lunch place and then hung out in the gas station, the veritable social center of town. Three toothless old men sitting at the table next to us, and a couple sitting behind us were soaking up the apparent entertainment value we provided so much that they started answering each other’s questions; the old men asked where we were headed that night, and the couple answered, “Tribune!” After consuming vast quantities of Powerade, we resumed our battle against the wind and heat to cross into Kansas! We reached the Trail’s End Motel close to 9 p.m. The owner gave us a room at half the regular rate, and pointed us across the street to a gas station as the only place in town to get food so late. I’m not sure I’ll ever eat a gas station burrito again in my life, but I can’t imagine anything beating the ones we bought and smothered in salsa. I chased it with a “milksnake,” to borrow Nate’s term. We walked back to our room and deliriously laughed way too hard at Tosh.O.

Follow the 2012 Coast to Coast for a Cure riders at http://coasttocoastforacure2012.blogspot.com.


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