My name is John Zassick. I joined the ride in Rapid City, South Dakota and will ride to the Pacific coast. Here are a few observations after my first two days riding with the group.
To reduce weight, the bike seats we use are very small. So small, in fact, that the area of contact between the seat and the rider’s, uh…., area of contact, is reduced to something about the size of pencil eraser. This means that the full weight of an attractive, well marbled rider such as myself, is concentrated on that teensy, tiny point. After many hours of riding and pressure, that area can really start to get angry. To combat this, a friction reducing product is used. It has the appearance and consistency of cream cheese. Coincidentally, you use an amount equal to that typically loaded onto a healthy sized bagel. This is troweled into your bike shorts, directly into the contact area. Any excess that squirts out is simply squeegeed away.
Every day we get a route sheet with turn-by-turn instructions. These are very detailed, and can be somewhat complicated. A typical instruction might say: Mile 87.763, transfer to compass heading 217deg. from true north., WY 51, USGS coord. 12 S., 45 E., alt. 5792.46′. This is not as straightforward to follow as you might guess. Sometimes we ask the locals for directions. These can also be a challenge to follow. We might get something like the following: "Do you see that big tree and the fork in the road over there?Well don’t go that way, it’ll do you no good at all. Instead, go the other way a bit until you see a three legged cocker spaniel. Bear toward Cody, then go about three feed lots or so, and you’ll be good to go. Don’t pet the cocker spaniel.”
When you’re on the ride, you ride single file. The lead rider uses hand signals to warn the riders behind him who can’t yet see upcoming turns, hazards, etc., much like a catcher signals to a pitcher. These signals are passed back from rider to rider. As riders tire, these signals can get sloppy and become hard to decipher. Occasionally, you can’t tell if the guy ahead of you is signaling a right turn, or wants you to throw a 90 mile-per-hour forkball.
That’s all for now.