Hungry and sick, Fred K reaches Indy in darkness with a Poem!!

Discussion in 'Road Cycling' started by Cycle America/N, May 23, 2003.

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  1. Fred Kirchner, our graduate student who is going for a second masters, made it into Indianapolis
    late last nite. He'll be with Jim Muellner, who also rode from Columbus (in four days instead of
    two), at Indianapolis city hall today with a bunch of riders from Valley Bikes
    <> for National Bicycle Greenway Day there. In the great writing below, you
    will see what it took him to get there. He closes with an awesome poem:

    Hello everyone:

    After spending two days quoting Frost, I thought I'd start today with the much maligned words of
    Edward Bulwer-Lytton, a Victorian novelist. (If you do a google search under his name, I bet you'll
    find some hilarious entries to the Edward Bulwer Lytton contest, which challenges writers to come up
    with the worst opening sentences to the worst imaginary novels of all time!).

    Anyway...Am writing this message from paradise. I spent last night sleeping in a bike shop! As I
    wandered the back rooms, stock shelves, and product displays of Valley Bikes in Carmel IN, I felt
    like I had found the Golden Ticket in a Wonka Bar. Mike the owner, had gone home leaving me with the
    keys. My intrepid companion Jim Muellner was crashed in his van. It was just me, the shop cat, and
    thousands of dollars of gleaming bicycle merchandise!  Mike even hooked me up with a cot! Look ma,
    no tent...

    After hearing about my seat breaking in Richmond, IN yesterday, Mike even--get this--hooked me up
    with a new seat! Now, I can't promise that he'll give you free bike parts, but this man is the most
    friendly business owner I've ever run across. And, I was also the thankful beneficiary of his wife
    Dianne's culinary expertise. They had saved me a warm bowl of chicken soup with rice, black beans,
    corn and noodles! I feel coddled in the lap of extreme luxury!

    I got into Carmel IN around 9 pm last night. Even the switch in time zones didn't help me overcome a
    late start.

    INTERESTING ASTRONOMICAL FACT: Time difference aside, it gets darker sooner in INDY than it did last
    night in Ohio! Okay, maybe it's not that interesting, but it sure mattered to me yesterday.

    My mileage total for the day was 102 miles, which balances nicely with yesterday's 123. I averaged
    14.3 for the day, after beginning the day with 10 miles at 11 miles an hour. The last 25 miles were
    rather challenging. I had drained my light's rechargable battery on purpose yesterday morning so I
    could recharge it before heading home. Consequently, I was running through a new town, over heavily
    traveled (and under construction) roads, extremely late, very hungry, toting all my gear, trying not
    to get lost, and battling my allergies. My nose is now a salty mucus drip fountain. Every time I
    walk into or out of air conditioning I sneeze like 5 or 6 times, and my eyes itch. And, I lost
    Mike's cell number! Apparently, Mike and Dianne and Jim had also alerted the bike path police that I
    was way overdue...

    It was wonderful, although I hated worrying them! Surviving adverse conditions like this is why I
    ride. Triumphing over these challenges only makes a person feel stronger and more ready to handle
    the really difficult things about life. I'll leave it to each of you to determine for him or herself
    exactly what those are.

    COOL THINGS I PASSED: abandoned, rusty horse track gates sitting in the middle of a field

    a homestead of an artist including a huge studio which was called COWBOY METAL ART. The massive
    ornamental gates were cut into the profile of a group of dusty rodeo riders standing around for a
    group photo.

    a hotel called "the Hoosier Poet" motel, which seemed straight out of the Twilight Zone, until I
    reached Greenfield, IN and ran across the birthplace of James Whitcomb Riley, called, of course: the
    Hoosier Poet!

    the town of Knightsbridge, IN, which advertised that they have the gym in which the games in the
    movie Hoosiers were filmed.

    FRIENDLY PEOPLE: A woman running a produce stand on US 40 who sold me some oranges that she claimed
    "tasted like a glass of juice." She was right!

    A woman who gave me directions in Fortville, IN and said during her very accurate directions: "Oh
    but that road has that hill--you shouldn't ride down that." I assured her that after 230 miles in
    two days, I'd probably be okay!

    I'll close today with the rough draft of a poem I began yesterday at the produce stand after
    finishing the orange:

    Alone, on my bike, halfway between Richmond and Indy on US 40--the National Road-- a grasshopper
    tried to tell me something.

    At first, defensive, paranoid human that I am, I assumed myself under attack and frantically brushed
    it away once I heard (and felt) the insect's wings and legs near my ear, beating at my
    road-crinkled, helmet-sore, sweat-crusty hair. I could have killed it.

    Later, when I began to wonder what it might have been trying to tell me, it was too late...

    Perhaps he had been perched on a blade of grass next to the highway for hours waiting for someone
    like me to come by...

    Perhaps he wanted me to know that all I could see here--

    the small towns that the Interstate forgot, the boarded up bed and breakfasts, the strange museums
    chronicling obscure pioneer history, the business called Croplan Genetics (the one with the huge
    white tanks that looked like missiles)

    and the flat, brown fields, bound by neat green rows of new corn, that bend, shimmer, vanish and
    reform before me--

    used to be a pristine forest that spanned entire states.

    Take care, Love to all, Fred hner.php

    If you want to start from the beginning and/or follow Fred, Jim and our other NBG relay riders as
    they move forward in the National Mayors' Ride at <>,
    point to their blog at <>. All
    of this excitement will al be consummated at the second annual Santa Cruz NBG Bike Fest

    btw: If you want to become a rider, we N E E D you!! Go to
    <>, to find out how!! btw2: We
    have pictures from the Pittsburgh to Columbus leg on line at btw3: If you want to see who these
    cyclists are, go to <>.

    MARTIN KRIEG: "Awake Again" Author c/o 79 & 86 TransAms, nonprofit Nat. Bicycle
    Greenway CEO

    Ever wanted anything so bad U were willing to die for it? Really die? By moving thru clinical death
    and reversing paralysis, *I saw God* when I answered that question.

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