Day 21: Sewanee to Pulaski! I slept GREAT in Sewanee (finally!) because we all had beds at the retreat center!
I rolled out with Aaron, Tim, and Daniel (the “mid-westie besties”) and we very unexpectedly hit a 6 mile downhill almost as soon as we turned out of the retreat center! It was a great start to the morning. They played this game called “my cow”, which a lot of people have been playing lately but I have yet to partake in. In this game, when you see cows you have to yell out “my cows!” to claim them as yours. The goal is to have as many as possible by the end of the day (or at least more than the others who are playing). The tricky part is that if you see a cemetery, you have to yell out “my cemetery!” and you can choose to “kill” whoever’s cows you want to. It sounds silly but it’s actually quite entertaining. For example, at one point during the day, there was a sign that said “Cemetery next left”. Since you can’t claim the cemetery until you have actually spotted it, Ryan and Aaron began racing down the road to try to be the first to spot it and call “my cemetery!”.
Since we were hauling it today down 64 and felt that we had some time to spare, a bunch of us visited Prichard’s Distillery and got a free tour by a wonderful tour guide name Jackie:
Despite the fact that of-age individuals go to distilleries to sample the product, we were not allowed to. We made the mistake of chalking on the road that several of us at stopped at the distillery, so shorty after we got there our leaders also arrived… Just in time to tell us we couldn’t just have a small sample before getting back on our bikes. Lesson learned: next time you go to a distillery, DON’T chalk it. (Do I sound bitter? I am.)
Anywayyyyy … We ate lunch and then as we were about to leave, Regular Ryan and I both had a flat. It made sense because there was SO MUCH GRAVEL on the shoulder of the road we were riding on that we would joke and yell “CYCLOCROSS” with a masculine tone. My stock tires didn’t stand a chance against this gravel. I added another tally to my flat count.
The rest of the ride was pretty hilly. More hilly than we would have liked. It was kind of boring, actually. Everywhere we rode was more of the same country land for miles and miles. It was a good introduction into what riding in Kansas will probably be like, except I imagine Kansas will be flatter.
I enjoyed my afternoon riding with Meg, Amelia, and Regular Ryan. However, we were all very, VERY tired of riding on that same road all day long. You could see for miles ahead, including the hills you had to conquer before making it to the host. At one point, someone asked “So what is our next move?” to which Meg responded (the Quote of the Day) “Stay on this road until coyotes eat our bodies.” It was THAT kind of road. Middle of nowhere, no civilization in site.
About 10 miles out from the host site, I got ANOTHER flat. Again, SO MUCH GRAVEL. This was a quick flat, as opposed to a slow leak, that I felt almost immediately. With the help of Regular Ryan and Sam, who pulled up behind us just in time, we changed the flat in record time and were on our way.
We finally came to the road that would take us off 64 and directly into the town of Pulaski! Regular Ryan made me laugh so hard when, as we were turning, he said to the road we’d been on all day “see you tomorrow, bitch!” We were OVER it and ready to be done with the ride for the day.
There’s a Bike & Build saying that goes like this “Where there’s a host, there’s a hill.” Whenever we get within 5 miles of a host, or a stopping point for the day, there is ALWAYS a hill. This day was no different. After climbing up the hill on 64 to get to the turn that would take us into Pulaski, there was another huge hill right in front of us. Knowing that the host is right around the corner is usually enough motivation to crank it up the final stretch.
On the way into town, Amelia and I began singing the “Welcome to Duloc” song from the movie Shrek… Except we exchanged “Duloc” for “Pulaski”. This is becoming a tradition for me and her when we ride into towns together.
Another funny thing that happened was that when I got my second flat of the day, Meg realized that she must have a slow leak because her tire was getting flatter. We pumped her’s up as much as we could in hopes that it would make it the last 10 miles to the host site. After climbing the final hills into Pulaski, her flat was FLAT. I mean, really flat. It was hilarious because we were so ready to get there that about 1.5 miles out from the host site, stopped at a gas station, I pulled out my pump, we pumped up her tire in quick panic mode, and shouted “GO GO GO” while laughing about how ridiculous it was that we were pushing Meg’s tire to hold any air at all.
When we pulled in to the host site at Martin Methodist College, we found members of the community cleaning the bikes of teammates that had arrived earlier!! They were going to clean and have a bike mechanic check all of our bikes!
They had snacks and desserts waiting for us and had also set out a slip-n-slide!!
We went out to a bar called the “Rusty Spur” with the locals and our drinks were paid for by a man names West, who’d lived in Pulaski for most of his life.
He said that the reason Pulaski was so kind to our group was because they believed we were the future leaders of this country, and they hoped that we would remember the little towns like theirs when we become successful in the future. They showed us southern hospitality at its finest, so we will surely remember them.
We got to spend ANOTHER night sleeping in beds at a dorm at Martin Methodist College, so I got another great night of sleep! It was going to be a 5am wake-up the next morning for a lonnnnng ride to Adamsville!