Day 26: Concordia, MO to Kansas City, MO
Total Mileage: 65 miles
Lamie told us yesterday that the heat index in Missouri would be around 107 degrees. Even though today was only 65 miles, I was kinda relieved I had van duty just so I could delay my experience cycling in 100+ degree weather. It’s bound to happen eventually, so delaying it only makes me more anxious about cycling in scorching hot weather (coughKANSAScough).
Today, I had van duty with Rachael and Katrina, who were both feeling under the weather since a couple days ago. Team San Fran implemented the rule that if you need to be picked up the day before due to sickness or injuries, you were obligated to ride in the van the following day for proper recovery time. We want to do our best to prevent further sicknesses, injuries, and dehydration, so we’ve implemented this rule before we hit Kansas, which many alumni call the hellhole of the trip. I drove the water van today, which means we chalk up until the lunch stop. Had one reroute cause we ran into a gravel road, but from there, the directions were pretty straightforward: head west on route FF for almost 40 miles.
The Midwest is notorious for their thunderstorms, and today was no exception. We spent an hour and a half under a church awning, waiting out the storm. Lots and lots of thunder and lightning and rain drops that felt like pellets dropping from the sky. When 4K runs into thunderstorms, we do what we do best: nap. All of the groups made it to the host before 4, which is great time considering we were held up by the thunderstorm for a good portion of time. I was a bit confused when we arrived at the host, because the map said we were still in Missouri. I had no idea Kansas City spanned both Missouri and Kansas, news to me!
Our host, Missouri United Methodist Church, has been a 4K host for the past 2-3 years and is always eager to host team San Fran each year. Pastor Ron Brooks welcomed us with open arms and had the church community involved with welcoming us to Kansas City. Our dinner tonight was in tribute to Dennis, a member of the church community who lost his battle to cancer. Two years ago, he was in charge of making dinner for the 2011 San Fran team. The food that we were served today was the food he served two years ago, which gave dinner a whole new meaning. Dennis’ family members were there as well to welcome us, which meant a lot to our team. The church community even raised over $400 in donations to us.
After dinner, we talked about what the 4K is to the church community, which also reminded us of why we ride. That reminder is why we continue to cycle and push through all the tough terrain, the stormy weather, and mental breakdowns throughout this trip. It was emotional hearing our team members’ stories as to why they continue to fight. There’s not much we can do medically,but the fact that we continue to fight against cancer gives hope and courage to many to keep keeping. After spending 26 days together and getting to know each other more and more, it hit home. We’ve been through so much and we’ve seen how much of an impact we have made in the cancer community, which is tremendous is so many ways. We are 4K because we strive to make a difference, and to see our efforts impact the lives of so many thus far in the trip is just remarkable. We are 4K.
Fun fact: Missouri United Methodist Church has one of the only Skinner organs in the United States. Ernest M. Skinner is one of the most influential organbuilders in US history, and the pipe organ in our host site was designed and constructed by him.
Words from Kat Bilella and Caiti Pomerance visit our blog at caitiandkatbikeacrossamerica.wordpress.com : While looking for donations Caiti and I stumbled upon an amazing non-profit bike shopcalled Revolve. Revolve recycles old bikes by stopping them from entering landfills, refurbishing them, and donating them or selling them at a low price to thelocal community. Although their supplies werelow, they donated tubes, liners, and rim strips and told us to come back next year!