Dear Route 2,
Our relationship started off beautifully. We spent so much time together. The cue sheets would read "Turn Left onto Route 2. Go 67.8 miles. Turn Left into Church." or "Turn Left onto Route 2. Go 78.5 miles. Turn Left into Church." I'd have to say my favorite cue sheet of the entire trip read, "Turn Left onto Main Street. Go 1 mile. Turn Left onto Route 2. Go 114 miles. Turn Left into Church." It was by far the longest day of the trip, and we spent the whole time together. Things were wonderful. That's when it started to go bad.
Your demand for all of my attention on the road got old, almost naggy. It came to a point, when I didn't want to see you all day. Maybe I wanted to hang out with some of my other routes. You were so clingy, just always demanding all of my time. I got tired of it. I said some things I probably didn't mean, and that's when the fighting began. You threw all of the wind at me you could find, trying to knock me off of my bike, throwing it right in my face. I thought you were just testy, but it only got worse. That's why I had to leave.
At first, I met U.S. 23 in North Dakota. She was so mean to me. She gave me no room to breathe, making it impossible for trucks to pass, and she has a much stronger arm than you. Her wind throwing was out of control. I thought I missed you. I remembered all of the good times: how I used to gaze miles in your direction, and I could see for miles, how I never had to pay attention to time because it just flew by when we were together. I thought I wanted you back, and that's when I met Going to the Sun Road.
She took me through the Rockies. She let me take my time. She even let me turn and hang out with other roads. It was wonderful. Unfortunately, it only worked out for a day, but then I met Montana State Road 37. Again, what a beautiful road. She was so nice and didn't try to fight me. We got along so well, and I think it's safe to say, we have a very serious love, a type of love that no other road and human seem to have. I have decided I don't want you back.
Tomorrow, I just found out, I will be seeing you again. All I will be able to think about are the hard times we have had: the fights, the negative words we shared, and the terrible break up. I know you want me to think you're nice, and we will be spending a lot of time together the next few days, but after that, it's over. Don't call me, don't text me, and I don't even want you to facebook me. I probably won't speak to you tomorrow, but let's just agree not to bring up our hard feelings. There will be other roads out there, and I'm sure you will cross paths with another great guy someday. Just know that it's not going to be me in the end. After all, I will be moving back to Indiana soon, and you just don't have access to get there. Best of luck with your future. We had some good times, but this is goodbye, Route 2.
Michael W. Kraft
Monday, July 26, 2010
There is a famous German cyclist named Jens Voigt, who is an outstanding climber. When interviewed, they asked Jens how he keeps going up so many hills ruthlessly, he says, "When my legs start to hurt, I look down and say 'SHUT UP, LEGS!'" He's famous for this saying, but I'm pretty sure he stole it from me because I am constantly telling my legs to shut up as well as yelling at myself when I go up hills. (For more information on me talking to myself in intense situations see: "They Call Me Mr. Competitive.") The other day, we left Pepin, Wisconsin toward St. Paul, Minnesota and expected a relatively normal day. We had no warning of hills or mountains in Wisconsin so people took their time. I don't really like to stop so I pressed on with Kristen toward lunch and we were met by the biggest hills we've seen probably since the East coast. It was brutal. Hill after hill appeared over the horizon, but we finally made it to lunch. At lunch, someone said, "Well, it's all flat from here." That person lied to me. We continued to climb hills all afternoon arriving in St. Paul to what looked like the mother hill. It was nearly straight up for .2 miles. We pumped ourselves up and got in the zone and then realized at the top that it was nothing compared to the mountains of the morning. I think that day proved one of the tougher ones in the Midwest, but I think we can all learn a little something from Mr. Voigt (who learned it from me). When you're in pain, just tell your body to shut up and keep going. (Unless of course you have a bone sticking out of your body or realized you've lost a limb. Then, maybe you should go see a doctor!)
For those of you who have not heard, Paige Hicks, a P2S (Providence to Seattle) leader was killed in an accident last week in South Dakota. This is not a leader on my trip, but it is terrible news. For more information, please check www.bikeandbuild.org. This is the first major accident in B&B history so please keep Paige's family in your prayers
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Today was our sixth build day of the trip as we built in Janesville, WI. I helped put up some roof trusses and then it was onto roofing. I got to be on shingle crew and we were almost able to finish the whole thing! It was a pretty awesome experience and it was the first time on the trip that I felt really like I was very helpful at a build site. We've had to do a lot of landscaping thus far so it was nice to have some building on our hands. Overall it was a very successful day.
Friday, July 16, 2010
No, seriously! Today at our lunch stop, we were lucky enough to eat on the porch of a bar in Lake Geneva, WI. Upon arrival, I noticed a very nice sand volleyball court and was excited when some people asked to hit the ball around. We were just having fun when someone said, "So, should we start a game?" I of course was the first to chime in with a yes! That's when it happened. Someone said, "Well, Mr. Competitive, that's not a surprise." Most people would think, "well that's rude to name call," but not this guy. It was more of a proud moment. Someone actually told me it was their goal to beat me today in volleyball, which sadly for them didn't happen because we ended up on the same team for the second game, which we lost. You will all be glad to know that I handled the loss well, didn't yell at anyone, and still laughed during the game. I may have had a pep talk with myself out loud after a botched serve, but baby steps people, baby steps.
The other day, I awoke to a challenge nobody has ever experienced before. Well, that's a total lie because thousands if not millions of people have completed the challenge, but oh well. We had just finished building in South Bend, Indiana, and needed to get to Chicago. There was just one problem. Chicago was 105 miles away. "What did you do?" you are thinking. "Did you hitchhike? Break the trip into two days? Lay down and cry?" Nay I say to you. We just got on our bikes and rode, and i completed my first century ride. Now, had the weather sucked, the ride would have been awful as well, but we really lucked out. We had a tailwind for most of the ride (our first of the trip), and everyone knocked out the first 40 miles in just over two hours! When we got into Chicago, we got to ride in on the Lakeshore Path, which was so nice. The view of the city was incredible. In the city, I met up with some friends from camp and ran into a good friend who I haven't seen in years. She was working at our host church! Crazy! Chicago was by far the best ride of the trip, and I'm so excited to say I have finished my first century and lived to tell about it. Of course, that will be nothing when we ride 119 in the wind in North Dakota. For now, we'll just pretend like that isn't going to happen!