So what do we know after riding more than halfway through Kansas? There are lots of farms growing wheat and corn, lots of cattle, sometimes thousands of them at the feed lots, amazing amounts of wind (which was again in our face all day--surprisingly, a few of the riders expressed a little aggravation about this). But Kansas is also a leading producer of natural gas. And, so it turns out, are my fellow riders.
On a ride where folks burn thousands of extra calories a day, they also eat thousands of extra calories a day. As I've mentioned, it's interesting to watch thin folks fill their plates three times at dinner, then go for dessert! As a result of this extra intake, there must be extra "outgo". Early in the trip riders lose their embarrassment (often in the Nevada desert), and men and women move a little off the road to urinate--proper etiquette requires other riders to look away.
A few days later, folks lose their inhibitions about passing gas as well. It can be quite funny when one rider in a group breaks wind, only to be answered by other riders in kind--the kind of competition which would cause my father and siblings to laugh out loud (Mom's delicate sensibilities would preclude this). As we move quickly on the bicycles, the health risk to any riders in the rear is minimal (unlike those family vacations in the car).
We have one fellow who has actually counted the number of "toots" produced by each person during a riding segment--I've affectionately dubbed him "TFC" (you'll have to figure that one out)!
So I couldn't resist this photo of the Oneok Hydrocarbon plant in Conway, Kansas. Natural gas liquids are gathered in mixed, raw form from basins in Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas. They are then sent via pipelines to this "fractionator". The plant pictured here separates the gas/liquids into ethane/propane mix, propane, butanes and other marketable products, which are then sent along other parts of the 2100 miles of pipelines to storage areas and to various "markets". This facility can handle 110,000 barrels/day--and you'll agree that that's an awful lot of gas.
Tonight we're staying in McPherson, Kansas. We completed our 26th day of 52, and tomorrow we'll reach (and pass) the halfway point in terms of total mileage. It's been a great trip so far.
My thanks to all who have contributed to the Lance Armstrong Foundation--it's a great cause, and knowing that you're giving really motivates me when I'm tired.
My web page for donations is