Live, from Newton, KS. James and Heather Barringer curate the Newton Bike Shop experience, complete with bike service, bodywork, burgers, and beer. Follow Trans Am racers live from Newton via a live webcam. And when there aren’t any racers in the building, expect James to provide non-stop entertainment from the #oasisinthegrassdesert. Photo grab from The Newton Bike Shop webcam.
Lael called yesterday from Eads, CO. She stopped in town for a brief resupply and was planning to push into the night. Tornado warnings in the area were cause for concern, although it was the mass of dark clouds to the east which was truly concerning. Even so, Lael said she would continue into Kansas “if I don’t get caught in a storm”. Riding over two hundred miles a day in a race across the country, dodging thunderclouds and tornadoes, makes Trans Am racers protagonists in their own Western tale. I’ve always loved riding into, out of, and away from high energy systems. And in a race that sometimes seems like a long slow burn, with only a few exciting moments, I now realize that every day has it’s fireworks. For Lael: Sunday was a cut tire and a 11,542 ft pass, Monday was the threat of tornadoes, today should be the great welcoming at The Newton Bike Shop, also know as the #oasisinthegrassdesert.
Once across the border into Kansas it appears that the threat of thunder was traded for a light tailwind, with recorded pedaling speeds over 20mph into the night. Lael and Evan both finished their day in Scott City, KS. Lael is planning to reach Newton Bike Shop in Newton, KS by the end of the day for planned service and some rest. Newton Bike Shop is a unique stop on the Trans Am Route, a haven for cycletourists and Trans Am racers, a shining example of middle-American philosophy in the middle of America— Heather and James Barringer aim to provide equal opportunity service to their community, as well as to the community of riders passing through their small town in Kansas. Trans Am riders are treated to late night bike service, restorative bodywork, a place to sleep, and perhaps even a bite to eat. The Barringers are a colorful couple, well known in Trans Am circles, and I look forward to watching all the Trans Am racers through Kansas this year. Connect with Newton Bike shop on Instagram as @newtonbikeshop, Facebook, and via their live webcam this week. Even before any racers have arrived, James is already in front of the camera waving around bottles of whiskey and reading fan mail from riders all over the country. If you want to get involved, donate to the “Build the Oasis in the Grass Desert” fund on Gofundme.com to help Newton Bike Shop grow their resources to better serve your favorite racers and all cycletourists into the future.
Lael called briefly this morning from somewhere in Kansas. She sounded great, not even a hint of tiredness in her voice, and was excited about the final miles to the Atlantic. She already knew that her SPOT batteries had died (Matthew tends to text racers when batteries are low), and she plans to replace them in Newton. Steffen remains steady out front, 90-100 miles ahead of Lael and Evan, Kai and Sarah are around 100 miles behind. The top five riders are all within about 200 miles of each other. Their respective stopped times in Newton may shake things up a bit.
Follow the Trans Am Bike Race 2016 on Trackleaders.com.
In other racing news: The archived pink LW ITT bubble is also fun to watch on the Tour Divide Trackleaders page, although the data reflects Lael’s “call ins” last year, as she lost her Spot in northern Montana Later, near Lima, she got stuck in the mud for a period of about 12 hours. Mike Hall is setting the course on fire, riding well ahead of record pace. Josh Kato should be in second, although his tracker has been inactive for some time. Chris Plesko is putting out a really strong effort, vying for 2nd or 3rd place right now, on a singlespeed. Follow the Tour Divide 2016 on Trackleaders.com
And for real, give those guys at Newton Bike Shop some money, they’re doing great things out there. I donated $50 this morning in Lael’s name. Consider doing the same to help them achieve their mission to help others.