Not sure why (probably one too many blows to the head while biking) but for some reason it sounded like a good idea to get up at 4:30 am on the 4th of July so that I could ride in the Firecracker 50 in Seward Nebraska hosted by the Great Plains Bicycling Club, first time I've ever ridden it. Had a pretty good crowd already by 6:45 am when we got there so I obviously wasn't the only crazy fool up way too early on a day off.
Looking at the clouds while we were rolling out of Seward I figured rain would be the main concern we would have to deal with, ended up being the wind that would have it's say on the ride this day instead of rain, ended up feeling like I was biking against a blow dryer. I'm not math genius but our average speed for the first 25 miles was 17.8 mph, because of the 20+ mph head wind on the way back it dropped the average speed for the whole ride down to 14.9. Again not a mathematician at all but it's way slower on the way back if it drops the overall average down 3 mph but how much slower I couldn't tell you but it was a huge difference to drop it that much.
Since it was a free ride the SAG was limited to just this one station at about 10 miles out of Seward, because it was a loop however you encountered it again at mile 40 before heading back into Seward. It was much more welcomed at mile 40 on this day than it was at mile 10.
Once we made the turn away from the tailwind the real struggle began, this unassuming bar in Brainard at about mile 27 was a true godsend as an unofficial SAG station as I didn't see another gas station until we got all the way back to Seward. The awesome thing about small town bars, other than the fact that they still exist, is that they are not only a bar but they are the social hub (think Facebook before Facebook existed and people actually sat across a table from each other and talked to each other) of the community, the place where everyone goes to hang, even children until the evening hours. If it weren't for the fact that these bars are often the only place to go in a small town it probably wouldn't have had any thing but beer and liquor but luckily it was fully stalked with cooler of soda, Gatorade and other convenience store fare. Thank god for small town bars!
The push back to Seward was awful fighting a constant 25+ headwind all the way back, luckily I was able to hook onto the end of a 4 person pace line at about mile 35, even that little bit of wind block made life a lot more enjoyable for the last 15 miles. Unfortunately we all got kind of stacked up on the way back because of the fierce wind and I lost my riding partner somehow, kept looking over my shoulder and just catching a glimpse of another rider that I assumed was him... as it turned out he had a few leg cramps on the last push and had to go into survival mode. Even with the wind it still ended up being a decent ride, one I will probably do again next year how can you beat a free ride.