August 14, 1987

My roommate Teri and best friend Phil had run off to get married on July 31, 1987. Within hours of my return from Indiana, my friend from work, Dan Baker, phoned me to asked if he could move in. So much for privacy. I had four hours of living by myself, then Dan showed up, and there wasn't much chance of him falling in love with Phil and living at his place while he paid my rent! Maybe I could coax Missy back to Omaha...Dan was her type.

come visit me in Uganda, Mikey>>>I hadn't thought of Karen in a while. I didn't see any reason to get all emotional again. She was in Japan and I was in Nebraska. If she wanted to hear from me she would've written, right? Then, one day at work, Chris gave me her address. Eventually, I wrote her a letter. I got this back. She asked me to come visit her. It was happening again. I was emotional.
Mike is a freak>>>I am not>>>
September 13, 1987
The good thing about being emotional is it makes me want to ride! I increased my cycling again, about 90% of it in Iowa, and I always rode alone. Iowa is the only place I've ever ridden where I was chased by pigs. They never caught me, but I tremble when I think of what they might have done had they made the catch...brrr...

In September I entered my first bicycle tour...200 kilometers long, and look who showed up...It's Bill Keller!. I'd ridden somewhat agressively and at about 121 miles I found myself chasing a really powerful, fast rider, thinking I might be at the front of the group, when I hit a rock so hard it blew a hole in the side of my tire. My ride ended four miles early.

I guess you're wondering about the funky clothing? I had a thing for bright colors (unfortunately, neon colors were three years away). I was a Beatles fan and I always liked their costumes on "Sergeant Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band".

The upside to bright colors it that I was noticed, so there was less chance of being smushed by a big truck. I was young and stupid anyway. I thought the tank top would keep me cool.
I never gave much thought to how I was improving on the bicycle, but on one particular ride I decided to go topless, had a flat tire, and was caught in a heavy downpour as I stood in someone's yard, with parts of my bike lying all around me. I was eighteen miles out and some kid rode up to me and started talking. He invited me to his house to use his phone. I thought it was strange, inviting a total stranger, dripping wet, who was wearing nothing but a thin pair of spandex shorts, into his house, but when his father walked in he said,"Dad, this is the guy I've been telling you about". He'd seen me riding many times but could never catch me. My old pal Phil drove over to Iowa to pick me up in the rain. It's great to have friends.

Back to Bill...he rode with the local cycling club so I showed up for a few rides. It was fun, not too difficult, and I'd always manage to shake things up at the end to be the first to make it back. There was one guy who was pretty good but I was always better. One day the club members were talking about an allegedly very-difficult course and they called it something like "Suicide Hill". I was curious about where this place was until I found out they were talking about my daily training route, which I'd been burning up. I was riding the hilly
40-mile course four minutes faster than I'd done the completely-flat 40 miler just eight months earlier. I had no idea how I was doing; I just knew I was improving.<<<previous <<<free as a bird