Greetings from The Middle (as in the geographic center of the continental US, Lebanon KS).  Just so you know, Lebanon Kansas looks a little like what you would expect Lebanon the country to look like- bombed out.  Lebanon Kansas wasn’t attacked by cluster munitions or any other high tech weaponry, the buildings downtown fell down out of neglect.  I suppose that’s what happens when a town declines, the school closes and most of the rest of the people leave (only 300 residents now).  But the hospitality of the church was great, and it was something to see.
A few days ago, we went through Lawrence, Kansas–the town made famous in the scariest movie ever, The Day After (disturbing Youtube video). 
In real life, it’s a great university town, and is, as its location would suggest, in between Ithaca and Palo Alto in demeanor.  There’s a good bike shop (Sunflower Outdoor and Bike) which finally fixed my creaking bottom bracket (faced the BB shell and chased the threads, repacked the BB).  We worked on a house for 3 days, which took it from framed walls to clad walls and the roof trusses up- impressive for novice builders!
More interesting than Lawrence itself was the change in group dynamics.  After days of slogging through headwinds, the withdrawal of Geoff (due to heath concerns) and some rather illiberal churches, everyone was starting to get on everyone else’s nerves.  Fortunately, as soon as Lawrence started to get into the conversation, everyone cheered up and for the last while pretty much everyone’s been happy.  Hopefully it will last into the mountains
3 days off in lawrence really helped my legs-I was feeling pretty toasted after 2-70mi time trials (i went off the front because I was a bit teed off), and the last few days I’ve been putting down good power and 3 days ago I did my longest day ever- 117.5mi, at an average speed of 18mi/hr (on pretty flat ground).  Today in to Nebraska (we’re not in kansas anymore!) Nate and I went really fast, and felt pretty good.  Watch out Bear Mountain Cat-4 contenders!

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