Lots of stuff happened today, aside from another long, hard day on the bike.
First the riding. 185 miles of increasingly steep and long hills. We started in Kansas with wet roads (dodged another rainstorm!) for the last of the flat riding for a while. As we moved into Missouri, about 65 miles into the ride, we started with some short rollers that were fun to roll down and up, with your momentum carrying you along. The rollers gradually got longer and deeper until the climbs reached up to a mile long with continuous up and downs. The down hills became very brief compared to the grinds back up the next hill. The last twelve miles were nasty, with a one mile climb out of the Lake of the Ozarks, then a few more rollers before getting to the hotel in Osage Beach.
Randy, John Newton and I rode together to the first rest stop. Actually Randy pulled us nearly the whole way then continued on at a fast pace to test his mettle for a RAAM (Race Across America) ride next year.
We spread out after this, with the increasing hills dictating riders find their own pace. After lunch I felt pretty spunky and really cruised along for about 40 miles before running out of steam and backing off until the final rest stop. Harold Trease, another RAAM alumni, caught up and passed me but he also slowed down not long after that. When I got to the last rest stop, Randy was still there, having bonked in the same area and was recovering. The relentless hills wore everyone down – but it still beat another day riding through Kansas!
Now the other news:
Lenny’s back! Len Zawodniak, who had to leave the ride a week ago with bruised ribs and hand, is returning to the tour tomorrow night in St. Louis. It will be great to see Len again and have him back on the road with us.
I was the recipient of a nice care package today. A large shipment of Mrs. Fields cookies from my wife Nancy. I shared some but will keep the rest for later sharing with close personal friends, or for when I need a favor. :-)
Scott Luikart is leaving the ride, due to an auto accident injury to his office assistant. Scott’s wife Jennifer drove over to pick him up tonight. This is too bad, as Scott is a fun person, and a very strong RAAM rider who has been doing a good job of keeping Tim Feldman busy and under control by pushing Tim to ride very fast all day. With Scott gone, Tim will be looking for other enthusiasts to push the pace with. :-) Actually Tim is great to ride with and does a nice job of matching his pace to whoever he is with.
There is a chance Scott may rejoin us in West Virginia and for sure we will see him in Williamsburg. Our best wishes to his assistant also.
This is what the lunch stop looks like when you wheel in after riding a 100 miles or so in the morning. Wayne Rosenthal is one of the cheery support crew people that help our days go smoothly.
Once we are done riding for the day, getting your feet in the air helps to drain the blood from your legs. A cold bath also helps.
Tomorrow is another long day, 175 miles, with many steep hills (8,000' of climbing), lots of turns and road construction as we cruise through the heart of the Missouri Ozarks. I rode through this part of Missouri 30 years ago on the first Bicycle Across Missouri 540 mile ride in 1980. This was the first real organized brevet/ultra marathon event in the US, modeled somewhat after the Paris-Brest-Paris ride in France. This was also the ride that Lon Haldeman and Susan Notroangelo met for the first time. Lon finished first, Susan made it in just under the wire. Over the next decade, Lon and Susan set many records on transcontinental crossings and other ultra marathon events. In the meantime, they formed PACTour (Pacific Atlantic Cycle Tours). Check out http://www.pactour.com/ for more information on their tours and history.