Salisbury Beach

Salisbury Beach
Thank You Katie, Mary, Caitlin and Brian

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

11 May 2011 Fast America Day 18

Cameron, MO to Kirksville, MO

Mileage:                    124.52 miles
Riding Time:              8:46     Riding Speed 13.9 mph
Total Time:                10:10
Climbing:                    5793 ft.
Flats:                          0

Today’s blog starts with a question: Why do people in Missouri put catfish heads on their fences? Please e-mail me if you know the answer; I Googled the question and found lots of discussion but no answers. The people at the hotel don’t know what I am talking about.

I didn’t take a picture, but here is a link to prove that I am not making it up:

Long, long day in the saddle. I knew that there were a few people behind me, so I indulged myself after mile 80 with 3 or 4 stops to cool my foot off.

The day started out with some rain. The tour leaders herded us into the Conoco Station in Hamilton, MO (birthplace of James Cash (JC) Penney) to be safe from the lightning. This must be the Hamilton equivalent of Starbucks, because we met some nice ladies hanging out and it looks like we will be in the local weekly paper!

But the rain left, and in its wake it was a little cooler and less windy. But the terrain made up for the rest. He fastest riders finished about 2 hours ahead of me, but if it weren’t for my foot, I would say that I had a great day in the saddle. I’m definitely stronger. A number of the climbs ranged between 10 and 16%, and at least one rider (not me) walked a few of them. Check out the profile in the Garmin link – you can look at elevation, heart rate, or speed, and I think that will give even the non-cyclists among you an idea of how hard it was. Most of the day was spent going uphill in a 300 foot elevation band. The downhills were too short to do anything but prepare for the next uphill. As one guy said: “We spent 8 hours cycling in Missouri and 8:30 of it was uphill.” As we entered Kirksville, I did see a guy in Spandex riding the other way and he did give me a very quizzical look!

Very different evening in the Kirksville Days Inn. It’s a good mile into town or the nearest restaurant. So the staff took one group in the van to the steakhouse, and another to the Italian Restaurant. But a few guys ordered pizza and hung out at the Days Inn Bar. They were there when I left for dinner (by which time I had earned the nickname “Margarita Man”) And they were there when I got back. The bartender (4 days on the job) got a lot of experience with demanding people tonight.

People ask me why I cycle and I answer “because it is fun.” This hasn’t been the same kind of fun, but it has been a great experience. So far, though, no one in the group is saying that they want to do it again next year!

Tomorrow is a short day, only about 90 miles; the first 70 of which are in Missouri (and by now I know what that means). Then we take a ferry across the Mighty Mississippi and I am told we have a 20 mile uphill to where we are staying in Quincy, IL. I will then ceremoniously cross Missouri cycling off my bucket list.

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