Salisbury Beach

Salisbury Beach
Thank You Katie, Mary, Caitlin and Brian

Friday, May 13, 2011

12 May 2011 Fast America Day 19

Fast America Day 19

Kirksville, MO to Quincy, IL

Mileage:                     97.42 miles
Riding Time:              6:32     Riding Speed 14.9 mph
Total Time:                 7:15
Climbing:                    3636 ft.
Flats:                           0

I got some answers to yesterday’s fish head question, but nothing definitive, so I’ll stick to the ride:

The Winner! Chris fought the state of Missouri and won.

As I said yesterday, cycling is fun. Sometimes things come together and you have a day that is exceptional. Today was one of those days for me. Perhaps it was the Margarita last night before dinner (it worked for Floyd Landis), but I wasn’t going to let the state of Missouri beat me and even though I was a contributor, I was tired of everybody whining about how hard Missouri was. Aided by overcast skies, which kept the temperatures reasonable, and a warmup over the first ten miles or so, I decided to attack every hill. Before each uphill, there is a downhill that allows you to build speed (if you set your mind to it), and I hit the bottom every time while freewheeling (coasting). The trick is to decide when to start pedaling again on the uphill, and in what gear. I became more and more aggressive, until I was cresting each hill in my large chainring at 15 mph; and I passed a few riders who had been climbing faster than me. Today was a day to remember- it wasn’t easy but I am not going to complain about it. Missouri ended with a fast downhill to the Mississippi River, and we had lunch in a little picnic area that we were told had been under three feet of water last week. I got to the lunch area just as the first group of riders was taking the ferry across the river, so I did not set any world records. But I did set personal standards for another hard day of climbing. If you study the Garmin record of the ride, however, you will discover that I took it easy on the last 25 miles in Illinois, most of which was into the wind.

Full disclosure: I am going to donate all of my winnings (for beating Missouri) to the State of Missouri to use for maintenance of State Road E. I really sharpened my descending skills looking for potholes at 35 mph. And I owe my bike a big apology for what I put it through, the vibration was intense.

Before I stop talking about Missouri: it seems that the dream home in Missouri is a comfortable prefab manufactured home, on five acres of grass. The lucky homeowner can then spend every summer day on his (or her) power mower neatly manicuring his lawn. I saw many people living this dream – in bare chests and sports bras.

We crossed the Mississippi by ferry at Canton, about 10 miles north of Quincy. Then rode along the East Bank, and marveled at some of the homes built on stilts over the water.

Illinois could not be more different (to a cyclist) than Missouri. I thought that the Mississippi would have banks, but no, the river edge just gently laps at the flat flood plain. Our tour guides routed us down a beautiful tree lined street of large homes, just three blocks from the standard city sprawl strip. Daryl and I found a frozen custard stand just before our motel, and had delicious blueberry milk shakes. The real treat was the book for sale at the counter. It was by the proprietor’s mother, and it told the story of the house that he grew up in as part of the Underground Railroad. As a young boy, the proprietor had pulled up a loose floorboard and discovered hidden tunnels. His mother devoted the rest of her life to researching how it was used by the Underground Railroad. You could feel the sense of historical pride as the frozen custard guy told his story to Daryl and me.

Quite a contrast to dinner in Cameron two nights ago. Ate at the Truck Stop across the street from the motel. I did not engage the counter girl in conversation about the cookbook for sale at the counter – The White Trash Cookbook. I will say one thing – The Kansas City strip steak I had was good; not sure if the recipe was in the book.

Two thousand miles under the belt and just had the best day of the trip! Another short day (just over 100 miles) to Springfield tomorrow. Springfield is our second and last rest day; I am already feeling sad – the end of the ride is in sight.

Editorial note: Some literature can only be completely understood if one has a degree in Dead Languages. So it pays to know your audience. I have tried to walk a line with this blog; so that it is understandable to everyone, but it still contains a few references that only the cycling nut would understand. So if you see a reference that you don’t understand, just ask your local cycling nut.

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