Reporting for 2 Days: Friday, June 5, 2009 and Saturday, June 6, 2008
Riding Route: St. Joseph, MO to Chillicothe, MO
and Chillicothe to Kirksville, MO
Temp: 50-82 - both days/Wind Up to 35 mph
Elevation Climb: 4900 feet and 5100 feet
Miles Ridden on Friday: 86
Miles Ridden on Saturday: 76
First off - I have to report that my roommate got back on his bike and has ridden both days after his mishap! Go Champ!! You're one tough old coot!
Well, I'm doing a two day report - but not because of being lazy I can assure you. This Missouri riding can be a tough ordeal! Yesterday (Friday) we pedaled 86 miles in constant major rolling hills. We started out at 500 feet above sea level - and ended up at 500 feet above sea level - and in between did almost 5000 feet of elevation climb. It truly was one hill after another. We'd pedal up a 1/2 mile hill and then go down as fast as we could to get a "run" on going up the next hill. Some of the hills were 13% grades - which can be a real challenge. I have to proudly tell you that I reached a top speed of 34 mph going down the hills (previous record 30 mph). I'm getting braver! You know I don't like the downhills - and the rest of the group is still passing me..but I can still beat most everyone going uphill!
The countryside was beautiful. We left the flat, treeless, relatively easy riding of Kansas behind us - and are now seeing lots of trees, lush green grasses - and lots of hills. At Mile 30 our group gathered together - and rode into the town of Maysville in pairs. Maysville has a population of about 1200 people and I'm not sure it's known for anything! But I can tell you that they have the nicest people anywhere around! Each year they meet the Crossroads Riders in the same fashion. Everyone - young and old - come out on the streets to meet us. (Picture above) The children routed and cheered and clapped for us as we crossed into their town. But the most amazing thing was that the "senior" ladies of the town put on a breakfast which included their famous homemade cinnamon rolls and all the trimmings! It was a wonderful event for everyone. They have a small museum and you can see I got a kick out of the bicycle they had on display. I'm sure glad I'm not riding one of those across the country! (Picture above). I even visited the local plumbing store. I'm not sure their showroom would meet the DPHA standards, but it was indeed special to meet the owners and share some time with them.
Today (Saturday) we had 5100 feet of elevation climb. Our day began later than usual because of lighting and thunder storms. We usually are on the road by 7:15 a.m. - but couldn't leave today until 10:00 a.m. When we finally did get on the road it was in rain and wind...which lasted until almost noon. We rode on a four lane highway in the morning - and turned north on Highway 11 in the afternoon. This change of direction put the wind and rain at our backs - which we were all thankful for. The afternoon also brought us a break from the heavy traffic we experienced in the morning...but the road was filled with cracks and potholes! All I can say is that at 5:00 when we arrived we were exhausted. We had our route rap, ate and headed for bed.
Our one historical fact for the day was that we passed through Laclede, Missouri where General John Pershing was born. He attended West Point military academy in 1882...and served in the Indian campaigns and in Cuba during the Spanish-American war. Later he lead the African-American unit (known as the Buffalo Soldiers), commanded forces in the Philippines from 1899 to 1905 and then did duty as a military attaché to Japan and an observer in the Russo-Japanese War (1905-06). This man was all over the place! He's most well known to us history buffs as the man who became the commander of the American Expeditionary Force in Europe during World War I. He ended up being one of the most celebrated soldiers in United States history. Another very interesting fact is that he was the only living person ever to be promoted to the rank of General of the Armies of the United States. This is the equivalent of a six-star general, but Pershing never wore more than four. The only other person to ever hold this rank was George Washington.
Enough, enough...I'm off to bed. Tomorrow is going to be another tough day as we ride to Quincy!