It feels so good to be ahead of schedule! Yesterday, Mike and I dominated the bike ride. We woke up at 5:30 and the bike was on the pavement by 7:30 am. It’s always so sad to leave the Mansfield household. They blow me away every time I see them. Sherri donated $200 - $50 for every time the Royals beat the Orioles in the playoffs last year. The house they provide is just amazing. Mike and I had an entire basement, stocked with an ice bucket full of water, Gatorade, etc. She also provided fresh fruit, Cliff bars, beef jerky, it is just great.
Plus, Sherri drove an 80 mile round trip to deliver my forgotten Orioles hat. I try to keep “one and only one pile of stuff” to avoid this situation, but I think I fell asleep with the hat on and it fell to the side of the bed. I told Sherri she could mail it or give it to Terri, who would be coming to the convention, but there was no stopping her.
We finished yesterday with 115 miles and in a town called Tipton. It was the town with the 8-ball water tower. I knew that I would see it at some point again, riding on US 50, but didn’t realize I would see it so soon. It’s getting harder to take pictures. As I get further east, everything looks more familiar. The same trees as back home, everything closer together. I don’t want to do a disservice to this state and say that it’s not beautiful because it is. It’s just that I think that going through the Joshua trees and the mountains and the deserts are more interesting when you’ve spent your whole life on the east coast. Even the humidity out here reminds me of the east coast.
With the early start, we got our 115 miles in before 6 p.m., which is a good early end.
Today was mostly the same, but with an even earlier start, and a 2:45 finish! We only did 86 miles today, which leaves 75 or so tomorrow. There was so much climbing today. 5,200 feet. Just up and down, and up and down. I did less climbing in some of the mountainous days in Utah and Colorado, but those were long climbs, long descents, and long valleys. When you do 5,200 feet of climbing in the Ozark-influenced state of Missouri, you never are in the right gear, you never find the steady cadence. Big ring to small ring and back to the big. You don’t even want to to pedal downhill even though you know it will help you make it up the next hill.
So I’m enjoying the early end to the day. I’ve already talked to my brother and my father, I can listen to the entire Orioles game if I choose to do so. First time I’ve had that choice! I’m looking forward to seeing everybody in St. Louis this weekend!