The Boston Globe just ran a piece on our cross country journey. Check it out at: https://www.bostonglobe.com/business/2017/07/05/boldtypes/bjYkuqXG7dsRtpy8a3veDK/story.html
Also if you have not already given to the Alzheimer’s Association at: http://act.alz.org/goto/BikingacrosstheUS
Bikes Not Bombs at:
Please consider doing so.
Well we were supposed to go 104 miles today, but I miscalculated the route and we went a bit further than expected. My phone went dead and both of our GPS units retired early. Ended up going about 121 miles. The good news is that we had a tailwind and although we had a long way to go, it could have been worse. The road gave me my first flat tire at 2,369 miles. Took out a couple of thorns from my back tire and also pulled out a sharp tiny wire that was the culprit — probably from someone driving on their worn steel belted radials (make unknown) way beyond their expected life.
The day started out misty and quite humid. We were lucky in that it seemed it had rained quite hard in front of us all day. The temps were generally in the range of 68 to 80 with high humidity and the sun was behind clouds most of the day. The high humidity made for ideal sweat conditions chugging up those hills (described below), so we were drenched all day.
The Ozark terrain consisted of an almost endless series of steep climbs and decently ranging in height from 100 to 400 ft all day. It was like being on a rollercoaster. The secret was to figure out the correct cycling rhythm in order to attempt to make it up to the top of the frequent 15% grades near summits before running out of speed and having to grind out the last 1/4 mile in our lowest gear to make it to the top. What this meant for us was to pedal as fast as we could down hill and go through all of the gears and hopefully make it up at least 50% of the way up to the next hill before chugging up the remainder of the hill in our lowest gear. However, you don’t want to use up all of your energy going down hill as the last part of the up hill is the toughest and steepest and if you become too exhausted at the top you may not have enough mustard to pedal down hill to make it up the next hill. It is a great feeling when you blast down one hill and have just enough momentum to get you to the top of the next hill.
The Ozark hills varied in grade between about 6 and 15%. Our total ascent for the day was 7,815 feet for the day. Basically, we climbed a lot of steep hills.
We met quite a few bikers mostly going West on the TransAmerica Route. Seven miles past Walnut Grove, we stopped to get some Gatorade and sandwiches made in a local store for lunch and we met Mike T. from Virginia who was biking from Astoria, OR to Yorktown as well. We biked with him for a while and at one point in one of the larger towns (Marshfield) at about mile 58 we pulled over at the Uptown Cafe and he decided to stay in Marshfield. He said the next town was too far. We thought we could make it, but weren’t fully cognizant of our miscalculation at the time or maybe more correctly I wasn’t. Hopefully we’ll see Mike again. He’s quite the guy. At 29 he’s completed the Appalachian Trail twice; once from the South and once from the North.
Anyway, the Ozarks are incredibly beautiful. They remind me of Vermont but without the steeper mountains. I was planning on describing them more, but my bed time is approaching…
Breakfast at the Copper Grill in Ash Grove, 11 miles East of Running Spring Farm. We met Jonathan here who was biking from Rhode Island to Astoria, OR. He stayed at a local hostel supported by the town of Ash Grove. Many of the towns along the bike route have free hostels supported by the towns in the area.
Endless steep rolling hills
Rosene did her special magic with our sandwiches
More turtle rescue operations. Mike from Virginia helped with this one.
Yes, it is a flat. At first I thought my wheel was loose.
The culprit – a very sharp wire from a steel belted radial tire.
Almost to Houston or so we thought…
More to come later…