Given that the 2nd Annual Queen City Century around Springfield, Mo was rained out last week (as was my back-up ride!), I started searching for a good weekend ride for Saturday. As luck would have it, I found this ride, which was a few miles closer than Springfield. http://www.locozoomos.com/tourdeloco.htm
The ride was in Mt. Vernon, MO, which is just north of I-44 between Joplin and Springfield. It's about two hours from Northwest Arkansas. I got up at 0300, got Ol' Fuj loaded, and we set out at 0415.
As I am not a morning person, I arrived early enough to wake up and get everything sorted out and ready to go at the start/finish point, The Spirit of '76 park in Mt. Vernon.
The park was appropriately decked out with flags. This is a great little park with ball fields, a swimming pool, and a senior center.
As people started to arrive at the park, this rig caught my eye.
This guy is taking conservation to heart. His bike is mounted on his bike!
There were around 200 bikes (give or take a few) for the Tour de Loco. I saw no recumbents save for a tandem. There were three other upright tandems in the ride.
The Tour de Loco consisted of two primary routes, a 65-miler and a 35-mile loop for those loco enough to want to ride 100 miles for the day.
The started through town and went around the square.
This is a stately old building topped with a statue holding out the scales of justice.
At about 18 miles into the ride, there was a flash of lightning somewhere in my vicinity. Normally, I will count to determine my distance from the lightning. There wasn't time to begin the count before the BANG occurred. Flashbacks to the ride last year with Terrierman! Keep on pedaling. There's nothing else that can be done. After a few rain drops, this particular storm passed. At about 28 miles, we got deluged. This lasted about three or four miles. Keep pedaling. There's nothing else that can be done.
Even though the Tour de Loco wasn't a race, I didn't want to finish last. I finished the initial 65-mile loop with an average of 15.6, which is a record for me. I wasn't last, but I wasn't anywhere near first, either! The organizers were grilling burgers for the 65 and 100-mile riders, so I ducked in and had a burger. Having set a record, I decided to moderate the pace for the final loop and take a few pics.
Here's a sign you don't see all that often.
I think most of us are accustomed to seeing the image of a bicycle with this sign. At one point in the 65-mile loop, I dropped a buggy! The occupants returned the smile, greeting, and wave in kind.
This was a particularly beautiful spot in the final loop. The photo really doesn't do it justice. The rock wall extended for a way around the curve, and there was a rock-bottom creek behind the tree line on the left.
It was wonderfully quiet except for the sound of the water and the whirring of the tires. It was like being a million miles from nowhere!
The beautiful valleys must be paid for!
There were only two hills of any import on either loop, but there were a buzillion of these in between. Thank goodness for the triple chain ring and the big 28T cog!
More in the next thread.