Monday, July 6, 2009

Day 29: Topeka to St. Joseph, MO -- Kansas in the Kan, Misserie Ahead

Pictures are here.
Miles Today: 91
Total Miles: 2202
Avg Speed: 14.8
Max Speed: 31.5
Total Time: 6:08
Flats Today: 0; Total flats:8
Weather: Morning drizzle, then clearing. Temps in the 70's, 10 mph headwind from the NE
Body: Feeling good for 27 riding days of 29.
Climbing: About 3000' of climbing.
We rolled into St. Jo's yesterday negotiating the last 10 miles through the city on a beautiful tree shaded parkway through the city and to our hotel with the prospect of a rest day. Great feeling. This morning, as I am writing the day's blog, I am sitting in my room trying not to be too distracted by the TdF live on our Versus channel at the hotel. First hotel that had Versus as far as I could tell. It does not get much better than this!

Yesterday a bunch of us watched the exciting finish of yesterday's stage in the lobby together. Mark Cavendish stormed up the line in the last km or so and won the sprint going away by 20 yards. Great finish to that stage and great finish to our 3d phase into this rest day.

Yesterday at dinner, Joe Wihelm, who joined us with his sister Rose, for this leg and is leaving to return to his home in northern OH today, handed me $20 contribution to PwP. Very nice -- Thanks Joe! I have had the chance to talk to lots of folks about Pete and PwP the last 4 weeks. Pete and I talked last night and it looks like he will be able to join us in Wooster and meet folks for supper that evening. That would be great!

Also, learned last evening that my doubles roomie, Jim Keysor has purchased a plane ticket for Indy and will be rejoining the tour on Monday June 13, one week from today. Great news, that is! So, both Rick and Jim now plan to be with us the final two weeks.

The ride yesterday was a gorgeous one with lots of variety in scenery, roads and weather. But it was also a tough one, especially for some of our slower riders who don't do pace lines. The first 70 miles or so were relatively flat with only mild 2-3% inclines when they came. So a pace line into the wind was quite effective and that is what about 10 of us did for much of the morning. Pull to the next mile marker and when it arrives, pull out left and drop slowly t0 the back as the line passes by. Keep the pace at a level all can keep, encourage those coming off the front, keep a look out back for gaps or cars and if gaps form, pass it up to the leader.

We had some variation in riding strengths but most everyone hung in there and so it went for the first 60 miles or so until we crossed the Missouri River and left Kansas. It soon got more hilly -- reminded me a bit of the terrain east of Columbus towards Utica and Newark. Large rollers some of which could be stamped out and some that required shifting down and spinning up. We got a bit separated on those sections, but always eventually recollected at intersections.
As we were getting closer to St. Joseph, we climbed up onto a ridge and rode it for a long while with wonderful views on either side for miles. Again, very reminiscent of sections in Ohio south of Canal Winchester or out toward Coshocton. Everything was green and lush with small farms and country style residential areas intermingled.

Six of us from the original group finished together -- Steve, Jack, Leigh, Bob, Chuck, and I. When we pulled in, the hotel staff had a hose and rags ready for us in the parking lot to clean up the bikes. The drizzle had spotted them up and my chain and rear sprocket needed to be cleaned and flossed. Great to take the wheels off and shine the trusty Cannondale. Gerard later measured the chain for me -- within spec still so it may hold to the end. He also got that annoying creak I was hearing when I bore down on the pedals. Turned out it was the front wheel which needed a drop of oil at spots where plastic met metal. Great diagnostician, that Gerard.

Tomorrow it's off again toward Indy on a series of long days -- 89,83,97, 106, 97, 82, 62 to get us to Indy. The AbB description of what awaits is:

With another state under our belt, we’ll begin the roll through Missouri. This state will really get your attention with its rural beauty, Amish charm and extreme roller coaster terrain. You’ll get the picture as we cycle through Thousand Hill State Park. After we roll down into the Mississippi River Valley, cross the Mississippi River, the east is at hand. You’ll notice how much more vegetation and how green everything is here compared to the western half of the country. We’ll stretch out our legs again and hit the town Abe Lincoln made famous, Springfield, Illinois. The terrain settles down and the wheat fields turn to corn as we spin across Illinois and into Indiana. The farm lands gives way to the big city as we arrive in Indianapolis and our fourth day off. You’ll get a chance to see Indianapolis Motor Speedway, take a lap on the Major Taylor Velodrome and generally take in the sights


  1. You continue to do a great job of narrating---I esp. like the lines under the pics. And I see you are a quick learner---holding your bike right-side-up to avoid a repeat of falling waters....
    Can tell you are really getting tan and lean!!!
    Wonder why you took the pic of Dad and son...I HAD to ask:) Glad we got to talk today---had a good evening with the girls--G.G. provided the entertainment since Janey didn't come with Terri:)
    Sleep well with Mr. Sandman.....XOX YOO

  2. Picture 13 - the corn, the puffy clouds and the blue sky - has a certain beauty that I have come to appreciate from lots of biking.