I got up early on Saturday and drove south 180 miles to Neosho, Missouri to ride in the Tour de Tick. In the past this ride has offered 3 routes, including a century route. This year's routes were 27 and 63 miles. Now, 63 miles is about 100 kilometers, but the Bike Lemming has taught me that you can't just ride 100 of ANYTHING and call it a century. So, I rode 63 miles.
With the strange spring we've had to date, leading to less riding than I'd like, 63 miles through the foothills of the Ozark Mountains was plenty. Then, after showering at the YMCA in Neosho and grabbing lunch, I had a 3 hour drive to get home. I was exhausted and a nap was in order.
It was a scenic ride in the country around Neosho on the "Old Scenic Route" built in the 1930s by the WPA, then north towards Joplin, and west towards the state line. This plaque shows the exact point where Kansas, Oklahoma, and Missouri meet.
This is where they used to meet. Okay, actually this was built by the Work Projects Administration as well, in 1938. Without GPS satellites I guess we can forgive them for being off by about 20 feet.
Having been in 3 states makes me feel better about how sore I was by the end. And, speaking of Oklahoma, another rider said he was riding alone because his buddies couldn't make it. One had laid sod all day Friday and probably couldn't walk, much less ride. The other raised race horses, and one of them was ready to give birth. He wanted to get her to OK for the birth because race horsed born in OK sell for more than those born in MO. Did you know that? I sure didn't.
It was a gray day, but the temperatures were in the 60s by the time we finished, and it only rained lightly for a short while. We saw a lot of streams and cliffs, and of course, the hills. But this time of year the thing that stuck out more than anything were the dogwoods. Pink and white, they were everywhere. Out in the country, in trailer parks, and in the yards of stately, old mansions.
I rode most of the way with a guy I met there named Norman. He was 72 and had absolutely no trouble keeping up with me. He had been dropped from a group of riders that included his friend who is 74. He mentioned that he appreciated riding with someone because on previous rides he had missed turns and gotten lost. On one of the last long hills I couldn't keep up with the group, including the seventy-somethings, and came in several minutes behind. Sure enough, Norman had fallen back, missed a turn, and his buddies were heading out to track him down. Don't worry. He had a cell phone and GPS unit with him.