Saturday’s bike ride was photographically challenged for some reason. I think it’s because we’re stuck in the summer doldrums, with burnt up fields, dry ponds, and dried up, drooping flowers being the norm as we ride through the countryside. It’s as if the sign above, adorning a place near Fair Grove, sums up life here I the Ozarks. Closed until further notice…nothing interesting to see if you dare venture out.
But, venture out we did, covering 60 miles on the tandem. We left the house at 6:00 am, intending to follow a route I had mapped out to Fair Grove and Strafford on some roads that would be new to us. Unfortunately, when I fired up the Garmin I discovered I had either failed to download the new route, or I had downloaded an old one by mistake. Oh well. I was sure I remembered the new roads between Fair Grove and Strafford, but wasn’t confident in my ability to navigate the new ones between Fellows Lake and Fair Grove by memory, so we decided to take our standard route past Fellows Lake to Fair Grove.
We did mix it up a little, riding out to Valley Water Mill where we saw what I swear is the biggest flock of turkeys I’ve ever seen. I’ll bet there were 30 working the field, and most of them looked to be adults. I’m amazed at the number of birds we see around here these days. They used to be very rare, now they’re a common sight.
We kept a steady pace to Fair Grove, and finally got off the bike after 32.5 miles. I was more than ready! I had “schooched” my saddle up about a millimeter a couple of days earlier, and it didn’t take long for me to realize the nose was too high. I suffered through it until we stopped, then grabbed my allen wrench to for a minor adjustment when we stopped at Subway for 2nd breakfast.
While we were there, we started seeing a few riders going through town from the MS training ride, and as we headed out we met Joe (a co-worker), then John and Jean on their tandem as well as maybe twenty other riders before we got off their route.
We went up and over the Ugly Sisters hill in granny gear, then turned off on what I hoped was the right roads to pick up a few extra miles before our planned c-store stop in Strafford. It’s always an adventure picking roads off of maps, because you never know what you’re going to get yourself into. I didn’t do too badly this time, though. The new roads were smooth and nice, with only one big valley to climb out of. You’ve pretty much got to expect on decent hill every few miles around here, so we just put our heads down and pedaled. The route dumped us out on the north outer road east of Strafford, so it was just a few easy miles to the c-store where we enjoyed a Snickers bar for good measure.
The remainder of the ride home was uneventful, and we were even pleasantly aided by a tailwind about half of the way. We pulled into the driveway at 10:40 am, having covered the 60 miles in with just about 4 hours of moving time, which is a pretty average pace for us for a distance like that. We got home with energy to spare, so we felt pretty good about our day.
You can click the map above for the full GPS track.
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