BikeMS Day 2–Joplin to Clever
Un-bee-lievable! Who would have thought that two of us would get a bee sting in the mouth on back to back days? Mike took it on the lip Saturday, and I got one on the back of my tongue Sunday. Luckily, mine just seemed to graze me before I got it spit out. I had a little initial pain, then I could tell the back of my tongue and jaw were swelling a little bit and my ear felt congested like I had a cold for a good 24 hours afterward. It could have been a lot worse given the spot in my mouth where it got me.
Having completed the century on Saturday, we concluded that we didn’t have anything to prove on the way back to Clever on Sunday. We agreed with the brothers Losey that we would regroup at each rest stop so as to not get as separated as we did on Saturday.
The route out of Joplin was nicely marked with cones, giving riders a full lane most of the way across town. On one hand, that was nice, but when the road started getting some ups and downs, the tandem was kind of a pain and we ended up riding outside the cones quite a bit for our own piece of mind.
They took us out of town on a slightly different route than we came in on, calling it the Memorial Miles. It went through some of the hardest hit areas of town during the tornado in May, 2011. The devastation is still profound. There is lots of new construction going on, but there are still lots of places where the damage looks fresh.
We got a kick out of this guy riding his single speed tall bike. We saw him several times throughout the day, and he was getting a lot of attention because of his bike. Behind him is what used to be a thriving neighborhood. Now it’s still mostly barren.
Steve is Mike’s younger brother, and he’s a relatively new cyclist in addition to being a clown. We hung back with him for several miles, and he kept us entertained most of the time. He’s rocking a new Giant Defy, which looked like a pretty nice bike.
We knew there were at least a couple of recumbent bikes on the ride. My former co-worker Dave rides one of them. We passed him a couple of times on Saturday, and again early Sunday morning. One of these days, I need to find one of those things to test ride. I had a chance once, but was afraid to try it. I didn’t want to crash and scratch the guy’s new bike!
This gentleman got quite a bit of attention with his braided beard. He’s another one of those riders we ended up seeing off and on throughout he day.
Riding conditions were much better through the morning than on Saturday. The wind started kicking up as a side wind later in the day, but the early hours were absolutely delightful. We really couldn’t have had much better weather the entire weekend. Both Pam and I were very appreciative that it didn’t rain.
At rest stop three, we ran into some folks we know. Ron and Helen (the Orange Crush team), Joe J., and Gary and his unknown stoker paused long enough for me to grab their picture. We’ve ridden tandem with them all at one time or another. It was good to see them, and they seemed to be riding strong.
We never did get a picture of the four of us together, although we should have. We were the official South Haven Cycling team, but we came together so haphazardly that we didn’t have time to get our kits coordinated! Maybe next time we’ll do a better job at that.
We stopped for lunch at the 42 mile rest stop and enjoyed a sandwich in the company of Dr. Larry. As we were getting ready to leave, however, that joker Steve messed with our strategy to stay relatively close to each other for the day. We came around the side of the building where he was stretching and didn’t see Mike. When we asked Steve, he said he had just left, and told us to go ahead and leave without him.
We did so thinking that we might never see Mike again that day! After what seemed like a long slog, we pulled into the next rest stop hoping to find him waiting for us, but he wasn’t there. At that point, we decided he was probably already gone and figured we might not see him again for quite a while.
The stop was in a pretty valley, and it had some of the best food/fuel of the day, so we took our time leaving, thinking Steve would eventually come in. Imagine our surprise when Mike showed instead. He was behind us the whole time!
We got a kick out of one of the motorcycle support guys sleeping on his bike. I guess he was having a long day – or possibly a long night before a long day!
Eventually Steve showed up, so at that point Pam decided to just make herself comfortable! He was pretty beat. At one point he was laying on the ground so long that a volunteer came over to see if he needed assistance!
As we left that rest stop, the riding was some of the prettiest the entire trip. We traveled along the Spring River valley with the creek on the left and a bluff on the right.
I mentioned in the prior post that Mike was riding a different bike. It’s a loaner MASI from Queen City Cycles, and Mike even had the jersey to match. We were talking about the bike and I’ve got to admit that the guys down at Queen City have been taking good care of Mike. I’ll let him chime in with a comment, but he seemed to like that bike.
At the next to last rest stop of the ride, Pam and I got a good chuckle when the mechanic from A & B walked over to us and politely suggested he could help us by fixing our “messed up timing chain”. We had to explain to him that we run “out of phase” on purpose! Our captain’s crank leads the stokers by 45 degrees. That helps us stand and climb a lot easier than if we run them “in phase”. You don’t actually see a lot of tandem teams who are able to stand, but it’s no big deal for us. It does look a little odd, however, and we do get the occasional question about it.
I’m not sure Mike remembers much about that rest stop. He sure looked pretty comfortable most of the time we were there!
As we started our approach to Clever, I started enjoying the fact that we were back in the rollers. I like the variety of ups and downs, even when the hills begin to feel like work on the tandem. I think we even managed to pick up a little speed along the way.
On the outskirts of Clever, we saw these folks sitting by the road encouraging the riders. This is Ermalee and Winston Crow. Their son Avery, was a childhood friend of mine. I lived about a mile and a half from this house as the crow flies, and I spent a lot of time down there. Ermalee actually rode the MS150 for many years, but finally stopped when she got into her 80’s. I had run into her on the first two MS rides I did several years ago, and as we pulled up on the tandem, it took her a second to remember my name, but she knew exactly who I was!
Because we had stopped to visit, Mike crossed the finish line a few minutes before we did, but we coasted across about 2:45 feeling quiet good about the day.
Pam finished strong as usual, and we had a good time. Our two day mileage total was 192. All ridden for a good cause!
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