It was just plain tough....
Day 15: St. Joseph to Kirksville, Missouri, 145 miles, LOTS of up and down, 6800' of climbing, with some headwind
With a long day ahead, the guys wanted to get a jump on the day, so started with headlights at just before 5:30. The route looked simple enough - get on Route 6 all day. A slight 7-9 mile headwind was forecast, so that would make the day harder.
It was a gorgeous day and quite picturesque as the sun rose.
It was one hill after another all day, and bigger than rollers. The wind also picked up as the day progressed, right into their faces. And it got over 80 degrees in the afternoon. All said, this was a tough day. The downhill stretches just do not make up for the extra effort expended on the uphills. The guys were out there from 11 hours to 11 hours and 45 minutes - a looooonnnnnggggg day.
At mile 109, Jerry was whipped. He had a chicken dinner at the truck stop and rested a bit, then was recharged and finished the ride. Ken said he was getting a bit spaced out the last 7-8 miles. Phil did great and said he didn't feel too bad, but said the 15 mile stretch before we reached Kirksville was scary, with no shoulder and fast traffic. A semi pulled back into the right lane passing Ken, and almost hit him. So, a bit of excitement together with the grind of a very long, hard day.
As for me, I drove straight to mile 47 in the town of Altamont, and rode 16 miles back to the town of Maysville to meet the guys at the Casey's store. I then headed back to Altamont, getting back before the other three guys. While I waited for them, an ambulance passed by, heading in their direction with sirens blaring and lights flashing. When they didn't get back to me when I expected, I began to worry, having flashbacks to my being almost killed in 2014 when I was hit by a car. But, the guys eventually showed up. I had just ridden faster, being fresh and having pushed it, knowing that was all I was going to ride for the day.
Tomorrow will be a rest day, only 97 miles from Kirksville, Missouri to Quincy, Illinois. We will cross the Mississippi River by ferry, and then on to flatter country - hopefully.