Saturday, June 23, 2007

Tour de Kota – Monday – Vermillion to Lennox

Five of us rolled out early: Craig, Jim, Cathy, Ashley and myself, determined to get ahead of the heat for this 75 miles day. As would be the norm for the week, a 40 mile trip by car turned into a 75 mile excursion via bicycle.

The trip to Meckling was nice and easy and we all waved at Greg Merrigan who was manning a water stop on behalf of Clay Rural Water. He told us that his neighbor (Cindy L.) was recouping after her big crash the day before but was pretty gimpy.
About 2-3 miles from Meckling, Jim punctured a tire. We think, in retrospect, that the nasty train tracks at Meckling might have been where it happened and it just took that long for all the air to escape the tires. With the help of Willie, who just so happened to have a frame pump, the tire was changed and the pursuit of Cathy and Ashley was on. We skipped going into Volin for a second straight day and we climbed the “Volin hill” towards Wakonda. Right as we turned north towards Wakonda we caught Ashley and Cathy and the Wakonda High Alumni (Cathy, Ashley, and I) all rode in together.

The town (with help from Cathy) put up lots of cute little signs with various sayings between Volin and Wakonda. There were even signs for Wakonda Alumni on the ride which of course was pretty cool for those of us from Wakonda originally.
Wakonda had many cool events planned, but we were pretty early so we spent a little time eating and refilled our water bottles and saddled up. I was so early that I missed seeing my Mom (which she let me know about later!) who was helping with the Sr. Citizens stuff. Cathy stayed behind as she felt obligated to make sure everything was going well in the hometown and I think she was sick of riding at OUR pace and wanted to ride her own.

With the wind at our backs the hills on the way to Irene didn’t seem nearly as bad as usual. On one of the “shotgun” hills (down one side fast and back up the other right away), I was still well over 30mph at the top of the second hill. I waited at the stop sign in Irene for Craig, Jim, and Ashley as I got a little TOO excited with my hill work and was ahead a ways. They stopped and got a freeze pop from the high school girls and then Craig SOMEHOW ran into Ashley who was parked at the stop sign. No blood no foul, but it was a bizarre incident that could have been bad.

North out of Irene the wind was pushing us well. It was when we turn East towards Viborg that the crosswind was a bit brutal. We formed the best echelon we could to break the wind and made it into Viborg in good time. After some time at the high school for further “re-fueling” we were off again. The trip north to Hurley was a blur thanks to the tailwind. We were between 20-25mph without much effort at all. We nixed taking a route detour into Hurley (been there, done that) so we just continued north towards our turn that would take us to Lennox. That last Easterly stretch started to take it’s toll so we dropped the pace a little to keep everybody in the line and protect them from the wind as much as possible. A short little stint north and we arrived in Lennox with thoughts of Pizza Ranch on our mind.

We got our bags, set up the tent, showered, and headed off to our destination: All you can eat at the Pizza Ranch! Okay, I admit, I put the thought of Pizza Ranch on everybody’s mind somewhere between Meckling and Volin so everybody had PLENTY of time to think about it.

After making sure that the Pizza Ranch wasn’t going to make any money on us, we wandered back to camp and enjoyed the company of fellow riders (after I had a short siesta!) as well as a wonderful mocha made right in the park. They informed us that they would be setting up at 4:30am for breakfast and we informed them that we would be first in line. Many of us went to the bar and ate and then back to the campgrounds once again. Jim and I went to the amateur baseball game between Lennox and Irene for awhile, where we met up with James (aka “Spiderman”). After a few innings Jim and I went back to get ready for bed. Shortly after I hit the sleeping bag I heard a baseball bounce close and then *THUMP* it hit the tent right behind ours.

I finally put on my headset as the band was slightly horrible in the singing department (sorry if any of you read this, but you REALLY need a singer!) and finally crashed out for the night. Tomorrow is going to be 100 miles so we are starting EARLY!

Day 2 Stats (per my Garmin)
**Note** I had a brain cramp and missed a little over 3 miles leaving Wakonda by not turning my Garmin back on.
Miles: 70.62
Ave pace: 16.5 mph
Temp Ave: 73.8
Temp High: 80.6
Wind Ave: S 10.9
Wind High: S 18.4
Start Time: Jun 11, 2007 5:59:25 AM
Finish Time: Jun 11, 2007 10:45:17 AM
Moving Time: 4:16:13
Elevation Gain 1,458
Elevation Loss 1,356
Net Elevation Change 101

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