Thursday, June 21, 2007

Tour de Kota - Sunday - Vermillion

In one of the least popular moves of the Tour de Kota by most riders is the Sunday "loop" ride, where we start and end in the same place. Many of the riders I talked to would like to go point to point without the loop on the first day, so we will see if that actually happens next year or not.

Anyhow...back to the duly appointed blogging about Day 1 of the Tour de Kota. After registering on Saturday and looking at the weather for Sunday, which was calling for HOT and HUMID with a southeast wind, a few of us decided to do the 30 mile loop first and then do the 70 mile loop second.

Quite a few of us hooked up for the 30 mile loop at 6:00 am and enjoyed a "moderate" pace with one stop at Dalesburg Lutheran church (Hub City) about 1/2 way through. While it was a short stop on a short loop, we later would learn it was the ONLY stop on the 30 mile loop which nearly killed some of the cyclists who did the 70 mile loop first and the 30 mile loop last, when the heat was nasty. Having only one stop in that intense heat was poor planning and many people suffered dearly.

A short stop back at the armory in Vermillion, and a second breakfast courtesy of Jones Food's stand, and we "saddled up" for our 70 mile loop. As we were leaving town, I mentioned to Craig about the fluffy little....THUNDERHEAD that was small at the time and looked harmless. As we cruised along the bluff road with the wind basically at our back, we had a nice paceline going. We kept our eye on the thunderhead and we couldn't believe how fast it was building. Luckily it was already north of our position and seemed content to be moving further north.

We took a short stop in Volin at the cafe where we scarfed down a few goodies (let's face it, not many people LOSE weight on a bike tour) and then we looped back out of town to see the mini-flags on the side of the Volin hill. It was quite the site as there was supposedly one for each of the fallen veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan. As a veteran of the Gulf War, it was truly emotional and hard to fathom. For the sake of me NOT going off on a political rant, we will leave it at that.

Onwards toward Mission Hill. Although there were a few small hills to this point (three on the 30 mile loop in particular), I was already banking on taking the tour polka dot jersey from our group for best climber. Then the youngin', Jim, decided to try to stay on my wheel and sling shot around me going up the hill before turning to Mission Hill. I let him go by me and get a couple of lengths on me, and then I quickly crushed his dreams as I sprinted past him giving him the "Lance glance". I was already feeling old due to the fact he is only 15, but having to explain the "Lance glance" to him, something that happened only a few short years ago, REALLY made me feel old. I enjoyed my "hill victories" throughout this week, simply because I'm pretty sure that within a year or two I'll be lucky to stay in Jim's draft. For now, the old guy will take his victory lap!

After turning south toward Mission Hill I looked for a favorite stop over the past three years: a family who comes out to the end of their drive way and hands out water. This year they barely were home from church so I was glad we didn't miss them. I've been watching their kids grow up for five minutes a year for the past three years now! I don't know what I'll do if they ever change the route on us. Oh wait, they probably won't (oooooooh...I can hear the cat calls for that low blow).

It was moderately uneventful for the rest of the way into Yankton and we hit the Chamber of Commerce area only to find out that they were out of food (but getting more!). Joe and I decided it was a good opportunity to go downtown to the coffee shop. After getting lost temporarily on the Brokaw trail, we meandered close to downtown and hopped off the trail and went to the coffee shop. CLOSED! Foiled again! So, we went to Burger King and had an iced Mocca Joe which actually turned out to be a much better drink than I gave it credit for!

After a short break, Joe and I went back to the Chamber only to find that we had been ditched! Away we went after the breakaway clipping along at a fairly good pace. We were probably about 3 miles on the East side of the Mission Hill turn when Joe got a pained look on his face, reached all around his back and announced that he didn't have his wallet/camera pack. He said he had to go back to Burger King and being the good soldier I am, I left him to die by himself and motored onward. His plan was to SAG back in after going back to Yankton (he didn't though and ended up riding 130+ miles...what a trooper!). He did retrieve his goods at BK though so all is right in the world.

After we parted paths I decided to step it up a notch and hammer harder to get to Gayville. It wasn't long and I caught Melissa and Cathy and they told me that we had a "Lane Hog Down". It seems that in the pack wheels got tangled and Cindy L. took a nasty spill and split her knee open bad. So bad, that Cathy called the ambulance, but shortly thereafter a good samaritan came along in a van and offered to take her into the hospital. Cancel one ambulance. After hearing that news I left Cathy and Melissa who were going to "take it real easy" after the fall of their comrade.

I caught up to Craig, Ashley, Jim, and Holly in Gayville and they were nearly ready to leave but the heat beat me during my pursuit so I needed the rest. I casually mentioned about possibly NOT going down Timber Road but staying on Hwy 50 as I knew I'd already be over 100 miles due to "bonus miles" around Yankton. I went to the old fashioned ice cream truck for a snocone and low and behold, there were my friends Randy and Sue Fields running it. After some small talk and snarfing down my blue raspberry snocone I was off in pursuit again.

After getting back onto Hwy 50 in the wind and the heat, I put the hammer down again in hopes of catching the group. I was seriously about to turn on Timber Road when I looked up ahead at a blip of riders on the horizon: CHEATERS! I must chase them down. As I rode by a confused woman sitting at the corner wondering which way to go, I shouted "Short Cut" as I rode by. She nodded and headed down the correct path, unlike the criminals we are, heading down the WRONG path. I caught them with relative ease and I realized that the wind and heat was taking it's toll on them. I tried to pull them and Craig warned that everybody was getting tired and that 14 would be max speed. I agreed and looked down at my cycling computer at pulled at 14 for about 1/4 of a mile. I looked back at a trail of....nothing. I waited for them to catch up a little and realized that the final eight miles of this journey was going to take awhile. Like the good trooper in battle, I again left my comrades to die peacefully as I took off hard for Vermillion by myself. I really would have stayed back with my troops, but I had a few things to do for the Chamber in Vermillion since I served on the TdK committee for them.

I pulled into the Pump and Pack on the corner of town and bought two Gatorades: one which disappeared almost before I got out the door and the other one shortly after I hit the park. It appears that my body was a little upset with my lack of drinking during the ride.

The Vermillion United Methodist Church had a decent showing for our pasta feed that night. Might I say, Dale B. you did an awesome job with the various sauces! We didn't feed as many as we thought we might, but the tour numbers were not great either.

Poison Stream (band) played for the faithful in the park and overall Vermillion did a great job of hosting Saturday/Sunday/Monday morning.

One last night to sleep in my own bed before tenting becomes the norm. Next report: Tour de Kota - Day 2 - Vermillion to Lennox

Day 1 Stats (via my Garmin)
Miles: 103.48
Ave pace: 16.6 mph
Temp Ave: 76.8
Temp High: 91.4
Wind Ave: ESE 9.6
Wind High: ESE 17.2
Start Time: Jun 10, 2007 6:01:11 AM
Finish Time: Jun 10, 2007 1:36:41 PM
Elevation Gain 1,611
Elevation Loss 1,611
Net Elevation Change -0

Non Garmin Stats:
Lane Hogs Down - 1
Stitches - 10 in the knee of Cindy
Days missed from work because of injury - 3
Lane Hogs Bonks - 1 - I didn't go into details because I wasn't there to see it. I heard it was one heck of a bonk though!

1 comment:

hellimat said...

You forgot the part about waiting up for the poor soul camping in your yard (me) or the fact that I probably startled your wife that morning.

I love the data output from your Garmin. If I can stay girlfriend-free a little longer I'll have the cash to afford one of those babies.