This day started out hot and windy, as usual. But our luck with the wind ran out today--the first 63 miles we were faced with quartering headwinds or crosswinds, never a break to be had. The humidity hit us like a wall when we walked out of the hotel, and certainly did not diminish throughout the day.
It was a pretty ride though, some rolling hills in the beginning which gradually flattened out as the day went on. About ten miles into the ride we crossed the 2,000 mile mark--that was milestone worthy of a photo and a snack...
The only sag stop was at 31.8 miles, at a small post office in Knox City, MO. We mostly kept the stops short due to the wind and the threat of severe thunderstorms and hail that we'd all heard about in the morning. Many of us stopped at a store at 51 miles, including me. I had a diluted glass of iced tea, some trail mix and a protein bar and got back on the bike and headed back into that wind.
At 63 miles, we got a break from the wind--the left turn onto highway 24E put the wind mostly at our backs, sort of a quartering tailwind. That would have been wonderful, except that 24E was a limited access divided highway, not quite a freeway but pretty close, and the shoulder was pitiful--it was wide enough but very rough with big pieces of broken asphalt and stones all over the place. I felt it was too dangerous to ride in the lane with the cars, so I stayed on that crummy shoulder for the next 5 miles. I was by myself by then, having gone ahead of some riders and not yet caught up with the rest...
So when I got to the bridge over the Mississippi River, I pulled off into the shade and waited. I ended up waiting 10 minutes until another rider came along! But I did not want to cross the bridge by myself, since the cars were driving at freeway speed and there was no shoulder at all. We had to ride in the lane across the bridge, and found Jim (CR staffer) at the other end and willing to stand in the street to take our "Welcome to Illionois" photos.
A short ride through a very nice area of Quincy, IL brought us to the hotel. We saw a large number of huge old mansions, all in incredible shape, along Maine Street on our way here. That was a welcome sight, as was the shade from the large trees along the street... The temperature readout at the bank told us it was 95 degrees, but we already knew that it was doggone hot! I don't suppose there will be any releif from the heat tomorrow when we ride another century. Oh boy! I am certainly looking forward to the rest day on Wednesday!
This limited use computer won't let me post my photos from today. I'll try again tomorrow.