Sunday, May 13, 2012

May 13, 2012. Clarksdale, MS to Memphis, TN. 92 miles.

We rolled out of the hotel around 7 AM. That is, those of us who planned to ride rolled out.... 10 people chose not to ride. On the way out of Clarksdale we passed by the "Crossroads of the Blues" monument, blue guitars looming above the treetops. I started out riding with Valerie, and the first 18 miles went by quickly. We were headed east and the north wind did not have much of an effect.

At mile 18.8 we turned on to Highway 3 North, and picked up a headwind.  We passed by a farm that had several very large sculptures in the yard, a tractor up the flag pole, and a driveway lined all the way with old tractors... someone has an imagination! Cheryl was at mile 20 with the SAG car and all the snacks we could ever want.

As we pedalled north the wind increased in intensity. At about mile 30 Valerie dropped off and I was out there solo, fighting the wind. It was hard to maintain speed--if I let up on the pedals, my speed dropped off to nothing. It got worse from the 40 mile SAG to the turn at 60.2 miles. I was pretty spent by then.... I said to Cheryl at the SAG that maybe I would wait for the group behind me, but she said they were WAY behind, so I carried on. We turned east at 60.2 miles and it was a relief to have a strong crosswind in place of the wicked headwind! We were out off the delta by then and into the hills. We traveled east for 5 miles before turning north again. By the time we turned north again, the wind had died down some, and the hills were more fun.

When I got to the state line I was out there all alone so I took the stateline photo of my bke without me on it. I called Cheryl to tell her where I was and that I missed the 80 mile SAG (she was not there yet) and continued on.  About 10 minutes later she pulled the car up next to me to see if I needed anything. I was more than impressed! I did indeed need some water, and thanked her for tracking me down.  As I rode into Memphis I had to really be on my toes.... some of the roads had a lot of trash on them, I knew I was tired, had had no lunch, and the route took us through some pretty desolate areas.  There were only about 12 of us who finished this day's ride.

I chilled in the room for a while, took a shower, and called my family.  At about 6:20 I went downstairs to meet the group for dinner. I shared a couch with Lea (from Australia) and Carolyn (from Vermont), who both also finished today's hard ride.

 At 6:30 JoAnn (Oregon) and Monika (Austria) arrived with their bikes to check in. They had had 2 flat tires on the outskirts of Memphis, the SAG car would not start, so they patched one of the tubes, called AAA, and finally the car started and picked them up 6 miles from the hotel. We all had a really nice dinner in the hotel restaurant, compliments of Woman Tours since Lynne can't exactly cook in the parking lot in this downtown area.  Ina (CA) and Moira (Scotland) did not ride today, instead taking the van into town and seeing the Civil Rights Museum. We are all looking forward to a day off tomorrow.

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