Star City, AR to Lake Village, AR - 64.4 miles, 4 hrs 38min riding time
Yesterday's heat convinced us to start riding today at first light - approximately 6AM, so we were on the road around 6:15.
For the first 45 miles or so we were stair-stepping south and east. It was warm but not bad. There were trees, pasture and farm land, hardly any cars and lots of little box turtles crossing the road.
Every so often on my rides I have experienced moments of transcendence, during which I feel at perfect peace. I had one of those this morning. As it passed I turned to Fred and thanked him. He understood without the need for further explanation.
At one point we passed one of the little turtles lying upside down in the road. The image stayed with me and after about a quarter mile I turned back to take a look. His shell was closed up tight but otherwise intact, so I put him right side up in a shady grassy spot and caught back up to Fred & Ray a mile or so up the road.
Perhaps to avoid getting overheated again, Fred had us stopping every hour or so for rest and refreshment. More often than not, a convenience store appeared at just the right moment. This strategy worked fine today so we'll probably continue, though I suppose the intervals may get longer as Fred gets conditioned to the heat and the riding.
The last 20 miles was into a 10mph or better headwind. Being the only one with aero-bars, it was natural for me to take the lead. Within a few miles I had decided to stay in front the whole way (a touch of testosterone poisoning, perhaps). I found a sustainable pace, which varied between 10 and 15 mph. The wind got stronger and more gusty as time went by. Nonetheless I was feeling pretty good, finding myself silently taunting the 'wind devil' with stuff like, "Is that all you've got?" (Picture Lieutenant Dan in Forrest Gump on the shrimp boat in the hurricane.)
Based on the weather forecasts, tomorrow is going to be more of the same -- headwind the whole 70 miles. We are going to get on the road at 6 and will try a rapid-rotation pace line to see if that works for us.