Wednesday, June 6, 2012

June 6, 2012: PAP Day 12, Muskogee, OK to Ft. Smith, AR

Today was scheduled to be A long ride, but not THE long ride of the tour. After some route adjustments last night, and a wrong turn early in the ride, it turned into the longest distance, the longest saddle time, and the most climbing of any PAP Tour ride to date: 91 miles, 7 hrs 53 minutes, and 2500 feet, respectively. In addition, virtually every mile of the 91 was into a 10 mph headwind. making for slow progress and a challenging day.

This time last year, I had conclusively demonstrated how unsuited I was to the high altitudes and cold temperatures of Colorado and Wyoming. This year it is Fred who is suffering in the high 80's and low 90's we have been experiencing for the past few days. He is dumping water over his head at every opportunity, while I stand by, barely sweating and not at all uncomfortable. Probably also related to the heat, Fred is experiencing cramps in one of his calves.

Today's route was especially challenging for me to create. I was trying to keep the distance in check, piecing together portions of routes suggested by Google and by Garmin's MapSource software. I am pretty much ready to give up on the former, as it has consistently put us on unpaved roads that are not suitable for my touring rig with 28mm tires, much less Fred's 23's. When we got screwed up today, a local was able to put us back on track, but our wrong turn added at least six miles to a day that was already going to be long enough.

There isn't much more to say about today. Toward the end of the ride, I drank one and a half of those monstrous plastic cups of Cherry Coke at a Hardee's ("No, we don't have the fish sandwich any more.") About an hour later I chased it with a regular 12 oz. can of Vanilla Coke at a convenience store. Perhaps it was just psychological, but the jolt of sugar and caffeine sure seemed to push aside the weariness and I finished with energy to spare.

Back in Arkansas, where the adventure began!
Tomorrow is our second planned "rolling rest day." The last one, you may recall, turned into a nasty, cold, wet ride. The weather forecast for tomorrow looks good at the moment, so we are going to sleep in (like to 7:00 AM or so) and take it easy for the 44 miles to Paris, AR. At least, that's the plan.

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