Winter faces a persistent Fall in our neck of the woods. So, when a few weeks ago Jan asked what I would like to do for my 60th birthday on the 22nd, I thought of a 60 mile ride. We decided to make it happen, depending on the conditions. I contacted some friends who were all for it. Our son and family came to Springfield from Colorado the day before and he wanted to join up.
With a birthday dinner planned for that evening I shortened the ride to 60 kilometers (I thought about you, Gerry!) so as to have plenty of time to recover and enjoy the evening.
Jim Phillips and Jamie Wynne arrived after the photo. They had already been out for 20+ miles, but Jamie was unable to join us due to Christmas commitments.
I freely admit to apprehension before and during the early stages of the ride. These fellows are all horses! I had my work cut out for me as I knew we were in for some good climbs. What was I thinking??
It was good to ride with Sam once more. Our last time had been in August.
We headed out east and worked our way north toward County Road YY.
Tracy Wilkins is a climber. I thought of him as I planned the morning. He should be able to tell me the final elevation numbers of the route.
Far out east, YY turned into FR134 and then FR225. The pavement ended at the Webster County line. I have not done any ‘dirt road’ cycling on the road bike, but I read where one should ride with a light touch on the handlebars when on gravel. Just let the bike find its way. I was glad Lon Road was dry.
We left the dirt once we reached County Road AD. Here, Mike discovered a loose saddle and Jim loaned him the correct wrench to fix it.
We were greeted by a small dog that probably thought, “Two wheels equals food,” but it refused Jim’s offer of a snack.
We stayed on Lon Road instead of the more traveled county roads. Mike saw a hawk every now and then and I spotted this small grove of persimmon trees. Most of them were dried out, but a few still had enough moisture to be worth it. A friend from the country told me once that if you have a bunch of persimmon trees, then you know you also have raccoons.
By the time we reached Rogersville I had gone through a gel, most of a bar, and a bottle of water. Seeing this Methodist Church on the north side of town made me think like I was coming around from the far side of the moon and headed home.
My friends paused before crossing the highway and asked which way I wanted to head home. The lure of stopping at Hardee’s for a bit was too great to resist. And besides, Mike and Steve were going to leave us soon and head on down to Ozark to be with their dad and the rest of the family. We crossed south of the highway and rested a bit.
Soon after leaving, Jim discovered a broken front derailluer cable. Having only one front ring in service had no discernible effect. The man is a machine.
Mike and Steve headed south. We wished them a Merry Christmas and I thanked them for coming along. The rest of us headed back to my home without any problems. In fact, the whole day was without serious incident. No dogs chasing, no falls, no trouble with traffic. The sun was out and we had a tailwind coming in.
My appreciation and thanks to all of them for the ride. Let’s do it again!