|Day 11:||Mena AR to Pine Bluff AR|
|Mileage/Ride Time:||175 miles 10:25||Time Lv/Arr:||6:30am/6:00pm|
|Climbing:||4500ft||Avg Speed/Work:||16.8mph/4269 kJ|
I wish I had my iPod Nano playing. In other words, after the grey malevolance and deluge of the storm (yesterday), it's good to see the nice side of Arkansas. In my opinion, we went through some of the best cycling roads so far in the Elite Southern Transcontinental.
Simply a world away from the shoulders of interstates and harsh desert frontage roads.
I took these two pictures while riding today:
For the first 2.5 hours, I had dead legs from yesterday's big climbs. Every rise, every honk out of the saddle to stay in the paceline brought out the tiredness and heaviness in my legs. Not only can I feel it, but I can also watch the heart rate increase lagging a bit more and staying high longer after I've sat down again. After 2.5 hours, my legs loosened up some, though the heaviness would stay with me for the whole day. At around mile 60, I got swallowed up by a small train of riders led by Australia's Andrew Puddy. The Puddy Train, let's call it that, ran steady and strong for the next 115 miles with Andrew sitting on the front nearly the whole way. Needless to say, I got on that train. It made for the easiest day so far. 175 miles. I needed that. Course (Mapsource and Google Earth):
- Physically, my biggest worry is that both my palms are bruised and starting to blister from the pounding after 11 days. I put on extra bar tape after the ride. Hope this will help tomorrow.
- Tom Rosenbauer from Pennsylvania withdrew this morning. When I came up to him on a steep section of the Talimena Highway yesterday, he told me: he didn't have his climbing legs. He didn't take the start today.
- I heard tonight David Solomon of Australia is also withdrawing. Exhaustion?
- One of the crew told me they go through about 600-700lbs of ice a day.
They do a wonderful job of keeping the riders going.
In the hot and humid Arkansas countryside, ice in waterbottles is an essential.