On Saturday, I began what has, so far, been a very successful block of training.
The kickoff was a ride with Matt over the Mississippi River to the levee system in Arkansas. He’d been making plans to go on his own epic overnight adventure via the same route, only taking it all the way into Missouri. The ride out of town is always scenic…
Once we were across the river, we made our way to the levee. What we soon found put a bit of a damper on our enthusiasm… gates. Lots of gates. You can’t go more than a mile without stopping and hoisting your bike over one or two gates like the one you see in the background of the first photo.
Some rare gate-free views…. and cows.
By about the 11th gate, the novelty had worn off, and our progress was painfully slow. So, we bailed off the levee onto a road that took us west until we were on the north side of Marion, AR. The wind was a feisty 20+ MPH straight out of the south, and, after pushing into it for a while, Matt finally succumbed to “head on saddle” disorder:
…which I found to be amusing
After a few minutes, it was back out into the wind, where we made our way back to the levee and to the bridge, where we did some sightseeing before braving the wind and trucks to get back over (it hadn’t been bad on the way out, but on the way back it was both hands on the bars and hang on for dear life as the combination of speeding trucks and wind gusts buffeted the pedestrian crossing.
With all of the photo, gate, bathroom, head-on-saddle, and navigational stops, we ended up with 70 something miles and about 6.75 hours of time (elapsed). The pace had been mostly easy, so I felt pretty good afterward, and looked forward to the plans for Sunday’s training intensity.
Sunday morning, I watched a little bit of Paris-Roubaix with breakfast while Matt headed out on the scooter to the LosLocos Duathlon to spectate/heckle. I left on my road bike soon after and met him on the outskirts of the course. From there, he motorpaced me for about an hour (my first time to do that for an extended period of time). I fell in love with motorpacing out there- it’s essentially the same feeling/intensity of a group ride, but without any of the obnoxious stuff that comes with a “swinging dick” group ride.
I didn’t take any photos, because once Matt got the hang of being the scooter pilot, I was basically sweating out of my eyeballs. It was an excellent training ride. Here’s a photo from afterward, though…