Our next stage at 4pm race time picked up in Mokane, MO, outside of Jefferson City, MO. My first pull was along the flat river terrain just north of the Missouri River. We discovered here that the state bird is, in fact, the mosquito. We learned very quickly to close the van door immediately after entering or exiting the van! I was feeling much better, but at this point the wattage was only up to about 170w or so.
I rode along for 8.6 miles at 22.1mph and then we set JV off into the first of the hills. As we started up the first climb, I groaned when I saw what JV was going to have to ride up…and it continued getting worse. These climbs weren’t long, but they were steep! We finally found a pull-out at the top and waited.
As I started down from the top, I had my second “oh-sh’t” moment of the race. I start bombing down this steep descent, and comment to myself that the turn at the bottom seems to be approaching awfully quick! I look down and see I am doing over 50mph! I can’t grab too much brake, so I just hang on and hit the turn, grateful that it wasn’t too sharp! Phewww… I continue on along the river at 23.2mph for about 8 miles, and note the Katy Trail off to my left.
The next pull begins outside of Hermann, and the first thing I notice is the road is VERY narrow and the hills are very short and steep! Up and down we continue on down the road towards another crossing of the Missouri River. Outside of New Haven, I see the most memorable water tower of the trip…it was amazingly tall and white with a bulbous head on the top. A bit more phallic looking than I would have expected out here in MO!
I take over outside of Washington, where I encounter the only real jack-ass driver that I can recall from the entire trip. I guess he wasn’t used to cyclists taking their place in the left turn lane despite his giant truck. I was chatting with some college students at the red light, and I guess I didn’t floor it fast enough when the light turned green. I nearly got run over! Oh well…one driver in 3000 miles wasn’t bad…
Crossing the Missouri River from Washington was fun as the bridge was pretty cool. I was smiling the whole way across as my support van provided cover for me (“Cover me, Red Five, I’m going in!”), and I sailed across the plains on the other side. A final pull through the rollers as we headed NW, and I was finished. JV and I met back at the RV, enjoyed a shower in the sun behind the RV, and then tried to get some sleep!