Quote of the Day: "You're going the wrong way".
Inspection of the bike this morning revealed a chunk of rubber missing from my rear tire. With over 3000 miles on a heavily loaded bike this is to be expected at this point. I am not carrying a spare tire so the mission today is to locate a new tire:
I took advantage of the collective advice of this town council meeting in The Float Shop restaurant in Van Buren. They helped me create a strategy regarding a route that would connect me with a tire as quickly as possible:
Van Buren is the "float capital of Missouri. There are several large hotels that cater to those who want to spend a lazy day on the river:
This is the Current River:
So the race was on to get to Sikeston in order to get a tire before too late in the evening and before I had a blow out. I had to be very careful about road debris with this weakened tire.
I have been told on multiple occasions that "you are going the wrong way" meaning I should be going east to west vs. west to east. The thought is that the boring part of the ride is in the east, and the really boring part is in the mid-west, and the exciting part is in the west. Another argument is that the eastern ascent of a pass is usually more gradual than the western ascent and also you get conditioned for the passes in the Rockies as you move west.
I think that is crazy. First climbing a pass is easy compared to facing a headwind; if not literally then at least psychologically, as you know that there is an end to a pass whereas a headwind can go on for days - you just never know. Also on average the winds prevail mostly from the west. I would say that winds have been for the most part kind to me. Today as I raced to Sikeston this certainly was the case. I don't think that "I'm going the wrong way".
I made it to Sikeston MO by 7:30pm. Knowing I couldn't make it the 95 miles by the 6pm close time, I had arranged with Tony of SEMO Cycle to meet him at his shop after the ride he organizes on Tuesday evenings. He worked on the bike and advised me on routes across Tennessee until 9pm. Thanks so much for your help, advise, and flexibility Tony:
My new Specialized helmet with greater air flow:
Donations update: Currently at $660
About Soldiers Best Friend ..... If you have been following along you already know that I am trying to collect donations for the charity called Soldiers Best Friend. This is a charity that provides service dogs to Vets that are suffering from PTSD. These dogs can literally be life savers for these men and women.
My blog averages approximately 175 hits per day. I think that suggests folks are interested in the trip and hopefully are being informed and entertained. I am at the 3/4 point of the trip at 3300 miles. I consider this my job for the summer of 2014. I am putting in the the "blood, sweat, and gears" to steal a phrase - so would you consider a donation to this very worthy cause?
I've done the math for you .... My entire trip is going to be approximately 4200 miles long. Do you think you could donate $.006 per mile (like about slightly more than 1/2 cent per mile)?? If so then that would be a $25 dollar donation to SBF. Or better yet could you afford to donate at $.012 per mile (1.2 cents per mile) then that would be about a $50 donation. And so on .... give what you can - I know this sounds like a Nation Public Radio fund drive but come on - what a worthy cause!!
Please follow the link below to donate and include my name - just "Neil" will do or "Neal" if you like that spelling better:):)
It's time folks please.......
And finally please remember the cause - soldiersbestfriend.org I will go into this in more detail and perhaps some level of haranguing later on, but for now here is the link .... and an additional link for donation SoldiersBestFriend - Donate Please :):) Oh and I would be a lot more comfortable if you use the "honorarium" option vs the "memoriam" option - you'll understand when you click on the link:):).
As you donate please enter my name in the "In Honor of Spot" so the folks at SBF can tally the results to encourage me and let me know WE are getting something done TOGETHER. I recognize we are really trying to honor the Vets but this is the only way SBF can tally the results of this drive (tour).