But I am just a pilgrim on this road, boys
Until I see you fare thee well
-Steve Earle, Pilgrim

Monday, March 30, 2009

Springfield, MO, 200K Brevet

The Springfield 200K brevet was held Sunday, March 29, through the St. Louis region. Saturday was a real nail biter as a major storm pushed through dropping over an inch of rain. It began to taper off in the afternoon as predicted, but the Weather Service was still calling for snow ending around 1:00AM. I drove part of the route during the early afternoon to check for flooding. All of the streams were well within their banks, so I decided we would ride. John Jost, the St. Louis RBA, had decided Friday that he was not going to come down because of the weather, but he called Saturday afternoon and decided to risk it after we discussed the forecast. As the night progressed, the storm began to swirl back to the east, but fortunately, the whole system also moved to the northeast, and we only got a sprinkling of snow.

Seven other local riders showed up to start the brevet at a cold 32 degrees with a 12mph wind out of the WNW. The brave souls were: Bill Burton, Roy Chapman, Bill Hill, Dave Julian, Dan Pfaff, Dave Ritchey and Dave Schlink. This was the first brevet for all of them except Bill Hill.

There was some frost on the roads as we started out, which made for some exciting down hills, but nobody crashed. As the day started perfectly clear, the ice soon burned off. It was a little slow going because of the headwind, and we all made it to the first control in Miller a little slower than we usually ride the permanent that generally follows the same route. The route flattens out quite a bit after Miller, so we were able to pick up the pace. We all arrived in Golden City within about a 15-minute span and met at Cooky's for lunch. Cooky's is a favorite stop on the TransAmerica Trail. They have good home cooking and about 30 varieties of homemade pie.

John and I did not have a full lunch and took off first. About 10 miles out of Golden City, we passed a fully-load cyclist heading west. I was surprised to see someone touring this early in the year, and wondered why he was not on the TransAmerica Trail, which comes into Golden City further north. As he passed, he yelled that he was from St. Louis. He was also in short sleeves, while we still had our jackets on. He must build up a lot more heat pushing those full panniers. The temperature did get up to 54 degrees in the late afternoon.

John and I were not much faster on the ride back even with the tailwind, but we also made an extra stop at Hood's Truck Stop on I-44. We were expecting some of the other faster riders to catch us. They started coming in about five minutes after we arrived at the finish.

All nine riders completed the brevet in just over 11.5 hours. Dave Ritchey came in last because he had a flat about 1/2 mile from the end and decided to walk in. I believe he had the only flat. Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the brevet, and several began to make plans for the 300K on April 18 (details here), asking about lighting and reflective gear. The only downside of the ride was the number of dogs that chased us. Fortunately, a really vicious-looking pit bull was well chained in his yard, but that didn't stop him, or her, from trying to make a run at us.

Special thanks to John Jost for allowing us to setup the brevets here in Springfield. Hopefully, we have been able to introduce some new riders to the sport of Randonneuring.

Riding out through the snow

Stretching at the Miller Control

Lunch stop at Cooky's in Golden City