After a week delay due to icy weather, the 200K brevet was held. Eleven riders started at 7:00 under partly-cloudy skies and a strong wind out of the southeast (25 mph, gusts to 30 mph). The forecast was for a 60% chance of rain.
By the time we were leaving Republic, we had broken into several groups. I rode with Cliff Jacobs, a PBP ancien, to Miller (35.9 miles). We got there at 9:10 as the three lead riders were getting ready to leave the control. Cliff left with them, and I was about ten minutes behind. As I was approaching the turn north at MO 37, about four miles outside of Golden City, four riders rode north on MO 37. At first I thought the lead group had gotten lost, but then I saw more riders further south. At MO 37 and MO 126 I passed a rest stop for the ride. I got to the control at 10:28 (62.9 miles) as the lead riders were getting ready to leave.
I passed the other six riders strung out on MO 37, just south of Golden City and about 20 to 25 minutes behind me. As I was still heading south calculating how long it would take to get back to Springfield at seven to eight mph, a car slowed down next to me, and a woman asked if I was on the Maple Leaf (AKA Spring Fling Century) since I was obviously going the wrong direction. I responded no. So you are just riding on your own? Yes. Are you okay? Yes, which was not the complete truth. If I was okay, I would be at home reading a book. She said she was just checking and drove on.
About four miles outside Miller, on UU Highway, my rear tire started going flat. As I was pumping it up, I noticed the rim was cracked around one of the spoke holes. The cracks were new because I had checked the rims after my last ride. Something to repair later. I pumped the tire up after another two miles. In Miller, I changed the tube and several riders caught up with me. It had taken as long to ride from Golden City to Miller (26.9 miles) as it had taken to ride from Springfield to Golden City (62.9 miles). We all left Miller together but were soon separated, with the tandem recumbent ahead of me and the recumbent behind.
As I crossed I-44, I was hit by a brief downpour of pea-size hail. I quickly pulled into an abandoned gas station. There were four SUVs in the parking lot with electronic and weather equipment hanging off of them and signed: Tornado Chasers. Fortunately, I did not see any tornadoes. I put my rain gear back on and headed out. I had worn my rain gear from the start until Miller on the return and took it off when it got warmer and it looked like we had avoided the storms. It was noticeably cooler after the hail storm.
The remainder of the route was east bound and the wind had shifted to the south, so it was easier going. I rode into the final control at 17:45. The toughest 100K I have ever ridden. The last two riders came in at 18:39, and the sky immediately busted open with a mix of rain and hail. One rider abandoned in Miller, exhausted from fighting the wind.
Riders getting ready at the start
Mike & Nancy Myers and Dan Pfaff
in Miller on the return
Last Move of the Year........
20 hours ago