Day 32 - Chillicothe to Kirksville MO
Yes, There Are More Hills
Mileage: 82 miles
Total Climb: 4,200 feet
Weather: Warm early, with scattered showers as the day went on.
Today was the infamous ‘Day of a Thousand Hills’. There isn’t actually a thousand hills to climb, but their might be. The thing is, we aren’t sure anyone has an accurate count of how many hills there are exactly, and most of that is due to the frustration from climbing a hill just to see the next series of hills you’re about to climb. As our riders left the hotel into a humid Missouri morning, they wondered about the prospects of rain. The sky looked as if it could go either way, but most of them decided they would take their rain gear just in case.
Our cyclists first went back through town, turning in front of the library and past a large mural into a more residential area of Chillicothe. After a short ride down Broadway street, which was not that broad, they would cross a bridge that would take them back into the fields once again. A few quick miles later they were on country route K, which would be their entrance back into the crossword puzzle of roads that they were riding on just yesterday. We came to a puzzling intersection where riders usually get confused about which was is actually straight, one with way too many “k’s”. There was even a sign for Kristy’s Kountry Kitchen, which was a pretty uncomfortable read.
They made their way to country route BB, then into the town of Linneus, where we had a SAG at a gas station across from the Linn County Courthouse. There was a slight drizzle starting to appear as they rested, and we wondered if last years torrential downpour would be repeated as they started to travel over the next leg of hills. Unfortunately, Granny Mabel’s Kitchen was closed, so they would not have a place to get a good meal while they waited out the storm if one were to pass through. While we were there, a local came by to see what we were up to and to give us insight into his life in town, raising chickens, selling their eggs, and growing strawberries in his garden.
On the next leg, it DID start to rain, but ended as most riders made it to the second rest stop. Thankfully, it wasn’t very heavy and there was no lightning, so they did not have to knock on doors or hide in barns until a storm passed. Unfortunately, one rider, Ira, did have an issue where he broke one side of his crank clean in half on the way up a hill. He made it to the second SAG but we were not able to repair his bike there or find a suitable replacement of any kind, so he had to wait until we reached Quincy to fix his crankset. Since this was the two-thirds point of today’s ride, you could say there was what would feel like a few hundred hills left, but thankfully they had made it through the bulk of them.
As far as today went, it was actually ideal considering the lack of intense heat and how the rain held off for most of the day. We didn’t even need to walk our bikes over a washed-out bridge this year! Thats a huge improvement over last year, and made a big difference as far as how worn out our group would be for the next day. Lets just hope that the weather stays the same for their ride over the Mississippi and into Illinois tomorrow.