Posted by: bikedave | August 10, 2010

August 10, Ash Grove, MO to Marshfield, MO

Today’s route goes north for the first 6 miles then turns east to go through Walnut Grove and Fair Grove, then on to Marshfield, MO.
Did I say before that this part of Missouri is hilly?  I don’t think there was five miles of the ride today which was close to level.  The hills here are really fun to ride.  Most of them are short, so you don’t end up grinding out a steep grade for miles.  The grade on each hill is constantly changing.  Because there is rock just below the surface, not much effort has been made to even out the grades by cutting and filling.  The roads just follow the natural contour of the hill.  Most of the hills get steepest just before reaching the top.  Many of the steepest grades are  over 8%, a few more than 10%, but only for short distances.  Again, these hills were a lot of fun to ride.  I’d be going as fast as I could on a downhill, hit the bottom and start up the next hill, going through the gears as the bike slows down.  Typically, my speed would go from just over 30 mph down to 3 mph in 20 or 30 seconds.  As I would work my way nearer the top, my speed would increase as the grade moderated.  Pretty soon I’d be flying down the next hill.
Here’s some pictures of some hills on the route today:

There were a few areas where it would be relatively flat.  These areas were at the top of a few big hills.

Looking north, west of Fair Grove, MO. In this picture I am seeing the tops of hills all the way to the horizon.

Looking east towards Fair Grove, MO. This photo was taken from the same spot as the previous photo. I'm about to begin a series of hills, each with a crest lower than the one before it.

Wildflowers on the roadside

By the time I reached Fair Grove, MO, it was getting quite hot, and I was feeling it.  I stopped at a Subway, bought a iced tea, and sat in the air conditioned restaurant while I cooled down.  Because of the temperature, I would need to slow down and take a number of rest stops in the shade for the last fifteen miles of the ride.  Riding in these hot, humid conditions can still be pleasurable, but you have to be careful that you don’t let your body overheat.

This old truck sits just over the Webster County line west of Fair Grove, MO

As I came closer to Marshfield, the amount of traffic increased enough that I needed to leave the shoulder-less roadway a number of times to allow traffic to pass on blind curves or at the crest of hills.
On the east side of Marshfield, Vicki had found a church parking lot to wait for me in.  When I arrived, we loaded up the bike, and I enjoyed a cold shower.

Miles today: 48    Total miles: 2,654


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