PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 15, Sunday, September 24
To: Mc Alester, OK; 100 miles

Mild crosswinds, rolling hills
Riding Time: 5:47:36; Avg Speed: 17.3 mph; Max Speed: 34.9 mph

The start was a cool 53°F and with moderate cloud cover. It stayed cool all day warming only to the upper 60's.

Gently rolling to Mc Alester, OK

 

McAlester is our last over night stay in Oklahoma

 

The plan today called for a moderate to easy paced recovery in preparation for tomorrow's steep climbing day. I started out riding and chatting with Lon, Dennis, and Steve Rawiszer from California.

Steve is attempting this tour on a fixed gear bike. By definition it only has one gear (a 49x19 in fact). He usually climbs standing up on grades steeper than 3% and grades of 8% or more are very difficult. Additionally, since it's a "fixed gear" there is no coasting downhill - his legs are always moving when his bike is moving. On steep downhills he has to apply the brakes when the power of the descending bike drives his legs to uncomfortable speeds. He is an extremely strong rider and so far he has ridden every mile, but I am very curious to see how he manages on the long grades over 13% that we'll encounter tomorrow.

Do to these limitations Steve dropped back after a few descents on the moderately rolling hills here in central Oklahoma; leaving Lon, Dennis and I to ride to the first SAG together. We were the first to arrive and Lon stopped only briefly so he could paint "P" arrows at key intersections ahead before the other riders arrived. A few minutes later, I was the next rider to leave, becoming by default a "guinea pig" for tricky parts of today's route navigation. As usual Lon's route sheet was very detailed and I followed it easily, any attentive rider could do likewise. I looked for the "P" arrows as an additional confirmation at each turn. Since Lon stopped frequently to apply the markings, I caught up and told him all was well.

Lon at the second SAG stop in Allen, OK (at 56-miles)

 

I rode solo from the second SAG to lunch on a twenty-mile section with stiff headwinds. Ken and Walt joined me a few miles before reaching lunch. All of us were conserving our strength for tomorrow.

Rider safety is the number one priority of PAC Tour.
At this lunch stop our western flank was well defended.

 

Marinated chicken hot off the grill. I had grilled chicken, German potato salad,
beans and rice, salad, fresh tomato slices, mixed fruit, olives and a roll.
For desert chocolate pudding and lemon meringue pie

 

We were treated to the usual great lunch today. Although the menu changes daily, its always as delicious as it is nutritious.

War Memorial in Stuart, OK honoring veterans of WW I, WW II, Korean war, Vietnam, and the Gulf War.

 

Eamonn and I left lunch together and rode a moderate pace to the finish at the HiWay Inn in Mc Alester, OK. We arrived second to a Lon, Dennis, Walter and the tandem team. Although our thoughts were on tomorrow's ride, today was another in a long list of great riding days.

Eamonn and I working through the rolling country side about 10 miles west of Mc Alester, OK

 

When we arrived at the hotel, both Eamonn and I were showing 99.75 miles on our odometers so we did a few back and forth laps in the motel parking lot to make it an even 100. Silly, I know, but who said we were serious?

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