PAC Tour, Southern Trancontinental 2006

Day 19, Thursday, September 28
To: Lula, MS; 120 miles

Cotton Country
Riding Time: 6:38:02; Avg Speed: 18.1 mph; Max Speed: 28.1 mph

After a mild start of 65°F it only warmed to 75°F as a dry cold front passed over us. We had party cloudy skies all day.

Pancake flat

 

Today's 20-30 mph NNE wind was nasty quartering headwind most of the day.

 

Today's ride was 10 miles shorter than originally planned thanks to a new road leading out of Pine Bluff that is smoother and safer. At lunch there was small uprising as some riders demanded a prorated refund for the lost mileage that they felt was due. Lon dismissed the claim by inviting them to ride laps in the Hotel parking lot.

Eamonn in cotton country My first cotton field. I love cotton!
Near Cornerstone, AR (at 27 miles)

 

Handlebar view of the second SAG stop at a rice mill near Dewitt, AR (at 56 miles)

 

In cotton! (8 miles NE of Elaine, AR; at 105 miles)

 

Walter loves cotton too. Paul and I on a raised road surrounded by low and flat cotton fields.
Same location as above (8 miles NE of Elaine, AR)

 

Walter, Eamonn, Paul and I rode virtually the whole day together except for the first few miles riding out of town. On a flat and windy day like today, it is especially important to have a few good riding partners. For the last 15 miles we were into a really brutal 20-25 mph headwind as we at times only managed 14 mph. Riding in a pace line with an apparent wind of 20 mph saves the group about 20% of their energy (our apparent wind was about 35 mph). Only the leading rider has the full workload and taking turns at the front assures that everyone gets a break.

The four of us really worked well together, keeping the tempo nice and steady. But beside that, riding with friends makes the day so much richer and more fun. Also if we rode alone, who would we take pictures of?

 

Crossing the Mississippi River from Arkansas to Mississippi.
Once again we were denied a state welcome sign. Our "Welcome to Mississippi" was nowhere to be found on the Route 49 bridge. Maybe we're not welcome here either.

 

In Mississippi looking back to Arkansas. Closeup of the left photo. At least we found our "Welcome to Arkansas" sign. It was here the whole time, on the other side of the state!
 

 

The last time I crossed the Mississippi River was exactly three weeks ago at 35,000 ft altitude in route to San Diego. At that time I was filled with nervous anticipation about the adventure that I was irreversibly committed to; with a size and scope far beyond anything I had previously attempted. Today I feel a quiet satification and pride in the effort that brought me back to this point under my own power.

I am now really looking forward to the conclusion of this tour, which occurs exactly one week from today. Just before dinner I sniffed and for a brief moment I thought I detected the faint scent of the Atlantic Ocean.

 

For my co-workers at AirNet that have an interest in my body weight, here it is (at the end of today's ride). At the start of the tour my official weight was 167 lbs. So, after three weeks I have lost only 1.5 lbs.

 

Me working on my fourth plate of food, with Eamonn. Walter also puts away the carbohydrates.
At the buffet of the "Isle of Capri Casino" in Lula, MS.

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