Posted by: rustymccain | July 11, 2011

Ozarks 1, Ray and Rusty 0

I looked in the online dictionary just a few minutes ago to see what the definition of “fun” was. I am not sure we were having it today. After brushing up on the definition, I am still not sure. I do know that today was very rewarding. Today was another step toward reaching our goal. But, the jury is still out on “fun”. I have to do some more internet research before I file it in the “fun” category.

We rode till the cows came home

We knew the day would be hot. There is a heat advisory here as there is all over the south. As I write this, the temperature here is 98 degrees and the “feels like” index is 113 degrees. The weather channel says that you should limit your exposure to the heat. I think the conventional wisdom is to pack guys our age in ice and put them on the back porch until a cold front moves through, then let them out. I don’t think “limited exposure” means “get on a bike and ride 6 hours in some really tough hills.
Again, I am having trouble with definitions of certain terms today.

New friends Lorraine and Brittany

The day started out quite benign. Our course has turned a bit northeastward and the wind has moved back to its normal direction, south/southeast. There was a bit of cloud cover and the terrain was rolling. We made it to our first stop at mile 23 in the town of Summersville. We were feeling pretty good at that point. We had a great visit there with Lorraine and Brittany, two young ladies from Maine who were headed west. They are hard-core, doing the whole camping thing and going all the way to Portland and then down the coast. After riding as the mileage we have, and knowing how much they are riding, they have our instant respect for what they are doing.

As we left Summersville, we headed into the part of the Ozarks that everyone had warned us about. The climbs became longer and steeper, and the clouds parted by the time we got to Eminence, our second stop at mile 43. We had consumed five large bottles of fluid and drank even more when we stopped, but we just couldn’t get enough fluid absorbed.

One of our favorite signs

As we got ready to leave Eminence, we knew the last 27 miles was supposed to be among the toughest in this part of our trip. A short conversation Ray had with a Park Ranger who we happened to see at the store did not bolster our confidence. The conversation went like this:

“Good morning, How are you guys doing today?”

“Doing well and you?”

“Good, you guys sure picked a hot day to ride.”

“Yes, it is pretty warm.”

“Where are you guys headed?”


“Oh shit!”

He was right.

We had five of the steepest climbs we have had over the next section. The heat only added to the difficulty. There were times when I felt like someone had taken off my helmet and put my head in a microwave.

Near Ellington, MO

But, the mantra has been to keep turning the pedals over and soon we were turning over our 70th mile into the town of Ellington. We have now changed our criteria for a good motel. Air conditioning. That is our only criteria. We have a good motel room tonight.

We are still looking forward to Friday and seeing our buds. Our ride Saturday will start from IronSon’s mom’s house in Beaver Dam. I am not sure of the logistics, but I think we will ride through downtown between 7:30 and 8:00 on the way to Cave City. If you haven’t hooked up with IronSon Jonathon, email Ray or me and we’ll try to get you more directions.

Thanks for checking in!



  1. Good job today and I am sure it felt more like work than fun a lot of the time, if you are being honest. Expect bad spots because they happen. If you mentally know that then they don’t surprise you and you deal with it a lot better. It is hot but that is a lot better than it is too cold, IMHO. Ice bath tonight, PLEASE!!!!!! It will help big time. And when you shower in the morning make the rinse with cold water. If your room has a fridge, you might want to freeze some of your bottles because they will surely thaw out as you ride. You think? ROFLMAO

    You got thru a tough hot day. It will be hot again tomorrow. But just think, when it only feel like 90 you will be so acclimated it will feel like you are freezing your ( I ) off. Well maybe not that cold. 🙂

  2. p.s. The Ozarks didn’t win today because you completed your scheduled ride. If you quit, then and only then did they win. So I think you need to at least call this day a tie.

  3. Sausage biscuits, scrambled eggs, juice and coffee on Sat. morn. We’ll get cooking early. IronMom

  4. Love your stories! Limited exposure to outside activity is strongly recommended. Hope you guys are enjoying some AC tonight.

  5. You two are now officially reaching the status of Greek gods.

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