Day Twenty-Six: The Winding Road to St. Louis

We woke at 0500 this morning. Jane was kind enough to save me some breakfast, as I was busy sewing my Zipp shorts. They have a bad habit of bursting at the seams, which means I need to attack then with a needle and thread once every few weeks. I can tell the three pairs of shorts apart by exactly where the holes are. Hopefully, my repair job will hold.

I started with an eight mile warmup this morning, still donning my aero helmet in the cool morning weather.

Jane and I played a game. I sprinted for 5 miles, and she tried to catch me. After 5 miles, I turned around until she caught me. We played this game exactly once. Afterward, the van passed us, and I managed to draft the van at 40 MPH for a few miles.

At lunch, the proprietors of the local gas station gave us free donuts. Some police officers from Trenton, IL chatted with us for a while about bicycle safety. The officer, a cyclist, informed us that in the state of Illinois, cyclists may ride in the lane, albeit on the right side of the lane in single file.

Jane and I took the lead after lunch. The route to St. Louis was complex, with lots of tricky turns in an effort to avoid East St. Louis, and the cue sheet was tricky as a result. With the help of my GPS and three sticks of chalk, we managed to route everyone onto a beautiful bicycle path and onto the McKinley Bridge. Formerly an interurban rail trestle, with some of the overhead wire hangers intact, this structure made for a very sturdy bridge and a dramatic way to cross the flooded Mississippi River.

The bridge had Missouri/Illinois painted on it at the state line. At least, this is where the painters thought the state line was. Using GPS technology, I correctly chalked the state line about 100 feet to the east! These things matter for things like state line sprints, which I won uncontested today.

We took the Riverfront Trail until it closed, then used busy local roads to route us to the Centennial Congregational Church here on Olive St. After a hurried shower at the YMCA, we had a few hours to kill before the homeless shelter provided us dinner. There were about 200 homeless individuals present.

In casual browsing of some weather reports, it looks like the parts of Nevada and California where we will be in just a few short weeks are suffering from record temperatures, with lows in the high 70s overnight and highs in the 105-110 degree range.

I'm looking forward to some rest tonight and tomorrow. The city will be livelier on Monday, and things will be open.