Saturday was the 60+ mile ride with Gary and Petra and I think we set a record for the number of honks and catcalls we received. Surprisingly it seemed to be all on the positive side--it's weird but you can tell a friendly honk from an angry one. Until near the end when Petra started getting cranky I enjoyed myself. It was difficult at times but I was able to keep a positive outlook and I knew I was going to make it up all the hills this time.
We started out from the old Bike City parking lot and immediately had the hard climb up Sawmill--that's not my favorite way to start a ride, it seems to take me 5-6 miles before I get my muscles warmed up. For some reason I do not pay very close attention to the street signs when I'm cycling so until we got back to Hwy 367 at McRae I couldn't tell you what road we were on for sure. All I know is that we followed Country Club to some back roads that eventually led us to Hwy 367. When we made it to El Paso I told Gary I was going to have to stop at McDonalds for an egg mcmuffin. Everything I had in my bento bag was sweet and I needed some real food before tackling Hwy 5 north. For some reason the gels and bars weren't cutting it for me that morning. Anyway survived the big hills enroute to Romance and followed Hwy 31 to Floyd where we grabbed Hwy 305--this is where the loooonnnnggg hill is that seems like it's never going to end. Not steep but can be discouraging. Then comes the scariest part of the ride, we grab Hwy 36 at Center Hill back to Searcy, no shoulders, high traffic. Not a good combination.
Oh, forgot to mention Dugout mountain, a very fun scary decline where Gary usually gets up to 50+mph. The first time I came down it I started braking at around 30 mph, this time I just relaxed, got into aero, and let it roll. Tried not to think about how bad it was going to hurt if I wiped out. Top speed was just over 42 mph for me. Gary was wanting to do the airport loop to add on another 18 miles after we got back to Searcy. I agreed eventually but the wind was starting to pick up and when we got to the end of the bicycle trail and looked south to see the sky blackening, I told him I was ready to call it quits. We ended up with 77.31 miles at a 15.2 mph average.
Saturday evening we had a tornado warning but thankfully nothing major came of it in Searcy. We did have some very high winds and a lot of trees were downed but it could've been much worse. When I walked Elsie at 6 a.m. the wind was still blowing hard and it was cool so I decided to go back to bed. Ended up being a little bit of a mistake. Once I got out at 10 a.m. for my run it had warmed up considerably and was very humid. Had an 8-10 mile run planned but only did 7.28. There was a tree down on the trail in between Ella and Hwy 16, you could go to the side and go under the tree or over it to get by (I went under) and part of Center St. was closed where the city crews were removing trees that'd fallen.