Day 20 Monticello AR to Indianola MS

My Head’s in Mississippi

Today was the flattest day of the PAC Tour, so why do I feel exhausted? We rode from Monticello AR to Indianola MS.

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Things got off to a bad start when I only ate one breakfast instead of my usual two. I was preoccupied with trying to order new bike shoes and getting them express shipped to a hotel on my route. Not a good way to start the day. We rolled out at 7:30am in chilly, 55 degree weather with lots of wind gusts. Strike two.

After the first water stop we had a great 8 mile section with a great tailwind, scooting me along at 22-25mph, probably the same as the wind. The pavement was smooth as a pool table, perfect conditions. Then we took a left turn onto broken pavement with the same wind now hammering us from the side, and my speed dropped in half.

We went by a very nice lake with cypress trees, and miles of very nice homes. On the other side were cotton fields, so the well manicured lawns had tufts of cotton that looked like melting snow, in the 70 degree sun.

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Cotton is king in Arkansas, the highest quality in the world. Here you can see a field with the Rt. 82 bridge in the background, crossing the Mississippi.

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The bridge was nice to ride over, not steep and narrow like the Bourne Bridge over the Cape Cod Canal.

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The whole time I kept singing to myself ZZ Top’s “My Head’s in Mississippi”.

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Sorry, there were no “Entering Mississippi” signs, just a casino before we turned onto a narrow road with a crosswind so strong it blew several people off the road. Just to go straight I had to lean my bike over. Sorry, no picture, as it was not safe to ride with one hand, rumble strips on the right and semis on the left. We turned off the road and only had to dodge combines.

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The last 25 miles seemed like constant headwind or unrelenting cross wind, slowing us to 10-14 mph blowing across the open farmland. The only break was crossing a bridge under construction.

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Just a few miles later we were suddenly in downtown Indianola. We heard sirens and saw flashing lights. Was there an accident? No, it was the Gentry High School Homecoming Parade.

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Every club, every class had a float or car with young men in tuxedos and ladies in white dresses. We felt very out of place in our sweat-encrusted lycra togs, walking though the crowds. We missed the B. B. King museum as it closed before we could get there. Now i have a good excuse to return.

After cleaning up at the hotel, Jim and I were so tired and hungry that we had to have a McDonald’s shake before we had the strength to walk to Wendy’s for dinner. Now I have enough energy to type up this blog then snooze in front of the TV.

Please support my ride to raise money for the Pan Mass Challenge and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

Chris Spear

P.S. Check out Jim Salvie’s blog