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Thursday, 30 June 2011

Day 51 - Magazine Mountain

Todays mileage: 61
Total mileage: 2,549
End point: Petit Jean State Park, AR

First things first, I have increased my fundraising target to £3,000, or around $5,000. I'm not going to change it again, but I wanted to make sure that some people who have made promises of sponsorship at the end do not cut MSF short because I hit my original target. If your name is 'Tim' this probably applies to you ;) Also I wanted to give special mention to Bill and Shannon Brady the couple who I met outside during the fire alarm in Tulsa - they didn't leave an email address when they sponsored, so thankyou. This does ofcourse put an incentive on me to pull fire alarms in motels and then have a quick whip round from the innocent people sitting outside.

Wine with dinner last night was probably a bad idea as the 10 mile climb up to Cove Lake was a bit of a killer, I was soaked in sweat and not in a good way. What awaited me however was a gorgeous camping area right on the shore of the lake which I had to myself. The scenery around here is stunning and I got to have another lake swim. My camp area soon however became overrun with what I will call 'peanut spiders'; their legs stretched out about the width of my hand and their body was the size of the peanut. Relatively harmless, but everywhere. Despite my best attempts they some how infiltrated my tent and a sweeping operation was required to make it insect free.

The temperature dropped a bit overnight so I actually managed to get a good nights sleep. My alarm woke me but I was unable to stop it due to phoine issues without ripping the battery out. I didn't get up till 10.30am, which looking back was an error, but we'll come to that in a minute. I set off on what turned out to be an epic climb up Magazine Mountain, Arkansas' highest point. I didn't think I was going to the summit as there was a side road off the highway which I figured went to the summit, but I was wrong and had to climb up to 2700ft. On the White Pass Scale I'm going to give it 4/5, gradient wise it probably deserved only 3/5 but adding some high temperatures into the mix made it tough. The descent on the other hand was phenominal and was one of the longest continous downhills I have ridden. I took some breaks down to take some great scenery shots. The Ozarks have been a suprise gem of this trip so far.

At the bottom of the hill I realised I had a new problem however, I had agreed to meet my support crew (which you will hear much more of tomorrow) at Petit Jean State Park, but Petit Jean appeare twice on my map. It turned out the one which was close to me and the one I thought I was heading to was actually a river access area, and so a 40 mile ride turned into a 60 mile ride, the last 20 through rolling countryside. It was beautiful but I must admit I have not been feeling 100% today, I think the wine left me dehydrated and then I had one more final climb up to the state park which was killer. I'm riding with a group tomorrow so this will be interesting, but I hope they don't expect anything too fast from me, because they won't be getting it. 

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