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Unfortunately today’s stage didn’t quite live up to my expectations. Having enjoyed some outstanding riding on quiet minor roads yesterday I was hoping for more of the same today. Instead we found ourselves on some bigger roads with shoulders and rather more traffic, including a few drivers who were up there with the worst on the tour so far – honking their horns and passing us with the minimum distance. We also had a bit of cloud cover, a lightish headwind and the humidity wasn’t quite as fierce as yesterday. For me the best few bits of the stage were the first few miles and the last few miles. In between, well Pete summed it up nicely: “There’s not a lot to photograph!”
We carried on across Topeka and through the suburbs until we reached State Route 4 which we then rode along for the next 30 miles, passing through the first SAG along the way. I had a spot of fun before this as I pulled over for a brief goss with Robin and Mary who were on support duties today, leaving Pete and Emil to head off up a gentle climb and over the horizon. I then set off in pursuit and once I had reached the top of the incline I got on to the drop bars, wound it up through the gears and went full gas for about 3 miles, eventually catching Pete and Emil shortly before the SAG. Then another 25 miles took us to the next SAG and a cooing milkshake at a Dairy Queen.
The other sign that caught my eye was a reference to Lewis and Clark and a nearby State Park named after them. This set me thinking. I have heard about them and their explorations but I didn’t know much more. With some Giggling on the Interweb I am now much better informed. Their pioneering expedition between 1804 and 1806 was focussed very much on exploring, understanding and documenting the territories of western America for the purposes of trade and sovereignty. What really surprised me when I started reading about their expedition was how relatively recently their work has been properly recognised in contemporary history writings. One hundred years after their travels many of their achievements were reported at a fairly superficial level. A complete set of their diaries was only published in 2004 to celebrate the bicentennial of their explorations. I plan to find out more after the tour is finished – I sense some fascinating reading …