Friday, April 23, 2010

Tour de Mule Day Four


In the days way before rock and roll, derailleur gears and peanut butter sandwiches legends were common place.
Even further back and 300 strong, King Leonidas held off Xerxes whose army from the East outnumbered his 1,000:1.
Entering Day-4, the odds on the Mules riding a 3rd consecutive 100 miles was also 1,000:1.

It was on this day where the hills became a factor and a few exotics, some poisonous posed challenges that this 300 (actually foursome) faced.
Behind each legend there is usually a key component to their success.
Bravery, tactical brilliance or something less significant like the round shield or longbow.
For the Mules it came in the form of Butt butter.

Their morning started early with a 50 mile march (car ride) from the hotel in Tupelo back to from whence they came, 50 miles south of Tupelo.

With his Creases properly Buttered Philip was ready to Dahhhhnce on his pedals. And Dance he did leading off the Mule train.
Gathering momentum they made short work of the morning session completing 50 miles at 19 mph where they met Ted for lunch at the Parkway Visitor Center .
This lived up to its billing with cold clear spring water and indoor bathrooms buttered by battered butts which were slowly becoming black and blue.
A nice recommendation for civilized travelers is to add a surprise to the lunch.
Ted added chips one day, cookies the next and then mixed up the sandwich shop without telling us.
Such small surprises are nice reward for the riders and appreciated thereafter.
The next 50 mph was a challenge because of the acute and constant undulations.
Philip tried to raise our spirits by declaring that each one in turn was 'a bit of a rib tickler' by the end the humour wore off and the undulations were demoted from 'rib ticklers' to 'butt busters'
At the top of one such incline the Mules were rewarded by the Pharr Mounds at mile marker 290, an incredible archaeological find.

8 mounds are still in tact and were used by Native American Indians to bury their dead. Although the demise of these Mules may have been scripted, bucking convention is their trade mark, they were ready to make their own history and rode like Mercury the winged messenger.
Move over Stone Henge, buenos dias Hadrian's Wall, adieu to the burial mounds, 300 here we come.
We got there but only after Paddy slayed a 50 ft poisonous viper which nested right at the 300 mark.



300 on the ride but another 20 miles to hit the team's goal of 110 miles for the tour which was "supposed" to be the longest day.



As we approached our goal the rivalry between Phil and Kenny could not contain itself. By mile 316 the hills could not contain themselves either.

Kenny aka Floyd Landis unleashed a powerful 23 mph surge for the remaining 4 miles up hill that no one will ever match ensuring that the polka dot Jersey was his for keeps.

The day ended at mile 320 with the team pondering Kenny's genetics.
This intensified after liquid hydration (Guinness) and an immediate urine test was requested.
This was sent to the same guys that busted Landis.

To his dismay Phil last hope was dashed when the result just illustrated that Kenny was merely half mule half mountain goat.







Through all of the days excitement we had entered Alabama...................No prizes for guessing what we had on the radio on our way to the Hotel

1 comment:

Andy Brickell said...

What an adventure, Phil! Great writing and outstanding pics - hope there weren't any safety violations during the photography -