There's not a whole lot to say about this segment. I followed Route 66 for 80 miles in 95 degree weather. Yup. That was my day. Well, actually, there was this sort of awkward moment when I spent 15 minutes filming a 10 second snapchat of myself on some train tracks. The video was basically just me showing off my chest hair. Mid-filming I looked to my left to find a couple in a car starting at me like I was some sort of idiot. Yeah, that was embarrassing. Besides that the ride was uneventful.
The day ended just North of St. Louis in Edwardsville. I arrived at the home of Tom, a man whose life had been changed by cycling. He took me out to dinner where he shared his inspiring story. There was a period in his life when he was terribly out of shape. What do I mean by "terribly out of shape"? I mean he weighed nearly 500 pounds. Somehow he found the motivation to begin riding. However, he soon found that the max load capacity of any bike at his bike store was 380 pounds, and he sure had that beat. Regardless, he picked up the bike and got to riding. During his first two mile ride he popped a spoke, so he took the bike back to the store to get the spoke fixed. The mechanics at the shop delivered the bad news that he'd have to wait a week. He said that wouldn't work, so he went ahead and bought a new bike. The next day the exact same thing happened, evoking the exact same reaction from Tom. One week and three bikes later, the pounds were beginning to come off. Within several months, Tom was no longer popping spokes because his weight was within his bike's load capacity. Today, Tom is under 300 pounds is an inspiration to many.
In addition to sharing his story, Tom provided some great insights for my upcoming ride. First, he suggested checking out the KATY trail, a C&O Canal-like crushed limestone path following the Missouri River for nearly 240 miles. He suggested that it would be a flatter, safer ride than Missouri's swath of route 66 which has a dubious reputation for hills and Hoosiers (a Hoosier is a redneck in Missouri). Then he shared the story of a young woman he knew who had a terrible time riding through Kansas. After countless miles of sun and crosswinds she broke down on the side of the ride where she was approached by an officer. She told the officer of her painstaking journey through the Great Plains. The officer looked at her and said, "Everyone cries in Kansas." So, in addition to the KATY trail I should be able to look forward to having a good cry in Kansas.
That night I retired in style, having Tom's RV all to myself.