Arkadelphia to Hot Springs

April 30, 2010

Today was probably one of the shortest rides of the trip, but thanks to overcast clouds that progressed to a rainstorm, it was not a day that will soon be forgotten.

In spite of what you might think, however, it was a very enjoyable ride.  When we talked with people from Arkadelphia the night before, they kept telling us what a hilly ride it was between Arkadelphia and Hot Springs.  I used to loath hills, but now I’ll admit I actually enjoy some good incline.  First, you can usually see the top, so it’s nice to be able to track your progress, and peddle in a manner that will give you just enough energy to top the hill.  Second, hills end!  Unlike headwinds that can gusset you for hours on end, and still have plenty of punishment left to dish out, the hill has to stop somewhere.  Which leads us to the third point, thanks to Mr. Newton, we know that what goes up… will eventually come down.  Well that’s true for continental bicyclists as well as anything else, because eventually we return to sea level.  That means some sweet downhills.

I’m going to take you on a tangent for a moment and tell you about my bicycle computer….  So as I bike along, I have programmed my Garmin to display 5 different readings.  First, and most important is my cadence.  This takes up the whole upper half of my computer’s screen.  It’s basically like the tachometer of a car, but even more important because you want to be in the best possible gear to get the most power and efficiency out of your 2-thigh-powered engine.  I try to keep my cadence close to 90 rpm (it will often look lower on the average because of climbing hills, or starting from a light, etc.) The lower half of the screen is split into four boxes with my heart rate in the upper left, my speedometer in the upper right (second most important number), my distance in the lower left hand corner (actually more important than speed, because I use distance to help determine when things should be happening, such as “water stop at 75 miles” or “you should arrive after biking 86 miles”).  Max speed is in the lower left hand corner (usually not very important, but can be fun on big hills!)  I can also switch to the actual GPS screen, which is similar to the one in your car, and is great when you think you might be lost.  There is also an elevation profile, so when I need to see how much I’m actually climbing, I can do that too.

Enough of the commercial interruption, back to the ride!

The ride was beautiful with rolling hills, a couple of beautiful lakes and some very pleasant rural scenery.  Around mile 13, the skies started opening up, slowly at first, but by the time I got to Hot Springs, I was thoroughly drenched.  My rain jacket was completely water logged, and it felt as if I was bicycling inside of a shower.  I’m not sure I would have enjoyed riding a century in such conditions, but it was still a really fun day!

Once we got to the Baptist church we are currently staying at, we had lunch and then drove to historic downtown Hot Springs to have a look around and visit one of the bathhouses.  The Hot Springs is a National Park and a historic area of the country.  The minerals in the waters are said to have medicinal properties that had made this region a major tourist destination.  Our group ended up at the Quapaw bathhouse, which is owned by the US government, but operated by a third party vendor.  The bathhouse has four main pools of varying temperatures, and then some more private areas (I did not gain access to more exclusive areas of the bathhouse, and so I can only speculate as to what happens there).  After soaking warmth back into my body, and a wonderfully refreshing shower, I took to the streets to enjoy the culture of this eclectic little town, and then we headed back to the church where our hosts had an amazing barbecue dinner for us and two of the most amazing caked I have ever tasted (actually only tasted one, there is a limit… even when you bike all day!)

Tomorrow morning the church is making us a “Southern” breakfast, and if the weather is with us, we’ll be biking the 50 miles to Little Rock.

Until then, stay true, True Believer

Untitled by embricate at Garmin Connect – Details.


One Response to “Arkadelphia to Hot Springs”

  1. Mary Nyberg said

    Hi Andy,
    Love your blogs. What an experience you are having. Keep up the riding and the good writing.

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