Riding the route: Cape Girardeau bicycle group previews Tour of Missouri Stage 2 route

Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Velo Girardeau cyclists began their tour of Missouri, Sunday, in Altenburg, and ended the 41.5 mile journey in front of Hutson's Furniture in Downtown Cape Girardeau. (Laura Simon)

Stephanie Fridley usually bikes from her house in Jackson to get a workout. Sunday, her husband dropped her off at the East Perry County Fairgrounds so she could ride 42 miles of the Tour of Missouri route.

A cyclist for six years, she said the route is similar to her typical rides, but included new scenery.

"There's some roads I've never ridden before," said Fridley, a music teacher in Jackson.

Fridley was one of the cyclists dotting the Southeast Missouri countryside Sunday as they took a test ride of the second stage of the race.

More than 80 cyclists participated in Velo Girardeau Bicycle Club's Ride the Route. The ride attracted cyclists from as far away as Kalamazoo, Mich., and Dallas, said club president Chris Moore.

"It's something that's taking us a whole day that the Tour of Missouri is going to do in about five hours," Moore said.

About 30 riders started in Ste. Genevieve at 7:30 a.m. to ride the full 112 miles of the second stage of the Tour of Missouri. About 50 riders started around 1:15 p.m. in Altenburg.

He said the club rides usually draw about 10 to 12 cyclists in comparison to more than 80 on Sunday.

"For people who like to ride, it's fun to ride the route the professionals ride," he said.

Cycle Werx and Cape Bicycle and Fitness provided four support and gear vehicles for the ride, two for each group of cyclists. The vehicles carried repair supplies including tires, seats and tools.

Moore said the benefit of having organized rides is the security of traveling together.

"If you're not a seasoned rider, it can be a little intimidating when you're out there by yourself," he said.

For Nathan Mowery, it was his first organized ride and the longest he has ridden at one time.

He said he started riding out of necessity about a month ago because he lost his driver's license.

After riding from Fruitland to Cape Girardeau for work, about 200 miles a week, he said he started to like the sport.

"I like everything you see that you don't get to see in a car," he said.

His father, Walter Mowery, said he started riding about five years ago to reduce his blood pressure.

He said he rides about 50 miles a week.

At 59, he said he now has the blood pressure of a 25-year-old.

"As much as it's good for your heart, it's good for your head," he said of the sport.

He said he has noticed more bike traffic in recent months, which he attributes to the upcoming race.

"I think it's the best thing that's happened to Cape," he said.

For Sunday's ride, Walter said he was not looking forward to the hills on Route Y and County Road 607. In all, he said the route would take them about three and a half hours.

"I told him not to run off and leave me," he said of his son. "I've got to have someone to draft behind."

abusch@semissourian.com

388-3627

Pertinent address:

Altenburg, MO

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