May 3: "Dangerous Curve"
After Pea Ridge, many cyclists try to catch up or reconnect with other riders after the carnage that comes with "chain-drop hill." One of the most dangerous aspects of any ride comes from over-extended riders and cyclists moving at different speeds (riders behind coming up on a group they are chasing, for example). To add danger, just before the course comes to Hwys 64/74 (where we turn left and head to Bills Mt.), you will be warned on a fast downhill section of an abrupt right hand curve. This is not an exaggeration--especially for a large pack of riders. Riders need to slow well before the curve and maintain a consistent line through the curve. Just after the curve and right before the stop sign, riders come across another bridge that has been rough in the past, resulting in water bottles being ejected and jeopardizing everyone around.
(NOTE: Water bottles are really a dangerous aspect of the Assaults. Many riders carry extra bottles in order to avoid stopping, but water bottles carried in the triathlon-style holders behind the saddle are rarely effective and often dangerous. Riders should carry extra bottles in their jersey pockets instead. As well, all cyclists should have good bottle cages--tighten cage screws as well--and should take care over rough sections of road, such as bridge transitions.)
Paul Thomas, EdD, Associate Professor