|New Rack at the depot in Redfield|
So we picked the hottest day of the year to do our longest ride of the year. I am sure we have ridden in worse and for longer but not in the month of May and certainly not with so few long miles under our padded cycling shorts. It seems every time that we attempted even a 40 mile ride we have to abort. Rain, flat tires and no time.
It was Craig's idea. He suggested that we make another ride to Redfield for the breakfast at the Legion Hall. read about it here Then he combined this as a Ragbrai training ride. He and Kim rode loaded touring bikes with the intention of test new equipment when they camped out in Perry. Breakfast sounds good but we have too much going on to make 2 days out of it. We took road bikes. Escorts if you will. Motivators. I tend to have better workouts on a fast roadie than a touring rig. The reward for effort is sweeter. That and the state of our touring bikes is bad. Mary's needs new brake pads and its winter wheelset (studded tires) need to be swapped out. Mine still has the heavy Continental touring tire replacement on front from the near disastrous tire ruining sidewall slash on last years Ragbrai. As I tell people, we train on our touring bikes the day we leave for our version of Ragbrai. Usually those bikes are not running until the night before!
We were to meet at Colby Park at 530 am. More like 6 am for a number of reasons. Mary and I had to stop downtown for cash at our respective ATMs so we took Ingersoll Ave so we could look at the new "protected" bike lane at the intersection of MLK. Radar gun visible on the pole but it did not detect us and trip the light. Mary had to push the crossing button. Ingersoll Ave has some construction on it overflowing onto the bike lane. I doubt I will ride on this road beyond Zzz Records.
We met up with Craig and Kim we rolled on to the Clive Greenbelt but got off after 86th street and took University Ave as our detour. A major section of the Greenbelt is being resurfaced this summer and the official detour is not my favorite. University Ave is empty this early in the morning especially on a Saturday. My took a right on NW 114th to return to the trail and take a look at the work. The old trail has been removed and a new trail is ready to be paved/built next to it a further north of Walnut Creek. We should not have turned at the swimming pool but continued to 114th but then again it was interesting to look at the trail work.
The sprawling suburb known as Waukee was the next trap of detours. New entrances for businesses are being constructed and trail users are forced to go around them on gravel. Some of this looks loose and dangerous. None of us fell and we regrouped at the trailhead. Here we saw a lot of automobiles in the parking lot with bike racks. We did encounter many bikes heading east.
Now the difference between bicycle types started to show. We were starting to run out of time and had to haul ass to make it to the Legion int time for breakfast. Now Mary and could hammer it out and get there with lots of time to spare but Craig and Kim would be left behind. We found a moderate speed to keep them up with us and we regrouped at the depot in Redfield with time to spare although the people at the Legion would be wiping the table in front and around us and asking us to take our coffee mugs to the kitchen when we left. Our group and one senior cyclist were the last bikers to arrive. A group of cyclists were leaving when we pulled in and they said as a joke that the Legion was out of food.
|Craig and Kim arriving in Redfield|
As for the breakfast, all you can eat for $7. I had 2 biscuits, two sausage patties and two over easy eggs and 1 blueberry pancake. 3 cups of coffee. it was going to be a long day.
Next stop Linden, the high point of the trail. Never did see that sign but we met up in the shelter and watched at least 50 antique tractors drive by on their way to parade or something. that was really cool. Something one only sees in rural America.
|One of many...|
|Could my non-North American readers let me know in the comment section if things like this occur there or is petrol something not to be squandered?|
Panora was the vortex. The stop at the Owl's Nest was long. I only agreed to stop there if Craig would agree to do a Busch Light Trifecta. What is a Busch Light Trifecta you ask? Beer comes in 3 forms--bottle, can and draft. Order one each of the all three forms at once and drink them. New rule, consume them in alphabetical order. Why Busch Light? It is light beer and close to water. Also, hard to find an establishment that has all three forms of Busch Light. I think I have only found 3 or 4 places that do. This was the first time we did this together.
|Busch Light Trifecta|
|Busch Light Trifecta Complete. Nice of Craig to join me in this.|
But before we could leave town and complete our mission we had to stop at The Port on the north side of Panora. The Tiki Bar was the place. Unfortunately, The Port is on the other side of the road from the trail but there is a gravel driveway on the border of the church and someone's house that we took from the trail and this saved us a lot of time from riding on the highway. I had two Stiegl Radlers, low in alcohol and tasty. Then it was time to get serious.
|From safety to where? The Tiki Bar at The Port, Panora, Iowa.|
|My last can of liquid refreshment.|
Time to work. We were 46 miles into the ride. 54 miles for the century mark and another 10 or 11 to get home. The wind was from the north west and we were heading north for 12 miles until the right turn and favorable wind. The heat of the day was hitting hard now and we were about to enter god's Anvil. Many years ago Mary and I took two sons on this journey leaving Panora at 3 pm on a very hot day with Jefferson the overnight stop. But leaving Perry we had to stop in the shade and let the sun and heat fade a bit or else we would die. Find shade and rest and wait. Our son, Quin, brought this story up yesterday. burned into our memory... Today, similar situation but instead of 24 miles we had at least 64 miles to go. Only advantage, fast bikes and no children to worry about. So I put my head down and hammered. Somehow I could keep it up to 16 mph knowing that in 6 miles we would be at the shady park in Yale with a cold water fountain and benches. Focus on that. 6 miles is not that far even on a hot day. reward at the end. This was a sobering 6 miles. Something may break but it would not be me.
|Old trikes never die...they become art or decorations. Shelter outside Panora.|
|Another "yard bike" decorative art at the shelter north of Panora.|
That water never felt so cold. I drank about two bottles worth. Mary did too and ate a PowerBar. Our next stop would be 12 miles later in Dawson at the depot. We would be able to get COLD water there and rest in the shade. But first, another 5 miles straight into the wind. Hammer it out and ignore the pain that the desire to call for the airstrike. My children can barely find me in west Des Moines let alone Jamaica, Iowa. Speaking of which, the new bar in Jamaica is located right off the trail and was packed with bicycles. This would be the pattern. Places packed with bikes but no one on the trail.
There were, however, people on the trail. A pink and a yellow shirt could be seen miles ahead of us. But I had to beat them to the restroom first because my plumbing was about to burst. Motivation found in the most primitive needs. So I threw more coals into the fire and caught up and passed them. Judging by the size of the dude in yellow, I would want to be the first one to use the restroom. Put a half mile lead on them. Then vapor lock. No go. But cold water and paper towels to lower my core temperature and some cold refrigerated water. After discussing this moment yesterday we decided that we should have poured a bottle of that cold water over our heads. I reached for a Powerbar but then remembered that I gave my last one to Kim at the Tiki bar. Oh well, I've plenty of fat to convert to energy. Our new friends, Pinkie and Yellow, were drinking soda. It was 96*F. More water for us but then they thankfully filled their bottles. Don't know where they were heading but we later saw them rolling out of Perry while we had our last meal stop.
So 6 miles later we stopped at the Kum & Go in Perry. Bottle water, banana, apple and a sandwich and a bag to carry it to a picnic table up ahead on the trail. That would be it for food. I had thought about getting the 10 for $10 taco special at Taco John's in Waukee but not only would it be garbage food it would be either deadly or wasteful. Mary would have 2 and I'd probably eat 4 or five and then suffer a ride crippling gut disaster and/or an unexpected BM in my shorts. Eat light more often. I've been dropping weight lately namely be viewing food as poison and focusing on better nonpoisonous food or less poisonous food. Delay the 10 for $10 until we get home. Speaking of which, we had to get home at best possible time. I only had prescription sunglasses on. Darkness was a real threat.
Mary notices the electronic sign at the car wash and comments. 101*F. I take a photo then consult the Google. Only 96*F. I swear it does not feel like a degree over 97*F.
7 miles to Minburn. One of those M towns on a trail or bike route. Mingo, Milo, Menlo...When the brain is on oxygen debt I forget the name of the M town I am approaching. A chalk sign reads "free keg at the Lunch Box." Mary comments. I have had enough beer for the month and am running out of daylight. The establishment, Nineteen 14, in the old depot is packed with bicycles and riders but no one is on the trail. We roll on to Dallas Center another 6 miles away. Here we stop to rest.
Once again, the bar is packed with bicycles. Well, there are several bikes in back and out front. We rest at the water fountain across the street. New restroom built instead of kybos but still hot as hell inside. New water fountain too. The type that fills bottles. I think of places in the world where there are water shortages and think that here fat bastards like me doing jack squat can have their fill. I dump the now warm Dawson water out and refill and drink it and refill again grateful that I live in Iowa. We talk to a couple with matching LHTs. Left their bags at home. When they hear of our long ride they marvel. Really, anyone can do this just takes time and the right bicycle. I want to take my shoes and socks off. My toes on my left foot are messed up in the sock. But I do not get around to this. 6 miles to Waukee. 11 miles to the Greenbelt. 14+/- miles to home after that. Think about the detour around the Greenbelt.
As we are leaving Dallas Center we hear "on your left." Wow, first time today. He did give plenty of warning and I am able to get in front for single file riding and he is gone. We are at 85 miles for the day at that moment. I do not have the strength to catch him. He turned around at the memorial for the 'bent rider.
Once past Waukee I make the decision on how to get around the closed section of the trail. Take my old commute. Turn off the trail, at 128th and take Westown Pkwy to Twisted Vine Brew Pub and a left to cross University, go behind Pier 1 Imports and hop back on the trail at Cool Basil. Trail the rest of the way. Easy peasey. Turn on lights. Home before it was truly, truly dark. Phone still had battery life at 31% without charging it. Amazing since I took photos, text, Google Maps, FaceBook, Gmail ect, ect.
110.7. Just missed my 111 guesstimate. Great ride with Mary and great friends. I rode strong especially during the last 64 miles in adverse conditions. Impressed myself. I've come a long way since that Friday afternoon I could barely walk or ride. Centuries, bitch, centuries!~ Skipped dinner and drank a glass of water to swallow my drugs. Shower and step on the scales. I weighed myself before leaving and now I am 5 lbs lighter. Yes, I am aware, it was water weight but still....