Friday, July 24, 2009
Toughest day yet
A fair dose of hills, our first dose of heat and a painful stretch of headwinds made Friday's ride to Mount Pleasant a challenge. Personally, I prefer it hot, so that was a welcome change. And it hasn't rained today -- knock on wood.
I started out with Doug and Eddie, but lost them both quickly. I seem to have rubber legs in the morning and can't get going until I've had a good breakfast. Today, it was one last Farm Boys breakfast burrito, where I jumped in line with Doug and shaved minutes off my waiting time.
As we turned into the headwinds near Pekin, I lost Doug and rode alone from there, rarely even seeing any teammates along the way. Many of them were in Mount Pleasant already when I arrived, so I had to surrender the yellow jacket. It's tough to finish first when your competition doesn't have to ride an extra 30 miles.
The ride from Ottumwa to Brighton was flat and fast. Brighton to Mount Pleasant offered heat, hills and headwind. If it had also been humid, we'd have hit the jackpot. Some riders witnessed accidents, including a biker riding into a farm grader!
We're all sore, but safe and anticipating completing this adventure tomorrow in Burlington.
We're being hosted tonight by Bitrus and Olabisi Gwamna, who are both on the faculty at Iowa Wesleyan. Their son, Duroje, will be a Coe senior next year. Another son, Zoom, is celebrating his birthday with 40 strangers in his yard.
We were rewarded for our efforts with an amazing meal our hostess spent the day preparing and hotel quality water pressure for showering. Today we also said good by to newly crowned century rider and unofficial CoeBRAI mascot Bob Untiedt. After taking Wednesday off, Bob completed his century Thursday and deemed his mission complete.
For the rest of us, that comes tomorrow when we dip into the Mississippi.