Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day one - Sioux Falls to Storm Lake

We dipped our tire in the Missouri River on Saturday evening before going to an early sleep experience in the tent. I did pretty well in the tent and got up at 6, packed everything up and got my bike ready. I had a problem keeping my valve stem in the tube so finally got my tires up to pressure and set off about 7:20. Just an aside, if you rode RAGBRAI last year, this year's route is soooo much easier. There were hills of course but they weren't endless and only about four or five were more than 5 degrees of climb.
Stopped at the first town to get my valve stem tightened, then off I went. About 10 miles in I threw the chain and after getting it back on it gave me fits for the next 10 miles. Kept jumping gears which made it impossible to put much pressujre on pedals during the climbs. So my pace was much slower than I might have done. Got to Kingsley and spent an hour getting through the line to get it repaired. Discovered my chain was bent so replaced it. Filled my drink bottles and off I went. I promised Barbara I'd ride carefully this year so I slowed my pace from last year to about 13 mph and didnt fly downhills. I've also learned a lot about how to more effectively climb hills without tiring out and just spun my way up the hills without a lot of effort.
Met some interesting people on the ride, as you would expect. A violinist with the Cherokee Symphony was identified by his tee shirt. He said they were giving a free concert in Storm Lake so I said I'd go. I did, by the way, and the all volunteer group played to a standing room only crowd and it was lots of fun. Music was good and appropriate for the audience.
Talked to lots of other folks who commented on my Coe College riding clothes. The Coe group I'm riding with has neat clothes designed by the head of the art department, Peter Thompson. His paintings of farm yard scenes look great on the jersey and elicited a lot of conversation. There are 23 people on our group and they each have interesting personalities. More on them in the future.
The ride went through some really pretty Iowa scenery and this year I was committed to watching more of it rather than trying to "finish first". There are very large wind farms with huge windmills to generate electricity. One of the turbines was destroyed by lightning two nights earlier during the storms that swept through the state. Bet the insurance bill for that is high.
The streams were all still very full although they were receding.
It seemed like there were a significantly larger number of riders this year. We spent more time walking our bikes because of the large crowds at some of the more popular food stands along the road than I remember last year. We still have to get off and walk through the towns like last year though.
I ate very well as usual. Corn on the cob, rhubarb pie, pork sandwich all met the expectations of a trip through Iowa.
The weather was cool in the morning and hot in the afternoon. I arrived in Storm Lake at 3:30 and the team had barbecue pork sandwiches, watermelon, potato salad and chips for dinner.
It was a good day for a ride of 69 miles through the Iowa countryside. We are staying at a funeral home tonight after staying at a beautiful home last night that was more than a hundred years old. I showered and pitched my tent. Got my gears adjusted, attended the concert, enjoyed conversation with the team members and now I'm going to bed to get ready to ride to Algona tomorrow. Algona by the way is the home of the world's largest Chito. I think I might try to get a look at that when I arrive.
Talk to you tomorrow.

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