Monday, July 26, 2010

Day two - Storm Lake to Algona

This was a really fun day. The ride was not over especially difficult terrain although the last 10 miles were mostly uphill, but the length made it interesting. I decided to do the century today - that's 100 miles for the day - and the wind got stronger today from the south so it was a factor.
But the most interesting thing today was that Allison Foil and I connected about 33 miles. There are about 13,000 riders in this event. Allison is one of our Davie County Cycling Club riders from NC and is the only club member other than myself in the ride. We spoke by phone last night and I told her that I planned to wear our Davie Club jersey today and to look for me. Well, one wouldn't really expect her to be able to find me. We all leave to join the ride at different times, we ride at our own speed and we stop at towns and meal stops for various lengths of time.
I left at 7:10 this morning and rode with Jim from our group. We travelled with hundreds of other cyclists on the road headed for Varina, the firsty town some 16 miles down the road. We stopped briefly for watermelon just past Varina, electing not to stop in Varina because there was such a crush of people and long lines. After the melon, which served as our second breakfast after the juice and a bagel with cream cheese,we rode on and I increased my speed leaving Jim a little behind. The road was so flat or slightly downhill so I could easily manage a 16 to 20 mph average. The wind was negligible.
Pocohantas was the first sizeable city on the route and as I was slowing into the town I heard a voice shout "Hey Davie County -- Roger!" It was Allison. We rode the rest of the way together averaging 15.5 mph for the 100 mile trip. Allison, like me, wanted to take advantage of the interesting things along the way. We stopped for Ice Cream, PB&J with raisins and bananas, corn on the cob, pasta, visited with mechanics, grabbed beverages enroute and, best of all, toured the largest grotto in the world in West Bend. The grotto in West Bend is a remarkable structure that took more than 80 years to create. The structures covered with semi precious and interesting stones from around the world. The stations of the cross, the italian marble statues depicting Christ, the holy family in stone covered settings that are difficult to describe but are housed on roughly 2 acres of property. It was worth the ride.
We averaged 15.5 mph, rode about 6 hours of the total of 8.5 hours before arriving in Algona.
I missed the turn to our housing so wandered around the outskirts of Algona before I found someone who gave me directions to the home where we are staying. Big hills in and around Algona.
Lets talk about the ride situation. The wind picked up from the south during the day so we had a cross wind or head wind most of the time. It made the ride challenging at times.
I also had my gears and derailleurs worked on last night to correct a slight rub of the front derrailleur. Well, that $10 was not well spent. I could not get on the large ring (gear) on the front without a great deal of difficulty and if I could engage the ring, the derrailleur rubbed so much it created a racket. During the 20 mile "loop" those of us doing 100 miles instead of the posted 80 miles, we came across a mechanic who also worked on my gears and pronounced them fine. Wrong. So I think this is a larger problem than I can get handled on this ride. Guess I'll be riding with the first and second rings and forget the large ring so I need to get used to it. Its not a huge deal, but relaxing and going real fast are out of the question. Barbara will like that.
Did I tell you that one of the claims to fame Algona claims is that it is the home of the world's largest Cheeto? Seems someone in England opened a Cheeto bag and found a Cheeto larger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball. It was put up for auction and somehow the city began bidding. Some DeeJay in town took the ball and got it rolling. The bidding outpace the town's ability to pay getting up to a ridiculous $1,000,000 on EBay. Well, the Brit who owned it decided that Algona really needed the Cheeto so he awarded it to them for whatever and today it is housed in a bullet proof display case in town. I haven't seen it (likely won't) but it is a claim to fame.
Enroute we passed more wind farms with their giant blades turning on the horizon. These mammoths are really remarkable to see. There was more corn and soybeans than you could believe. In one area the corn stretched from horizon to horizon. That's a lot of corn.
Tomorrow we go toClear Lake , an Iowa town I've never seen. I'm told it is really beautiful and interesting. The route is only 8 miles and looks like it has rolling hills and is east west. It gets me one day closer to seeing childhood friend Carmen in Charles City who has promised me a rhubarb pie when we have dinner together.
The group I'm riding with is really interesting and we have shared stories about the college from the days I went to now. It really is nice to know this school has maintained its high standards as a liberal arts institution and, from what I can see, has moved to make things even better for the students than when I attended. It also costs $30,000+ a year vs. $2,000
Don't forget to help the Clemmons Food Pantry by sending a check to Clemmons Methodist Church, Clemmons, NC 27012 and note either Food Pantry or Roger's Ride on the check. You will help some very deserving people who volunteer to proved help to some other very deserving people.

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