Friday, July 30, 2010

Grouchy day

The road to Manchester was lonesome for this cranky rider.
It happens every year. One day (at least) is my grouchy day. Although some might have a hard time distinguishing my bad moods from good, I do have them. To put it another way, sometimes I'm grouchier than others.

That was today as I ventured off from the pampered lifestyle offered by our Waterloo hosts into a rain storm. Though not nearly as bad as the hail ride of 2005, it wasn't long before I was wet and miserable. I took a long break at the Gilbertville Fire Department until it was evident that waiting out the rain was not a viable option. A few short miles later I happened by the Farm Boys location and opted to take advantage of my last opportunity for the official breakfast burrito of Team CoeBRAI. Filling up on coffee in an effort to get warm lasted until Farm Boys shut down and returned to wherever they are from, another RAGBRAI in the bag. But I was still 50 miles from Manchester and weather radar was not promising.

Just as the farmhouse occupant returned from taking another quitter to Manchester, he agreed to take me as well. Waiting for someone else to bail in order to make the drive worth his while bought time for the rain to let up and, ultimately, stop as the western sky turned light blue. When a unicyclist returned to the road, pride would not allow me to implement my exit strategy. It was a good thing too, as I never would have forgiven myself.

The wind increased as the weather improved, so I was no longer cold, but no less cranky. The absence of anything resembling a town for 27 miles between Gilbertville and Rowley only aggravated my funk. After a quick bite and a short nap on the edge of town, the route turned north through Quasqueton to Winthrop. Fueling for the final push to Manchester at the Winthrop Phillips 66, I lingered on a nice patch of grass on the shady side of the building. Fifteen miles later -- and 9-1/2 hours after the pedaling began -- I was in Manchester.

Our hosts -- Steve and Lila Geers -- rolled out a delicious picnic dinner (best burgers of the week, bar none). I opted to pass on the downtown activities so that I could prepare for Saturday's departure and because I wouldn't have been much for company.

Roger Bear '63, Judy Floy '77, David Moore '80 and Kaitlin Moore enjoy each other's company in Manchester.
Tomorrow takes us 47 miles to Dubuque by way of Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams. All Kohawks are welcome to join us on the descent to the Mississippi. We plan to gather at Clarke College at noon. I've made it this far on the big ring and hope to make it all the way, but Potter Hill just outside of Graf may end that silly notion.

Whether or not my granny gear comes into play remains to be seen, but I'm glad to have my grouchy day behind me. In 2010, at least, the good far out numbers the bad.

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