Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roger's ride on Thursday, July 29 - Charles City to Waterloo

On Thursday we rode from Charles City to Waterloo, a distance of about 88 miles the way we were routed. Waterloo is generally south southeast from Chucktown and the day was spectacular for bike riding.
The penultimate stop of the day was scheduled to be the small town of Dike. This town is very special to Barbara and me. It is the childhood home of one of our favorite former coworkers: Alicia Hansen Burdick. Alicia’s mother and father are Curt and Alice and I told them I’d stop by on the bike ride and that I’d be there about noon. Curt is a former race car driver who I’ve known for 4 decades. We are both members of the Hawkeye Downs “Wall of Fame” of the speedway in my hometown of Cedar Rapids.
The budget folks delivered our new truck at about 11 pm and it is a nice one that should serve us well for the remainder of the trip.
As I slept in my tent last night someone set of their car alarm not once but twice. Must have been about 3 AM, so I slept before and after that but not quite as well afterwards. I woke up at 5 and got ready to leave which I did just before 6 knowing I’d probably be in Dike before my scheduled time. I’d figure out how to handle that enroute but couldn’t call the Hansen’s because Verizon’s service is really spotty in this part of northern Iowa. So away I rode, the second person in the group to leave Charles City.
The road the RAGBRAI organizers sent us on was newly paved and very smooth. I felt like every pedal stroke I made moved me forward by using 100% of the energy I put into the stroke without any loss from bumps or from dodging cracks in the pavement. I was averaging 20 mph for the first10 to 12 miles until we left the county and got onto less perfect roads although they still were plenty smooth. Overall these roads for the first 40 miles of the ride were the smoothest of the entire 300 miles of our journey so far.
Doug and Ron joined me on the road and we clipped along quickly to the first town where we stopped for breakfast of scrambled eggs with French toast, cinnamon, whipped cream and cherries. While we ate four other team members joined us and we watched the crowd of riders walk through town, checking for characters. Saw my first guy with a thong and bike shoes, that’s all. Not sure I’d do that. It can’t be comfortable to ride clothed like that and besides I’m not sure thongs are becoming to me. He sure lit up the cameras in the crowd though so if he was seeking attention (surprise) he got it.
20 miles later we arrived in Parkersburg, a town in Iowa that has had its share of tragedy in the past two years. On May 28, 2008 an EF5 tornado struck the town, leveling half of the village and killing 7 people. Then last year their popular and nationally known high school football coach was killed by a former student and son of the coaches family friends. It was a tragedy that was documented nationally and also affected this small town.
I think RAGBRAI made special effort to go through this town this year. The town absolutely turned out for the event with statues made of discarded bike parts, great food stands, flags and music to entertain us. Then as we rode out of town we climbed a hill and entered the devastated portion of the town. Not a tree in site, no original buildings at all, and every home and business there was newly built. The families sat in their front yards greeting us and I was impressed how beautifully the homes were landscaped and the fresh appearance of this part of town, the half that was completely destroyed. As we rode east and then south I could easily see the path of this tornadic monster by the complete lack of trees. Curt Hansen told me later that when he went to help he saw big trees with nothing but the trunk of the tree standing, no limbs, no bark, nothing – all torn off by the twister.
I stalled for some time in Parkersburg before riding off so I didn’t arrive too early in Dike. I called Barb to see if she was going to meet me in Dike to ride to Waterloo and found out she had food poisoning from dinner the night before and couldn’t make the trip today. I windowshopped and strolled through the town before enjoying some water and a frozen fruit cup offered by students from a nearby school. I walked back to my bike and headed south.
We rode through Stout where there was more food although I didn’t stop because I figured Alice would have something. The temperature had begun to rise a little bit and the wind picked up ever so slightly from the South Southeast so occasionally I had a headwind, but it was inconsequential. The terrain was rolling all day with little flat area, mostly either uphill or down. There were times it looked like the rolling hills of a Grant Wood painting.
I was able to easily keep up a good pace and carried a 16 mph or more average all the way to Dike where I asked a Deputy Sheriff where Curt and Alice lived. He directed me to the house and I rolled up about noon. Curt was watching for me and took me inside to see their wonderful house where Alicia and Bobby Hansen grew up. Curt remodeled it a few years ago and Alice and Alicia designed a trophy room to display his considerable collection of winner’s trophies and memorabilia. It is beautifully done.
And surprise Alice made a rhubarb pie. Who would have guessed! She also made Danish coffee which I hadn’t enjoyed in years. It is made with by putting an egg in the water along with the grounds, altogether in the pot, and boiled. Then you strain out the grounds and the coffee is smooth and delicious. We also had some fresh lemonade. But mostly we talked about the memories we have and about our children and our plans for the future. Curt was interested in the mechanics of the bike so afterwards we went outside and I showed him how it all worked. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him take on RAGBRAI some day. I’d love to have him ride with me.
After about an hour and a half off I went for the final run to Waterloo. We went through Hudson before heading into Waterloo and I stopped for a pork burger. The town was themed as a pirate town in honor of their high school athletic teams, the Pirates. They had a pirate ship as we entered town with lots of folks dressed the part and saying, “Arrrgh”.
Then on to Waterloo where our group directions called for us to turn off the route onto a gravel road enroute to our overnight home. I and nearly all the others elected to find a different way to get there. In my case I rode to the end of the route (82 miles) and kept on going past the water park and the casino until I came to a street with a name I recognized. A quick stop at the fire station gave me the directions to the house and I arrived with an 88 mile ride at 16 mph average.
They have a swimming pool! It didn’t take me long to get into my trunks and into the pool followed by a stop in the hot tub with the jets wide open making my tired muscles feel so much better. They served us a wonderful dinner of ribs, lasagna, fruit, salads and desert
This ride was entirely enjoyable, not too strenuous, and decently interesting. It looks like my phone is working better now so I’ll make use of it before I go to bed to get some sleep. It is on to Manchester tomorrow where we hope we won’t have problems with the floods of last weekend.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.On Thursday we rode from Charles City to Waterloo, a distance of about 88 miles the way we were routed. Waterloo is generally south southeast from Chucktown and the day was spectacular for bike riding.
The penultimate stop of the day was scheduled to be the small town of Dike. This town is very special to Barbara and me. It is the childhood home of one of our favorite former coworkers: Alicia Hansen Burdick. Alicia’s mother and father are Curt and Alice and I told them I’d stop by on the bike ride and that I’d be there about noon. Curt is a former race car driver who I’ve known for 4 decades. We are both members of the Hawkeye Downs “Wall of Fame” of the speedway in my hometown of Cedar Rapids.
The budget folks delivered our new truck at about 11 pm and it is a nice one that should serve us well for the remainder of the trip.
As I slept in my tent last night someone set of their car alarm not once but twice. Must have been about 3 AM, so I slept before and after that but not quite as well afterwards. I woke up at 5 and got ready to leave which I did just before 6 knowing I’d probably be in Dike before my scheduled time. I’d figure out how to handle that enroute but couldn’t call the Hansen’s because Verizon’s service is really spotty in this part of northern Iowa. So away I rode, the second person in the group to leave Charles City.
The road the RAGBRAI organizers sent us on was newly paved and very smooth. I felt like every pedal stroke I made moved me forward by using 100% of the energy I put into the stroke without any loss from bumps or from dodging cracks in the pavement. I was averaging 20 mph for the first10 to 12 miles until we left the county and got onto less perfect roads although they still were plenty smooth. Overall these roads for the first 40 miles of the ride were the smoothest of the entire 300 miles of our journey so far.
Doug and Ron joined me on the road and we clipped along quickly to the first town where we stopped for breakfast of scrambled eggs with French toast, cinnamon, whipped cream and cherries. While we ate four other team members joined us and we watched the crowd of riders walk through town, checking for characters. Saw my first guy with a thong and bike shoes, that’s all. Not sure I’d do that. It can’t be comfortable to ride clothed like that and besides I’m not sure thongs are becoming to me. He sure lit up the cameras in the crowd though so if he was seeking attention (surprise) he got it.
20 miles later we arrived in Parkersburg, a town in Iowa that has had its share of tragedy in the past two years. On May 28, 2008 an EF5 tornado struck the town, leveling half of the village and killing 7 people. Then last year their popular and nationally known high school football coach was killed by a former student and son of the coaches family friends. It was a tragedy that was documented nationally and also affected this small town.
I think RAGBRAI made special effort to go through this town this year. The town absolutely turned out for the event with statues made of discarded bike parts, great food stands, flags and music to entertain us. Then as we rode out of town we climbed a hill and entered the devastated portion of the town. Not a tree in site, no original buildings at all, and every home and business there was newly built. The families sat in their front yards greeting us and I was impressed how beautifully the homes were landscaped and the fresh appearance of this part of town, the half that was completely destroyed. As we rode east and then south I could easily see the path of this tornadic monster by the complete lack of trees. Curt Hansen told me later that when he went to help he saw big trees with nothing but the trunk of the tree standing, no limbs, no bark, nothing – all torn off by the twister.
I stalled for some time in Parkersburg before riding off so I didn’t arrive too early in Dike. I called Barb to see if she was going to meet me in Dike to ride to Waterloo and found out she had food poisoning from dinner the night before and couldn’t make the trip today. I windowshopped and strolled through the town before enjoying some water and a frozen fruit cup offered by students from a nearby school. I walked back to my bike and headed south.
We rode through Stout where there was more food although I didn’t stop because I figured Alice would have something. The temperature had begun to rise a little bit and the wind picked up ever so slightly from the South Southeast so occasionally I had a headwind, but it was inconsequential. The terrain was rolling all day with little flat area, mostly either uphill or down. There were times it looked like the rolling hills of a Grant Wood painting.
I was able to easily keep up a good pace and carried a 16 mph or more average all the way to Dike where I asked a Deputy Sheriff where Curt and Alice lived. He directed me to the house and I rolled up about noon. Curt was watching for me and took me inside to see their wonderful house where Alicia and Bobby Hansen grew up. Curt remodeled it a few years ago and Alice and Alicia designed a trophy room to display his considerable collection of winner’s trophies and memorabilia. It is beautifully done.
And surprise Alice made a rhubarb pie. Who would have guessed! She also made Danish coffee which I hadn’t enjoyed in years. It is made with by putting an egg in the water along with the grounds, altogether in the pot, and boiled. Then you strain out the grounds and the coffee is smooth and delicious. We also had some fresh lemonade. But mostly we talked about the memories we have and about our children and our plans for the future. Curt was interested in the mechanics of the bike so afterwards we went outside and I showed him how it all worked. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him take on RAGBRAI some day. I’d love to have him ride with me.
After about an hour and a half off I went for the final run to Waterloo. We went through Hudson before heading into Waterloo and I stopped for a pork burger. The town was themed as a pirate town in honor of their high school athletic teams, the Pirates. They had a pirate ship as we entered town with lots of folks dressed the part and saying, “Arrrgh”.
Then on to Waterloo where our group directions called for us to turn off the route onto a gravel road enroute to our overnight home. I and nearly all the others elected to find a different way to get there. In my case I rode to the end of the route (82 miles) and kept on going past the water park and the casino until I came to a street with a name I recognized. A quick stop at the fire station gave me the directions to the house and I arrived with an 88 mile ride at 16 mph average.
They have a swimming pool! It didn’t take me long to get into my trunks and into the pool followed by a stop in the hot tub with the jets wide open making my tired muscles feel so much better. They served us a wonderful dinner of ribs, lasagna, fruit, salads and desert
This ride was entirely enjoyable, not too strenuous, and decently interesting. It looks like my phone is working better now so I’ll make use of it before I go to bed to get some sleep. It is on to Manchester tomorrow where we hope we won’t have problems with the floods of last weekend.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.

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