Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Third day - Algona to Clear Lake

This was supposed to be an easy ride of only 59 miles so I got up early and set off at 6:57 in the morning. 65 miles later I arrived in Clear Lake listening for the music of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens but I was so exhausted I couldn't make out the tunes or vibes from the last concert before their plane crash that cold winter night in 1958 or 9.
It really wasn't such a tough ride geographically but wow did the temparature and the southerly wind take its toll.
Into Wesley we went only about 5 miles down the road. As usual the roads were so packed with riders we had to get off and walk our bikes. I walked to a french toast vendor run by a local charity and had a banana, french toast and sausage. The syrup was in ketchup plastic squeeze bottles. But here in Iowa they had fake butter! Unimageanable. Still it was good and I didn't use the butter.
Then back on the bike with a short stop on the way out to fill my water bottle and on the road I went to the next small town which, interestingly had absolutely no services. Wow did they miss an opportunity. These little towns generate incredible business for their churches, We came to Britt, Iowa next. It is the site of theannual Hobo Fextival. Britt is located next to the mainline of the railroad and for decades they have celebrated the railroad hobo with a festival, naming the "Hobo of the Year" annually. It really is a big deal around here so RAGBRAI offers them another celebration opprotunity. You could get your picture with the Hobo of the Year, meet Barney Fife and whatever the town drunk was in the Mayberry show and of course enjoy good food, fill your water bottles and stock up on gatorade. I walked and rode slowly through town and kept going because we were warned that it was going to get really hot. Wedid jog south for a bit and the head wind wasn't fun. Slowed to 11-12 mph into the wind from the 17-18 mph I'd been able to run.
The hills aren't large through this area, we only climbed a total of 1,000 feet for the day, but they do keep on coming just enough so you have to work all the time. Remember I can't get into my third ring, the faster ring on the front of the bike, so I pedal a little faster to maintain my speed.
We made it to Garner with about 25 miles to go. Elvis was singing at the town square. Politicians were handing out free water and after a short stop at the porta-potty with such a short line I couldn't resist, I pedalled on.
Now it is really hot and, if I had continued straight on the road I'd have been better off and in Clear Lake, but I really do follow the rules so when they said turn south for about 8 miles into the teeth of the wind, I did it. The road was smooth but the wind was difficult and the temperature was well over 90. I rumbled on and finally we made the left turn into a quartering wind. Got to tell you I was tired. About two miles down the road there was a farm with no services but a string of tall pine trees along the road. I couldn't resist and parked the bike with the proper "Biker Off" shout and went to the shade. I took my glasses and helmet off, laid my head on the helmet and fell sound asleep for a half hour. The biting flies woke me so off I went. We finally turned back north and had a tail wind so I picked the speed up but for 8 miles the c\racks in the road shoook me so much it took all the fun out of the ride in. Finally we got to Clear Lake, a beautiful town along a lake whose water is is said comes through the aquifer from Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. Our house is wonderful and shady. The shower is great and the hosts are terrific people. They had ice water, local beef jerky, local soy beans as snacks, cookies and some wonderful summer sausage with cranberries.
The owners and their friends had ended up on a cruise with the Rusty Wallace fan club and had spent some time with Rusty and Kenny Wallace. We had a good time talking.
It was sooo hot I can't describe it. This ride was more difficult than ysterday's 100 mile ride.
We think it might rain tonight and the wind is supposed to turn to the south so it should improve Btomorrow, I hope.
Besides, I meet Carmen Schacht for dinner and she promised me a rhubarb pie. We grew up together in Cedar Rapids so it will be an evening for reminscing.
I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

No comments: