Hey all! I hope you are having a great weekend! I decided that Saturday looked iffy, weatherwise, for a recon run so I went out Sunday instead. The winds were forcast to be out of a Northerly direction, which was favorable to me for the first leg. (More on that later)
I managed to hit the road around six thirty in the morning. It was rather cool with just a jersey on! I almost wished I had a wind breaker. Once I slipped the evil clutches of Waterloo, I found the gravel road I wanted and motored off. Shreds of morning fog hung in the valleys and there was a quiet peace about the land for awhile. When I stopped to see if I packed a pen in the back pack, (I didn't) I noticed that the fog was being ripped to pieces just above tree top level by a hurrying North West wind. I scowled and remounted the bike, thinking in the back of my mind that this didn't look so good.
I forgot about the wind for awhile as I rode quietly over the rollers south of Waterloo. I finally escaped Black Hawk County and turned East for a bit. Here I met the first salvos that Tama County would lob at me for most of the day. Hills that are steep up and steep down. It wasn't too much of a problem at first. I found a rhythm that carried me along just fine. I followed a road that shadowed Wolf Creek until I got to the first watering hole of Traer, a little over 30 miles in.
I stopped and watered up, and had a V-8 juice drink. Salty goodness! Speaking of salt, I consumed my first Salted Nut Roll in eons there. It's supposed to be the schiznit, and it seemed to do a trick for me.
I left Traer and headed south crossing Highway 63. I found a really cool "B" level maintenance road that was a blast to ride on. There was a really fast downhill section where I had a deer on the run in front of me. That was cool! Leaving the "B" road behind, I went south some more and I noticed that the hills were getting steeper and coming more often. Fast downhills gave me the momentum I needed to clear the top of the next hill. This was pretty fun!
There always comes a time when you have to pay the piper though, and today was no exception. After turning West, the hills got worse in that there was no rhythm to them any more. Grinding out the climbs was the order of the day. It was about then that my legs decided to play a dirty trick on me........
Right Leg: Hey, Lefty! Wanna play "Gates of Pain II"? I'm at level 12! The Curse of the Lactic Acid Queen.
Left Leg: Sure! I'm in. This cycling is boring me to tears! Always the same thing! Go around and around and around........
So, my legs go kaput right about mile 41. Great! I end up walking part of a heinously steep pitch. I went down the road to a "T" intersection, stopped, and sat down to eat, hydrate, and consult the map. By now the wind had picked up to around 15 to 20mph. The clouds were getting thicker and closer together. It was time to head home. I bagged about 45 miles of the Death Ride course, so that was cool. I packed up to go and face the wind.
And what a wind! It was one of those it never stops blowing kind of winds right at my face! This was going to be hard, but I had no idea how hard it really was going to be. I had about 15 miles of road that ran pretty much straight north to get me out of Tama County. I didn't think it would be so bad, but it was! Once I crossed Highway 63, things took a turn for the worse.
Have you ever been on a ride where you crested a hill, looked across the bucolic abyss before you and seen a wall? You know.....one of those earthen things with a ribbon painted down it's face that is supposed to be a road? Yeah......I saw about four of those today. My legs were screaming! I think I walked parts of all four of those, I can't remember..........the memories are repressed! Too much pain!
About the time that I reached the Tama/ Grundy County line, I noticed thunder and big black clouds. Fortunately, I missed out on that, but I did get nailed just about three miles west of Hudson by a downpour that lasted about five minutes. Oh well! I passed Hudson and scooted up the flat, wind protected bike trail. Ahh! A little shelter! Gimme a little shelter. And it'll be all right!......Sorry! I digress!
I thought I was home free when some dude on a department store bike stops me by waving his sausages at me. Oh wait! Those are fingers! On a hand! (Dang! I musta been hungry!) Anyway, he starts with the 96 questions about cycling and penile numbness and all sorts of gibberish! Wow! Where do they come from? I thought I might be bonking, but no........he was real all right! After politely answering all his cycling questions I pedalled the final seven miles home.
Stats: 80.3 miles. Time gone: 6:30am to 2:30 pm. Hills walked: approximately 5. Village Idiots: 1. Fluids consumed: 7 water bottles, one V-8, and three gel flasks. Nutrition: Petersen's Salted Nut Roll: 1, Power Gel: 2, Carb Boom gel: 1, Hammer Nutrition Organic Bar, in the yummy Almond Raisen flavor: 2, Various pills: Enduralytes and Ibuprofen, and last but not least, my trusty Elete electrolyte add in- getcher self sum!
Look for a course update on gtdri.blogspot.com soon and some pictures here tomorrow.