Well the tune up ride went off without much drama. I've got some pics, but my computer and card reader are not getting along well today, so maybe some other time for that. Anyway, here's the story as far as I know it.........
Went to bed early on Friday night because of the travel and early start on Saturday at 6:00am. I woke up about 10:30pm all hot and sweaty. Checked my temperature. Nope! Normal. Wierd, but I felt fine otherwise. Got up at dark-thirty and saw that it had rained. Yikes! I check the radar and it shows clearing skies and a temperature of 52 F. That's good! I load up a cereal bowl and chow down before getting all the gear loaded up for the hour and fifteen minute trip down to Marengo. I saw one deer that I had to brake pretty hard for. She looked like she was going to try and goacross the road but changed her mind at the last minute. Whew! Always a worry this time in Iowa. Lots of critters getting smashed on the roads including deer. Glad I missed that one.
I got to Marengo a little early and I fumbled around in the dark with some of my gear. A police car cruises by taking a long slow look at me. Hmm...........I see Doose's Cafe is already open. Thought they didn't open until 6am? Well, the cops go in and at least they are satisfied that I am not a threat to national security. The sky is clear and a lone dog howls at the full moon. Perfect!
Later I see a truck pull up and a rider on a bike. It's a couple of Trans Iowa vets and a guy from Milwaukee showing up, then David Pals. Then Paul and Matt. Good sized group. We're all about to take off when I get a phone call. It's a couple more guys coming in a little late. We are waiting for 6:00am and right as we're about to pull out, the two late arrivals show, so we waited some more. I think we finally got off at about 6:30am. Hey! No worries. It's just a ride, ya know?
So, nine guys and enough blinking red lights to make you go crazy! Ha! Well, we attracted a lot of attention from hunters getting ready for their first day of pheasant hunting season to start. That explained Doose's early opening! We head out of town and right where I always see deer when I come to Marengo doesn't dissappoint. Deer! Running in the ditch and up over the dike. Could barely see them in the dark.
Heading north into the 15mph-20mph wind. We're drafting on the pavement, but still working hard. It's chilly and windy which is always harder than warm and windy, at least I think so. We hit the first gravel. Straight up! It's hard to tell what the gradient is or how far you have to go up in the dark. You just find a rhythm and go. Lots of hills to strt out with and we're not rolling real fast.
I'm not feeling too snappy, but then again I'm a slow starter, so I'm not worried at this point. The sun starts to rise and the terrain is discernable. I found myself at the back with David Pals on a section of pavement where I took some pics from the bike. Then we made it to the top of another long grinder to find the group waiting for us. I knew the next three miles would be killer hills. I was getting a bit worried as I didn't seem to be coming in, still sluggish. I ate something and that seemed to help. We get over the nasty hills and stopped again to regroup. I ate something again, as I was really hungry. Not a good sign!
We were working a pretty solid wind and everyone was grinding along at about 11-12mph, (according to my crap computer) and not much conversation was had. Finally we turned west for a long stretch. It was daylight, windy, and the temps had fallen into the low 40's. The hills were more like what I'm used to, but I just was getting worse with every mile. Finally, on a little rise that I wouldn't have normally noticed I find myself in the lowest gear in the middle ring, contemplating going into the granny ring. My legs are shot, and the group is dropping me like a bad habit.
They all stopped at an intersection where there was some confusion and I caught back on. I told David I was cooked and I was going back. That's the thing, I could have slogged on till I was completely unable to continue, but you are responsible for yourself on these gigs, so I had to pull the plug at a point where I knew I could make it back on my own.
Well, it's a good thing I did. Even with flat terrain, food in my belly from Belle Plain, and a tail wind, I still took as long to get back as I did to get to the point where I bailed out. I was stopping every two to three miles resting my legs, which were hurting like.........well, let's just say they've never hurt like that! I almost passed out once too, before I ate, so I think I was headed for bonkville and I may have a stinkin' cold on top of it. Whatever it is, it ended my day early.
I saw lots and lots of hunters on my way back and all of them looked surprised to see a biker out on the gravel. Hey! It's a multi use trail! Ha ha! Sounded like David and company all made it back okay too. Lot's of wind made their day hell too, but you'll have to look elsewhere for those details.
All in all, it was a very close approximation of Trans Iowa. It was tough, windy, and made you think a bit. Just what we wanted.