As we continued on from the devastation in Clutier, Iowa, we hit upon some gently rolling countryside. This was during a period of quite pleasant temperatures, and lowish humidity levels. It seemed odd, and several riders remarked at how pleasant it was. This, of course, wouldn't last, but more on that in a bit.
|Rolling Pleasantly Along (Yes- That's a Mukluk Back There!)|
|An example of what we saw too much of in Central Tama County|
|Hanging Out While "The Cookie Man" Fixed His Tire|
After this, we hit up on a long, snaking climb that would lead us to the "ridge road" that was to take us toward Toledo. For the most part, it stayed higher up, and missed all the valleys. This allowed for some spectacular views.
|Adam using his device. Tweeting I assume?|
|An Old Bridge Leading To Elberon|
|Hey! Matt On The All City Going The Wrong Way.|
|Views Of The Iowan Landscape Were Plentiful|
We waited for Adam and Matt to show up for quite a while, but finally I had to tell Stephen to relay a message if he saw them that we were heading on to Toledo. We would barely make it by noon.
|Another Convenience Store, Another Line Of Bicycles!|
I spoke to Matt, and he explained that he had peeled off to see how Adam was doing. They were together and had come down for the ride from Michigan. Well, Adam wasn't doing so hot. Cramps, dehydration, and fatigue were getting the best of him. He called in for a ride. Matt said he had come across Stephen waiting for his ride up the road, and that he had gotten the message that we were in Toledo.
So, we were down to 10 riders. We waited for Adam to scarf down a personal pizza and a drink, and we were off. This route out of town lead us to the shoulder of Highway 63 for a mile and a half. Well, there was some debris on that shoulder and it got Mike's Mukluk tire flat. I and a couple others were out front and missed this, so we had climbed up to the point where the zebra had been spotted, and then pulled up to wait. Well, there wasn't one zebra.........there were five!
|Curious Zebras Observing Strange Two Wheeled Travelers|
I was pretty much in survival mode for the next 25 miles. Fortunately, after the B Road, things flattened out for about 8 miles and I could put in a lower, steady effort. Ken was supportive to me at this time, falling back a couple of times to ask how I was doing. I was just way too hot.
|A Blazing Hot Day On The Bike (Image by Scott Ronken)|
The route then turned and entered the "Wolf Creek Walls" section I put in Trans Iowa V7's course this year. Brutal! In the midst of this section, I came up on the riders waiting for me again under a grove of trees, where I again just threw myself on the ground and rested as fast and hard as I could. At about this time, a discussion arose amongst the riders as to where a certain county park was I had mentioned that we could get water at. Matt on the Surly pointed out that we were not scheduled to go by this, as I had thought previously. (I had forgotten I changed up that part of the route) So, I called a vote. All in favor? The vote was unanimous! (Not surprisingly!) We would stop for water, and it was well received news. Many were getting low on supply.
Unfortunately, Matt on the All City was up the road. Waaaay up the road! No one had seen him for a bit. Uh oh! Guess he was doing the route as planned. Hopefully he didn't wait around for us, or end up without water!
Unusual blasts of cooler air were being felt from time to time now in the southerly cross winds by the riders. It was odd, but strangely refreshing when these would hit you. Hitting a patch of road shadowed by a cloud was worth what seemed like 10 degrees less heat. I don't know, but maybe I was overly sensitive to these things in my state of condition at that time. However; others remarked later they had felt it too.
|The Refreshing Oasis At T.F. Clark Co. Park|
|Everyone Checking Their Dratted Devices!|
We came upon a sign at the crossing of two gravel roads that said "Bridge Out Ahead" . We all stopped, and some dazed and confused minds tried to debate on what was to be done. As ride leader, I was just chuckling to myself, and thinking we should go and see what we would see, but I felt it wasn't going to go that way. Some riders were leaning towards hitting the pavement two miles to our east, and then going northwards two and a half miles to the camp. I didn't like the sounds of that, and apparently, Jeremy didn't either. He grew frustrated with the indecision, and announced he was going on. I saw everyone clip in to follow him, and smiled. I like the way that guy thinks! In the end, it turned out to be no big deal.
|The Bridge That Was "Out", But Wasn't.|
|We did scare out these wading cattle from under the bridge though!|
Several riders took their leave immediately, but Scott, Ken, Matt on the Surly, and Courtney and I sat around, had a beer, and chatted. Tim distributed his homemade cookies he did just for the event, and we all pronounced them quite edible. Then we each wandered off to get cleaned up, and most went on their respective ways home.
Matt on the Surly and I went out to "The Door", Iowa, and got some pizza. Then he crashed in his hammock, and I in my tent. The next day, Matt got up early to peddle home, and I broke camp the way I set it up. All on my own.
Until next time...................