|"2 Mitts" Burger Shack in Elkader Iowa was a treat on the GRTDI for 2014|
I figured that we made up about 45 minutes to an hour on time coming from Wadena. It was an up-lifter, because now we could lounge around and not be in such a hurry to get out of town to get in the final 48 miles. That doesn't sound like many miles, but these miles would by far be the hardest of the entire ride.
I was also stoked that I was able to continue to stay hydrated and not get hungry. The chips at Wadena and the chocolate milk actually worked well. Now it was time to sidle up to the tiny burger shack and order up some grub to chew on. "2 Mitts" is a funky joint made from a travel trailer and from its little enclosure comes boiled hamburgers, brats, or hotdogs with or without onions and cheese. Order up a bag of chips and a soda. That's the menu. It was told to me that 2 Mitts is a very popular joint there in Elkader, and by the looks of the line of folks that constantly were there waiting on some boiled goodness, it was probably a true statement.
I got a cheeseburger, no onions, and a root beer. (I still had a half a bag of chips from Wadena!) I set down at a shaded picnic table and chowed down. It was a perfect amount of food. Then a trip across the street to the convenience store, a much better stocked and modern one than Wadena's, and purchased some peanut butter crackers for later and a purple Gatorade along with a bottle of water. Topped off the fluids and I was ready to go.
|Ah...no! You cannot lick my ice cream cone, Jeremy! Michael Lemberger and Jeremy Fry behind 2 Mitts in Elkader.|
|Big views, more flowers, and heat. Just East of Elkader, Iowa.|
|Windmills for Paul Errington|
I am pretty familiar with this country having ridden it twice before and reconned through this area a few times for Trans Iowa and the GTDRI. I didn't need cue sheets! Plus, I knew what was coming. Hills were going to get steeper and the weather wasn't cooling off at all. In fact, even the wind went away. Probably a "worse case scenario" for me, but there was nothing I could do but pedal onward. So, that's what I did. It was slow going on some of the climbs because it was like single speeding with too tall a gear.
Grape Road, Harbor Road, and over toward Ironwood Road, (which is paved now, but wasn't in '09-'10), and the climbing was brutal on the Tamland. I handled it all okay, but it was slowly taking a toll on me. I could feel my core temp raising little by little, and with no breeze and full Sun, it was tough to cool down on anything but a 30+ mph down hill, which didn't last long enough! The country out this way was really "open" as well, which left no where to hide from the elements. It was also the highest elevation point on the ride, so we could see for miles away from the ridge tops.
The turn off to Ironwood Road was where we all stopped to gather up again. Then it was off on a bit of an easy stretch on pavement toward our first B Maintenance road of the day.
|Imperial Road. A nice steady climb through the trees to start out with.|
|The tamest section of Impala Road. I didn't dare take any images while descending the gnarly bits!|
|At the end of Impala Road we ran across the RAGBRAI route again.|
Impala Road starts out with a roller coaster down hill where you can easily reach speeds over 40 mph, then it goes right back up as steeply. The climb got me off the bike again since by now the heat and gradients were just too much for me and my bike's gearing. As I was walking along, pushing the bike, a Chevy Tahoe with a bike rack and bike on the rack stops up, rolls the window down, and the man inside says, "Well! You guys are the real Ironmen riding out here!"
I replied with, "Well, either that or we're complete idiots!" The guy then explains that he wants to drive his Tahoe down Impala Road to Garber. I tell him that while the road does indeed go to Garber, it would be a very bad idea to drive down it. That is because Impala Road turns into a legitimate DH course for several hundred yards. The rocks are big, the pitch is pretty steep, and there are ruts, sand, and mud in places. We picked our way carefully down at a snail's pace to avoid pinch flatting.
It eventually comes down to pass beside the Turkey River and levels out, but there were mud holes and washouts to get around as well. We passed an Amish buggy and saw the horse and driver in the river cooling off as we rode by. Then we got dumped out onto a chaotic scene- the RAGBRAI route was passing by on the black top we intersected at the end.
Tomorrow: The last installment of the GTDRI report, and the most bizarre thing that has ever happened on any ride I've been on will be discussed.