The day couldn't have been much more picturesque. It was Sunny with big puffy clouds and the sky was that blue color that can only be seen during the Fall here. Intense and deep, I would say. Only a stiff South wind was going to be a nuisance, but I wouldn't have to deal with that till towards the end of my ride. I had a new route that I wanted to try out. A circumnavigation of Cedar Falls by gravel. Only the Eastern end of the loop would be paved. I sat with a map, jotted down some quick cues, and I was out of the door by noon.
Someday I will have to figure out if I can do this around the entire metro area, but I know that route will run way over 100 miles, so I am going to have to wait on that for another time. This one was going to be longish, but I didn't sit around and figure up the mileage before I left. I just grabbed my cues and went for it.
|There were a lot of fields ripe for the picking.|
|There were some fields that had already been harvested.|
|There are not many of these old, gabled steel bridges left. This one is over the West Fork of the Cedar River.|
|Barns For Jason|
I was getting hungry, more so than my gels could satisfy, so a planned stop in Janesville was just what I was looking forward to. I crossed the Cedar River by way of a new pedestrian bridge and went straight up the following street to a convenience store to grab some grub.
|The new ped bridge across the Cedar in Janesville.|
I was really kicking up the dust by this time, and with my "food baby" on-board being digested, I tried to throttle it back to keep moving, but the wind was really working me. I ended up stopping to relieve myself by a tree near the roadside and took my sweet time doing so, to try and allow my guts to do their thing. Back on the bike, it was a struggle to go 12mph since the winds were so strong. I decided to go two miles South, then two miles East to ease the effort and break up my stints into the wind.
That worked pretty well, and I only had to stop once more to take a break. That stop was marked by an oversight by myself. I didn't scan the roadside before I plopped down. It wasn't long before I felt something amiss. Well, I looked down and I had sat myself on a few thistles! Okay.....now what!?
I managed to brush out the little stickers rather easily, which was quite a surprise. I was thankful for that! Next time I want to recline in the grass along the roadside, I might be a bit more observant! It might help prevent a bit of unpleasantness. The good thing about it all was that the extra bit of time it took to clear up all the thistle needles allowed my guts to catch up and I felt much better after remounting and heading off into the wind again. I still tacked the wind by zigzagging my way back home though, as I was really feeling the effort in my legs on this hot, dry, (for Iowa), and windy day.
It was good to get a look at the start of the harvest and ride one more time amongst the fields of corn and beans.