Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Chariton to Ottumwa (76.9 miles, 3388 feet of climb)

My sister claims 111 miles this day. She and her husband did do the extra loop, but I'm not sure where the other 8-11 miles came from. I did NOT do the extra loop, but spent those hours rolling a little slower with my Dad which necessitated putting on suntan lotion so thick it was more of a covering than a lotion.
It was near the loop point, if I remember correctly, that a young woman gave a cop a bit of sass and he made a threatening bottom gesture with his traffic baton. That was the clincher for me. No loop is worth an erotic police spanking. To me. I'm fine if my sister and brother in law are of a different bent.

It stormed like crazy in Chariton while we were sleeping. Big cracks of thunder and flashes of lightning that made you question the wisdom of sleeping in a tent under a tree. About 5:15 a.m. my Dad announced, without leaving his tent, "Scott, I'm going to take a rain day." I responded, "We don't have to leave at 5:30. We can leave at 8:00. Just wait and see what the weather does." At 5:30 a.m., almost to the minute, the rain quit and blue skies rolled in.

Here are some evil, noisy bugs singing to me from the tree above my head. The one positive aspect of the thunderstorm is that it shut them up.

I had a strange dream while I was sleeping at Chariton. I dreamt I met a doctor of sun tan lotion application. He explained to me very carefully that was the context of his PhD. He proceeded to give me many lectures about appropriate sun tan lotion application, most of which involved a smooth, evenly applied, motion from left to right. Obviously I had some concern about the amount of sun I was getting.

A nice photo of the Confidence cemetery. It was Ingmar Bergman who made a movie about a bicyclist racing death on RAGBRAI. Hmm...given I saw a guy dying the last day, that loses some of its amusement. Still, a pretty picture.

I pulled up next to a kid from Maryland at one point and talked to him about the C&O Canal trail I rode in Maryland/D.C. last year. He stated that he rode it all the time. When I mentioned the water tasted worse the closer you got to D.C., his sister looked back over her shoulder and exclaimed, "You drank the canal water?!" I pointed out that I drank water from the pumps, so it came from beneath the canal, but she still looks horrified.

The Pterosail guy! We saw him last time. I think the wind was more in his favor this ride.

Fountainheads. They addressed each other as "Hey Fountainhead!" It did make them easy to spot in a crowd.

A co-worker! And his sister. More proof of my adage that no matter where I go, I will bump into someone I work with. He and I have ridden the MS150 together with the corporate team, and I can look up from my typing and see an MS150 neckerchief he signed.

A mid-sized to smallish hill. Just imagine doing this every mile or two.

Here's live hill action:

Near the free banana stop. John stopped to help a bicyclist with a flat tire here. The kid had a high end road bike and absolutely no knowledge of how to change a tire. He let John take it off, put on a new tube, put on the tire, and start to pump it. His contribution was to point out he thought the tube might still be pinched. I made John stop and give the tire back with instructions that the kid had seen the process and should make sure it suited his needs and borrow a pump from any one of a hundred people when he was finished, and that there might be a foot pump at the banana area. I have a rule that I never pump up someone else's tire on a ride as they'll blame me if it pinches and pops. You have to blow up your own tire and manage your own risk. Own the bike. Own the tubes. Own responsibility for popping. It'll keep you out of quite a bit of conflict.

Cannon in Blakesburg. I had to replace a spoke.

Then half a block later, I needed a second spoke. Two RAGBRAIs. Two catastrophic spoke failures. I had them replace the whole back wheel as it was cheaper than replacing any additional spokes. It was a good choice, as a broken spoke the next day would have killed me. Here's my poor bike up on the blocks. John took off ahead of me as it was the last rest town and I set out 30 minutes later to catch up with him. In front of me was this gigantic bank of storm clouds and a nasty head wind. There were raindrops and 60-degree temps on my face. Neck-burning heat and 85+ degree temps at my back. I met up with John in Ottumwa, and I was as dry as a bone, while he was dripping from head to toe. That's what he gets for abandoning me.

The Shower Shack in Ottumwa, decorated with my mother's favorite motif, rubber ducks. I bought her a vintage rubber duck at the end of the ride from an antique store. It never occurred to me that they'd make it through 30 years without molding out inside.

No comments: