Friday, August 02, 2013

RAGBRAI XLI 2013 - Oskaloosa to Fairfield, 52 miles and 1,222 feet of climb

Day 6! Oskaloosa to Cedar to Fremont to Hedrick to Martinsburg to Packwood to Fairfield.

The last two days had small towns.  Even the meeting town was small.  No theater in the overnight town.  Instead we went to the local pizza place and had pizza, soft serve ice cream (at least I did - it came with the pizza, free access to the machine), and recharging.  We rounded it out with some shopping at the used book store and grabbing some air conditioning at the chocolate, cheesecake, and ice cream shop. Otherwise it was an early bedtime in one of the few shady sites we had during the ride, with a nice breeze, and the sound of the Spazmatics loudly playing until 10:30 p.m., even though they were 1.2 miles away.

It was a relaxing day, right down to a pretty pleasant shower with hot and cold water in the shower semi and a church that recharged our phones while providing free gatorade and popcorn.

I realized I missed two stories.  During the ride I was behind this guy who was listening to strange music I could only describe as elevator music.  Another rider passed me, pulled up next to him, and asked him about it.   The first rider explained it was a mixture of disco and synth.  So the second rider nodded his head in deep thought and offered that if he liked disco/synth, he'd probably like Flogging Molly. Flogging Molly is Celtic punk!  If you like the Dropkick Murphys, perhaps it's appropriate to say you'd like Flogging Molly.  But in no conceivable way are they related to disco/synth.  We listened to my Flogging Molly CD on the way down to the ride, so I know what I'm talking about.  The two sounded nothing alike.

Thursday there was a stop as we crossed a highway.  A couple of cops staffed the intersection and while Adam and I were there, they let some traffic through while accumulating a bundle of cyclists.  A peloton of cyclists?  A hub of cyclists?  Pick your own plural noun.  We waited, we waited, he slowly started to lift his hand, and one of the cyclists shot across the intersection all alone.  The cop shook his head, announced in his loudest, snarkiest, voice, "Sometimes I want to be first too," and waved the rest of us through.  There was a lot of chuckling.

Hedrick was the midway point and it was a little confusing as to whether you should go straight, or take the right.  We took the right, and it routed us past a community center that had a wonderful pie stop.  In my opinion, if it looks like there's a small loop at RAGBRAI that catches an odd part of the town, you should take it.  It's usually the difference between eating yet another smoothy and the traditional food stands, and a glorious piece of homemade pie.

This is one of the signs that you're going to get a very good piece of pie.

Lots of riders missed this stop so they didn't have to bike the extra five or six blocks.  Their loss.

Yum.  A more accurate picture would have showed the brat I ate sitting on top of my pie.  The other pieces of apple pie didn't look like this one.  They were definitely individually made and had different amounts of apple, sugar, and color to them.  One guy nearby asked for a particular kind of pie and a server disappeared for a few minutes and came back with a whole pie from the back room.

Fairfield.  They had a circus theme.  There were jugglers and gymnasts downtown culled from the local talent.

Some of the townsfolk built this amazing bicycle out of drainage pipe, pvc, and other items from the local hardware store.

I picked this up at the chocolate/ice cream shop.  I kept it so Erik H. can use it as inspiration for his next book.  I know he works hard on his blurbs.  To me this sounds sort of like a new age Doctor Who.  If you're 950 light years away, aren't you obviously in the future?  Why are they light years?  Because distance is involved as well as time?  Aren't they pretty much inter-related at that point?  Or is she 950 light years away AND in the future, just not necessarily 950 years in the future, given her mode of transportation and/or meditation techniques?

These two guys camped near us.  Adam's tent!  Pinky was right about the poles!  I noticed one of them hadn't set up earlier and, when I looked, it was obvious his poles were broken.  I offered them Adam's role of duct tape, but they had made due with other means, including stuffing a folding chair in the bottom of one tent to hold it up.  These pictures were from the next morning, so the guy with the folding chair had obviously kicked it over overnight.  I can't imagine that wasn't a bit wet with dew.

Overnight picture.  Six days of bicycling make Scooter go something something!

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