I'm so glad that's over with. Yikes. That was the longest ride I have done since the 102 on day three of 2011 RAGBRAI 2 years ago.
At one point or another all 4 H's appeared. The humidity was always there. The hills were there for the first 3/4. The heat was there for the last half. The headwind was there when the hills finally showed mercy and laid down. At least the headwinds were only for about 5 miles.
The day started off really really foggy. When the air splats against you, it's humid!
The first town was Kimballton. This is where you had to decide if you were doing 83 or 107 miles. As I said yesterday, I didn't give that 107 option a thought. I ate breakfast and headed the 83 direction. Good move on my part. 107 would have wrecked me.
What else?? Oh yeah, the hills. These were different than the hills the first few days of 2011. Those were relatively short 6-8% graded hills. Many of these were more of the 3-5% grade, but a mile or longer. I did hit 40.0 on one downhill, even though Strava says it was only 39.8. Even the halfway town of Guthrie Center had a radar gun/sign at the bottom of the hill into town. I only saw 34 on that.
There was one hill that stood out, near Springbrook State Park. 10%+ grade. Long. 85% of the people were walking it. I toughed it out, but wow it was tough. I think at one point I was down to 5 mph. Ouchie.
As the day went on the heat really turned on. As a result, the traffic jam at the beginning of today really thinned out. When that happens, and I get tired, hot, achy... it gets kinda lonely out there. There's good stretches where it is completely silent except for the sounds of my bicycle. Not even a bird chirping. Headphones are a big no-no on RAGBRAI, not to mention suicidal. During these periods, my head starts telling me I can't do it. My legs tell my head to shut the fuck up. Hard to explain the strangeness of it and why it happens, but I just try and shake it off and keep going. I downloaded this pic to my hard drive a while ago, and it went through my head today.
Even with the 4 H's and the strange isolation on a ride with thousands of people... I improved my average speed to 17.2 from 16.4 yesterday, while lowering my average heart rate by 12 bpm. If I learned something from 2011, it's that this week can whip your ass into shape like no other :)
Western Iowa really is a scenic area. It's beautiful, and you can really enjoy it at 15-20 mph.
Strava data for my ride today:
Lastly, there's a guy running this thing. I don't know if he's a complete badass or insane. He didn't start last week or last month, either. He's running day for day. I saw him today, 38 miles in. I took a pic (it's in the flickr set) and shouted a few words of encouragement. I just checked his website. He was going for the 107 today. Now I feel like a wimp!!
Okay enough rambling for tonight. I am absolutely beat and am going to sleep. In an air conditioned hotel room in Stuart, Iowa. Not in a tent in Perry. Which is currently getting absolutely pummeled by a severe thunderstorm. I hope everyone there is safe.