Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

Day 5: Newton to Sigourney

Note: Since I had very spotty internet access for much of the ride I took notes as I took breaks in town, using the iPhone's 'Notes' app, which doesn't require a data connection.  I'll copy and paste it here, and actually add some pics:

I was hoping the extra mileage at the end yesterday would cut off the mileage tag the beginning of today. Nope. 

I stopped in the first town, Reasoner, population 190, for breakfast. If what I’ve gotten 3 out of the first 4 days is working, why change now? While in Reasoner eating that breakfast I finally caught a glimpse of the elusive penny-farthing guy. If you're not familiar, those are the 1900s bicycles with the giant front wheel and tiny rear wheel.  He wasn't riding it, as he was in town as well, but at least I saw him.

Highs are only supposed to be in the 70s. Supposed to be windy but I think most of the day it’s supposed to be tailwind. 

Took several miles for my handlebars to dry out. Man it poured last night. I’m sleepy despite two coffees and a caffeine water additive, but started feeling good on the bike at mile 10. 

I didn’t stop in the town of Sully - bathroom lines were too long and the next town was only 3 miles away. Just outside Sully I rode behind a guy towing a dog in a buggy. He kept switching from one side of the rear wheel to the other, looking like he was having a great time.  His human was promoting a pet rescue, and I learned that Storm the dog has his own Facebook page!

That next town, Lynnville, didn’t have anything going on, except for a small tent at the beginning of town. It was 14 miles to the next town. I pushed on to there. What a beautiful area. Hilly, but also a recreational lake with boats, jet skis, shoreside homes, and a campground. It’s called Lake Ponderosa, just outside Montezuma. 

I stopped in Montezuma and got a salad from the only salad bar vendor on the trip. I was craving and sorely lacking veggies. I eat like a pound of them a day and have had barely any since last Friday. I ate in the town square.  It seems every small town has a courthouse or city hall surrounded by green space and then businesses on all sides, branching out to residential from there. I was in the shade of the courthouse and the 20mph north wind literally had me freezing my ass off. Unheard of in my experience on this late July ride across Iowa. 

After Montezuma came the shittiest road so far.  Not sure of the road name, it was a two lane hilly road that lead to the town of Keswick. Blame could be squarely placed on the county, because once we got into the next county everything was smooth. Shitty roads are one thing. Shitty roads down 6-8% hills when I’m a neurotic ass are a whole different thing. So many potholes and cracks, and of course this worst stretch of road yet was roller coaster land. 6-8% grade up, 6-8% grade down.  Not good for my confidence, which I’ve been doing okay with. I tense up, and despite all the hill climbing, it’s not my legs that hurt, it’s my left shoulder, the one I landed on in my crash last month. I know it’s because I’m not relaxed when in the handlebar drops going down steep hills. I tense up and as a result feel every crack and bump, all the way down.  I know I can get through the last two days. I’ve already gotten through five of them.  I stop at the top of the last shittiest hill, where Mr Medicine Man and his pickle juice shots are waiting for me. I also need to pee, so I followed RAGBRAI tradition and used the biggest bathroom in the world... Iowa’s cornfields. 

I got into the overnight town of Sigourney, found camp, showered, and walked the six blocks to town square. Way better than having to do the 3+ miles yesterday. All these town squares have a courthouse with shaded grounds around them.  I grabbed a beer and took a short nap under a tree. 

I’m getting some very impressive tan lines, and so far the only sunburn I have is my nose and my lips. 

Camp is in an alfalfa field. Lumpy as shit and very unlevel. This is likely another night with no sleep.  It was a lousy site selection, but it must be hard for number of people they have. They serve like 10-15% of the registered riders on RAGBRAI... well over 1,000. It’s a ridiculously huge organization. Sigourney literally makes my phone say no service.  It’s not even teasing me with a promise of LTE, 3g, or even 1x only to not work - it just says 'No Service'. Despite these less than ideal conditions, the weather is absolutely perfect. 

Church food for dinner tonight. We were on church grounds.  Beef and noodles and canned green beans. I chucked that evil green bean bullshit immediately. The beef and noodles weren’t much better but after 75 miles and 3000 feet of hills I would have eaten anything. 

The band in camp was good. They’ve been great all week. Most seem to be out of Omaha, which makes sense since the charter is from Council Bluffs, right across the river.  The band finished, the kegs ran dry, and the sun set below the horizon.  Time for bed. Please let me sleep tonight. Please!