Day 7 (final day): Coralville to Davenport - 65.61 miles
Billy Jo drove me the 60 miles to Coralville, where I began the last leg of my journey. I was determined to finish this day fairly quickly to lessen the chance of being caught in a nightmare in Davenport. They had their very popular annual running race, a downtown street festival, and RAGBRAI finsihing all on the same day. I just hoped my team would be able to find parking and be with me at the dip site.
My breaks were very brief - only enough to eat quickly or refill my water bottles. This meant the number of people around me dropped dramatically as the day wore on. The weather stayed cool for a while, but humid. It warmed up significantly later in the morning, and the headwinds really ramped up. I jumped on the back of the rare paceline (all too quick for me), just to get out of the wind. It was bad.
Eventually I reached the outskirts of Davenport. Emotions started getting to me. I had been planning this ride for 11 months. Thanks to the generosity of many, I raised more money for Stand Up to Cancer than I ever thought imaginable. The heat & humidity, the wind, the hills - oh god the hills, the soreness, the pain... it was all coming to an end. I was going to actually finish this thing. I know many people of all ages do this thing every year. Some do it drunk (how is beyond me). But this was by far the most difficult physical thing I had ever done. Thanks to my rescue team coming out on Wednesday and supporting me the rest of the week, I was able to stick with it. Thanks to not wanting to let down the people who donated so generously, I stuck with it. And now I was a few miles from... oh wow - look at that hill. ANOTHER 8+%er?? OH NO. Wait... what does that sign say?? It says "last hill". IT SAYS LAST HILL!!!! :) :) :) I got up and over that hill and just marveled at all the people in the neighborhood applauding me. These people were likely going to stay out in those lawn chairs all day, clapping and saying uplifting words of encouragement 20,000 times before it was all said and done.
The Mississippi was reachind flood stage due to huge amounts of rainfall in the region a few days earlier. This caused a slight detour to the dip site, avoiding the riverside bike trail (now partially submerged) and taking the right lane of a street instead. As I made the final turn more people were clapping and yelling "Great job! You did it!" I pulled up to a fairly empty dip site. Less than 50 other cyclists there. It was perfect. It was then that I saw Billy Jo. At this point I just turned into a blubbering mess. I was so happy I was able to accomplish this. I was so happy she was there. I was so happy it was over. After hugging the rest of my team (Dan & Tanya) I moved over to dip my tire in the river. It was over. 7 days, 485.6 miles, 18,290 feet of climb, 31 hours (moving) on my bike. $5,304.40 raised for Stand Up to Cancer.
A reporter saw our emotional reunion and the sign for SU2C and asked if she could interview me. I did my best to keep my composure.
It aired on the NBC affiliate KWQC channel 6 evening news. I don't know how long it will be available but here it is.
Here's day 7 pics
and the final Strava data file: