Wednesday, May 23, 2012

32 Miles On a Warm Iowa Afternoon

Jon and I (reverse the order) on the lion bridge in downtown CR.

I have some work to do to get ready for RAGBRAI.  Commuting 10 miles a day isn’t enough, as Jon helped me prove on a slightly longer ride we took Tuesday.

Jon and his wife Nalena are visiting for a week before a 2-year stint in the Peace Corps takes them to Paraguay.  He brought his bike out, and we took a 3-hour ride together.

He has a functioning bike  computer, and in that time we rode a bit over 32 miles.  Given that we stopped several times, that’s not too bad.

One of our stops was not planned.  A family of geese briefly blocked the trail near the Cedar River.  Geese are not happy birds--they are angry birds.

On the way back, aided a bit by wind, I supposed, I really pumped it—and really regretted it later when my sleep was interrupted by cramps in what seemed like every single muscle of both legs.

The spell of intense pain was brief, and I did get back to sleep, and am not too sore today.  But if 32 miles can do that to me, I do have to put in lots and lots of practice miles before the Big Ride.

Still, that’s been my plan all along.

Jon had not been on the trail through Cedar Rapids before, and he was pleasantly surprised.  It’s an interesting route, with stretches of wooded country, a short jaunt through a giant grain processing plant, the transit of downtown Cedar Rapids—a weird and entertaining mix of Iowa city and countryside.  We didn’t extend the ride to Ely because road construction blocks the trail at the south end of town, but that’s OK—it was time for us to turn back anyway to attend a family gathering.

Just as I sat down to eat, my cell rang.  My sister Cate had been in a bike accident.  Nothing serious—she banged up one knee and bent her front wheel but was otherwise unharmed.  Memo to Cate, if you tested your helmet, toss it and buy a new one.  Anyway, Cate’s scrape was a reminder of how quickly an accident can happen on a bike.

Well, I was happy to rescue her—double bonus because she ended up having to be picked up at our house by Paulette, so both got to say hello to Jon and Nalena.

All in all, it was an interesting and lesson-filled biking Tuesday.  What were the takeaway lessons?  I need to practice more.  Always with my helmet on.

Below, on the ride back, Jon in my mirror.  He could easily out distance me but was following since I was the native guide.  Given the street, it was a dicey photo to take, but luckily I didn't do a "Cate."

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