Saturday, May 26, 2012

Not Quite A Century Week, But Some Good Rides

Jon with our bikes at frog statue at south end of Sac and Fox Trail.
Jon and I did our second RAGBRAI training ride of the week today—a three-hour ride that added almost 30 miles to my week's total—which gives me, with commutes, about 90 miles.

That’s probably a bit low—I want to start topping over 100 training miles a week next week—but still, a good week.

And today’s ride was pleasant enough.  Despite some threatening looking clouds early on, we stayed dry, and it got sunny as we went . And although the day turned very hot, we rode early enough that we weren't out in the worst of the heat.

A big, old turtle was blocking the trail at Cedar Lake--well, he wasn't quite big enough to block the whole trail, but I had to stop and snap his photos.  Did not get close enough for him to snap me.

We hopped on our bikes around 10 a.m. and headed for the Cedar River Trail.  When we got downtown, we left the trail and headed east along the Cedar River past the Cargill plant,along Otis Road until we came to the Prairie Park Fishery, a small lake with a bike-hike trail around it.  We did that trail, and then headed further east to the south end of the Sac and Fox.

There were two surprises on the Sac and Fox.  The trail is partly closed by a giant sewer project right now, so I was not expecting to reach the north end—but they have a bike detour marked, and, voila, before we knew it, we had reached the frog statue that marks the north end of the trail.

The detour included a very short stretch of Mount Vernon Road, and then this gravel road.  Jon didn't need me to lead along a road I'd never been on before, so got to bike at his own pace for a while.

The other surprise is that the trail was in slightly better shape than I expected.  We did find a few nasty soft spots, but not as many as I recall from last year.  I guess rain leads to water washing over the trail, leads to soft sandy spots, so no rain equals a firmer trail.

Jon couldn’t take my old-man pace and had to pass me going up the Cottage Grove Hill.  Which I rode up all the way—it is excellent RAGBRAI hill training, possibly the best training hill in Cedar Rapids.

Then, the ride home, which we reached by 1 p.m.

Our distance and speed were a bit lower today, partly due to the challenging Sac and Fox terrain, although I think a headwind kept our speed down a bit while we were headed to the trail anyway, but it was still a vigorous ride.

The only off note is that at some point—on the Sac and Fox, I think, but am not sure—I popped a spoke, which means my bike is in the ship for the first half of this week.  That will make reaching my training goal a bit more challenging.  I might borrow Jon’s bike, or, with luck, might get an old junk bike that Ben and Audrey harvested from an Ames dumpster in good enough shape to ride.

We’ll see.  At least we had quite a ride today!

Below, Jon and I (reverse that) and the Sac and Fox frog.

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