Monday, July 1, 2013

In Which Half A Day Pushes The Limit

Hawk along the trail has its eyes on me.
The turn-around point, old rail depot in Center Point.

Three weeks in Paraguay didn’t do a lot for my RAGBRAI legs.

Saturday, I rode Francis for the first time since the trip. But that was just a short jaunt to the Bowman Woods School playground—with one granddaughter as a passenger on the way there, and a grandson on the way home. A fun ride, but hardly RAGBRAI practice.

Sunday, I took advantage of the nice weather to do some yard work—clearing away three week’s worth of accumulated sticks (quite a bit, by all reports it has been stormy here in Iowa) and then mowing. The front yard went quickly, but my daughter had mowed in during my trip—the back yard was a hay field.

Anyway, it was getting close to 4 by the time I finished. “Go for a long bike ride,” my wife said, and I took her advice.

I rode north to the rail station museum in Center Point, then back again. Before ending the ride, I climbed the Brentwood Drive hill, too.

Now, I’m a bit sore. The ride was about 30 miles total—26 miles up and back to the museum, 4 more miles to and from my home. I finished about 8:15—which implies I was riding about 8 mph or so. In my defense, I made myself stop at least once an hour to drink and to eat some trail mix, and I had other stops to take photos. I timed some trail miles and it took me about 4 minutes to ride one, which is about 15 mph. I suspect I timed miles on downgrade when I felt I was going quickly, but I bet I probably rode faster than 10 mph most of the time.

It was about half a RAGBRAI day. And my legs felt very sore when I was done. Three weeks left now to get ready for the ride—my plan is to ride as much as possible in the next two and then take it a little easy on the week before RAGBRAI.

The trail was nice, although north of the pavement, the impact of rains and storms is more obvious, with some of the limestone surface showing ephemeral waterways. At one point, the top of a tree has tumbled across the trail—I hope that dicey looking arch is removed before long.

It was still a very pleasant ride. I saw two former students and chatted with them, the sun was shining and it was great to have light until after 8, although I did run with lights on for the final half hour.

Despite the slightly sore legs, I would say the first ride was very nice! Now, if we can just arrange for exactly this weather for the whole week of RAGBRAI …

A few hazards--washed out trail (above) and a tree that fell (below). The arch formed by the tree was high enough to easily ride under, although it felt a bit weird to do so.

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