Thursday, June 30, 2016

In Which I Return From Urbana

My bicycle in rack in Urbana--and no flat tyres! Trail in behind bike. I didn't do chalk art, but it adds a bit of class.

I was tied up for much of the day Wednesday, so it was close to 4 p.m. before I could ride my bicycle.

That still makes Wednesday better than Thursday, so far—I had planned an afternoon ride today, too, but we are about to have a thunderstorm, so I’m writing a blog post instead.

Anyway, my sister was riding Wednesday, and I texted her to see if she was still “out” when I left home. She was, but, as often happens when I’m biking, I didn’t hear my phone ping with her message—she had gone south to Ely, and I would have ridden south to meet her if I saw the message. Instead, when I got to the trail, for no particular reason other than I was riding for speed and miles, I headed north.

Ride fast, enjoins a RAGBRAI training blog post. So that is what I was doing—knowing I had a late start and would not be out for hours, I decided to make the limited time count for the greatest distance possible, thus, the need for speed.

I reached Schultz Road on the Cedar Valley Nature Trail, the end of the paving 10 miles north of Hiawatha, and there was a sign stating the trail at that point is going to be closed July 18.

The news is good—they are closing the trail to pave the 3 miles to Center Point, and I’m all for that. Being able to ride to Center Point on pavement will be very nice next year, and Center Point is a more logical destination-turn around point on a road bike ride than lonely Schultz Road is.

But, if I’m trying to get miles in, and the trail north is closing—well, heck. I had not planned to go north of the paving at all, but I pushed on to Center Point.

And I reached the railroad depot museum by about 5 p.m. That’s around 16 miles in one hour. Now, you bikers understand—the first three miles were in town, and the final 13 on the trail, and I did have to stop at intersections—so when I was moving, I was MOVING. I topped 20 mph now and then, and if my bike was being ridden by Sandra Bullock and was set to explode if it went under 15 mph, I would have only blown up at intersections. I was flying.

Heading south, warning sign of upcoming I-380 tunnel.

The final 3 miles, on the unpaved section of trail, was not the fastest, but the trail was OK. And it was only 5 p.m., and I was already in Center Point, and I couldn’t help but recall that the trail to this point is going to close soon. So, I decided to push on to Urbana.

It’s only about another 6 miles from Center Point. Not the best 6 miles, mind you—6 unpaved miles that has some holes and soft road crossings.

Last time I rode to Urbana, I was battling a headwind and got a flat tyre on the way. This time, I am happy to report: Headwind, no; flat tyre, no.

I reached Urbana by about 5:45 (final 6 miles were indeed slower). I ate a quick snack I had brought with me, and then turned Argent south.

When I got to the tunnel under Interstate 380, I decided to record a video for your entertainment, so here it is:

Anyway, I was home by about 8 and had gone 47 miles. In the end, that’s just shy of 12 mph as an average, so I clearly slowed the pace as the light faded and I grew more tired. Still, if my average was 12 mph—including all the times I stopped at roads, for snacks and restroom breaks—I was maintaining a pretty good pace.

Yes, RAGBRAI training blog, I rode faster than usual. Today, I decided to nap before riding—and I usually nap for 30 minutes to an hour. I woke up 2 ½ hours later with a storm bearing down on Cedar Rapids, so no miles yet today.

Maybe a few later, but it’s 5:30 now. No run to Urbana today!

Looking back north at I-380 and trail tunnel. Clouds did look a bit interesting, but no rain sprinkles Wednesday.

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