Wednesday, July 6, 2016

In Which I Practice RAGBRAI Pancake Eating Skills

Bikes in Ely. Many bikers ended up eating pancakes on the Fourth of July. Very American.

Monday was a good practice day for RAGBRAI.

It was misty, cool and cloudy, so not so much from a weather point of view. But I knew I wanted to get some serious miles, so I fixed myself my favorite breakfast (fried eggs, toast, orange juice and coffee—not fancy, but it’s what I like) and got Argent out of the garage.

The ride began with a double climb of the Brentwood Drive hill. I knew I was going for distance today, not climbs, but I wanted at least a bit of climbing before I hit the flat trail miles.

And I was off, headed along the north route to the Cedar River Trail. Do I take the Cedar Valley Nature Trail north first, or go south?

Well, I had been north recently, so I decided south was the first direction. And I chugged along all the way to Ely.

Statue at Ely fire station. Too bad hose is not a sprinkler ....

The trail was pretty busy—lots of bikers out on this Fourth of July. And when I go to Ely, about 10:30 a.m. (the ride started about 9), there was a sign advertising the firemen’s breakfast. I’m neither a fireman nor a firefighter, but I decided if I had money, they would probably feed me. And I was 24 miles into my ride—what better analogy for RAGBRAI than to ride 24 miles and have second breakfast?

Well, I didn’t have any problem finding the fire station in Ely, which was surrounded by crowds (and bikes) and featured a very long line for food. Again, RAGBRAI, right? 45 minutes later and $7 poorer, I again enjoyed fried eggs, but this time with pancakes and sausages.

Second breakfast. Better than the first because I did not cook it.

Inside Ely fire station. What a bad name--you don't go to a fire station to get fire. Unless it's heartburn. This looks like a RAGBRAI breakfast, at least in terms of crowd size.

It was a good feed. You can’t go back for seconds, but on the other hand, you just ask them for how much food you want and they just give it to you. The ride and long line had worked up my appetite, so I had 3 very large pancakes, 2 eggs and 3 pretty big sausage patties. I could have had bacon, too—but given the choice between bacon and sausage, I’m usually on Team Sausage.

Well, that was satisfying. I rode off from Ely, traveling a bit more slowly, and went over to the Prairie Park Fishery, primarily just to collect some miles. Then, I headed north.

Won't be going to Ely again for a while, I suppose. Sigh.

I had brought some snacks with me—raisins and nuts—and paused to consume them at about 40 miles at Cedar Lake. I texted my wife, because I wasn’t sure how late I could ride (it was getting to be 1:30 p.m. or so and we had evening plans), and I was not sure if I could reach my secret goal—80 miles.

I suggested we meet at DQ in Hiawatha, and she agreed.

After the 2:30 ice cream stop, I went north to Lafayette. Time was getting away from me, and I realized I would not make it to 80 miles.

Still, I rode just over 72 miles—my longest ride of the year so far, and a pretty good RAGBRAI-like distance. And I deliberately climbed the hill again (although just once this time) to cap the ride off--again, thinking RAGBRAI. On RAGBRAI, a 72 mile ride seems to always end with a hill.

There are only two Mondays left before RAGBRAI, and I hope to make “Many Miles Monday” a training thing. I’ll see if, weather willing, I can break the 80-mile mark next week.

Ely firefighters—feel like hosting a July 11 breakfast? Please?

Selfie with bike after riding 72 miles. I live to tell the story.

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