Tuesday, June 16, 2015

And the Backwater's Calling Your Name.

Last minute tinkering with the bikes in the parking lot.
 So, most of the beautiful shots of the countryside from our ride are from videos I took with my bike camera. I thought I figured out how to make still shots from the video last night, but the photos were so small, they were annoying to look at. If I figure out how to make them larger, I'll try to do an entire blog post of beautiful Iowa/Illinois countryside shots.

The fire station where we had our first stop and pancake breakfast.
Today? You get photos taken with my iPhone.

The forecast for TOMROV seemed a little bleak. A small chance for rain on Saturday, but severe thunderstorms on Sunday. Having lived in Iowa for many, many years, I packed for everything. I wore my camelback and stuffed it full of a rain jacket, Merino wool undershirt, sunscreen, snacks, water, drops for my dry eye, Advil, migraine meds, bug spray, and a plethora of ziploc bags to house my iPhone, wallet, and bike camera if it started raining. I was prepared for anything the Midwest could throw at me...Except, maybe a zombie apocalypse.

We started out with things on the chilly side, with a little bit of light mist. It was actually pretty nice. Our friend Marco had left at least a half hour before us. John and I and our friend, Timmer took off around 7 am. The first part of the ride was mercifully flat. We rode along the Mississippi River, through cute little towns. At the 13th mile, we hit the first stop and a pancake breakfast. I wasn't all that hungry, but I also didn't want to bonk later on, so I ate. Pancakes and eggs digest pretty well when I'm biking too.

We stopped quickly at the second stop and our friend Marco texted us that he had just left that stop. We hurried to catch him and soon the three Musketeers became four. We rode together over the sketchy bridge from Sebula Iowa, over the Mississippi River to the Illinois side. Luckily, it was just a little misty and the bridge wasn't too slippery. We were able to ride over it with little incident, although, a lot of people chose to walk their bikes, which I totally get.

We got to Mississippi Palisades Park not long after crossing the bridge. We rode over 56 miles going 17.8 mph, including all the times we slowed down to ride through towns going pretty slowly, that wasn't bad time at all. Of course, we still had about 50 miles to go and the insanely hilly part was yet to come and it had started raining for real.

It's important to take a selfie when you are at your sweaty, frizzy haired, drowned rat worst, right?

 We hit the bigger hills and John and I took-off on our own for a little while. The rain stopped and I was feeling pretty strong, and wanted to see how hard I could go. It felt good to cruise along the rollers.The scenery was incredible and I love riding with John. He let me pull, because he knows I like to and then when I started feeling my legs, he jumped up and pulled some and we took turns and kept a nice pace and bombed down  hills and played and played.

We stopped at the ski resort and waited for the boys and then we all descended that steep, steep hill together. My goal was to break 45 miles per hour. I was a little past 40, with about half the descent to go, when my bike computer reader thingy slid down and all I could see was zero. I'll never know if I made it to 45 mph, but it was a hell of a lot of fun anyway.

We made it into Galena and that put us at 82'ish miles. We finally stopped at the De Soto House for food and beer and that's where I met those two couples who I spoke about in my last post. I did get them to sing, "That's Amore", before we all left, which made John roll his eyes and also meant that I won TOMROV.

We only had about 24 miles left to get to Dubuque, which felt like nothing...Until I tried to ride up  The Wall and I found myself in the wrong gear, trying to go too fast, and I actually got off my bike and walked a little bit of it. John flipped me shit, until I got back on my bike about halfway up. At one point, I was passing a woman going up the rest of the hill. She said, "Wow. Good job!" and I said, "No. I walked up part of it. I'm  not gonna lie..."

We hit our favorite little, dive bar along the route and had one more beer before we crossed the river into Dubuque. I hope I figure out how to get phtoos off my bike camera, because the views crossing into Dubuque are really beautiful.

We rode up one more, stupid, dumb hill on the way to Clarke College, where our bags, clean, dry clothes and a buffet dinner were awaiting us. AHHHHH. We ran into our friend Gardar again, but some of our bike racing teammates were yelling at us to join them at their table. The food was good and most importantly...There was pie!

By the time we got a cab ride to out hotel, took showers and headed down to the bar for one last drink before bed, I was REALLY starting to fade. I thought I might be getting sick, it hit me so quickly and with so much force. We finished our drinks and headed to our rooms, passing-out by around 9 pm. It was an incredible day on the bike

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