Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

August 1, 2016

RAGBRAI 2016 Day 7, Washington to Muscatine, 49.7 Miles

Abby, Judy, Jim and I all made it the whole way!
The final day of RAGBRAI 2016 was bittersweet.   While our bums and legs were hurting and would enjoy not getting back on our bikes, our hearts and minds were just starting to get in the rhythm of getting up every morning and eating pie :)  

Although we left at our usual time of 6 am, the route was much more crowded than usual.  I guess everyone was eager to get into the final town and then head back home.   The route was the flattest of the whole week.  It was humid but not hot and the miles went quickly.   I left Jim waiting in line for a burrito at Farm Boys, and rode 10 miles before he made it to the front and got breakfast!  

That gave me time to hang out at the Bike World mobile shop and get a smoothie for breakfast.   We all met up again in the first town, and crossed a large bridge over the Iowa river.  

The town of Letts was absolutely crowded with bikes.  We joined the horde and had another smoothie and a brat.  I was hungry from all that riding!    Jim likened it to a horde of locusts descending on each town.   We swarm in, eat up all the pie and pork, and then zoom off to do it again in the next town!  

There were plenty of spectators along the route as we got closer to the finish.  Many signs proclaimed that this was "The Last Hill" before the river.  It never seemed to be, but soon enough we were turning the corner and riding along the levy that is the Mississippi river and the Iowa border.  

And just that fast, we were done with all the cries of "Car UP" and "Bike OFF" and "Ruuuumbles".   We were done with the endless stream of entertaining bikes and costumes and helmets.  We were done with the constant signs for Ice Cold Water, breakfast burritos, pie, pork chops, and smoothies.  We were also done with the heat, humidity, and headwinds (not that we had much wind this year!).   We dipped our front tires in the river in the timeless tradition, and had our photo taken.  

Or at least we thought we were done!  Following the signs from the finish to get to Bike World, we weaved along the river for another 3 miles before finally getting to the trucks.  But it was flat and shady and beautiful and we didn't mind too much.   There at the trucks we could give our bike to the shippers, change out of our sweaty bike shorts for the last time, and get on the air-conditioned bus.   

Will we do it again?  Well....perhaps we need to try a northern route someday....

The RAGBRAI Rider count for each day of 2016

Lover's Leap Bridge in Columbus Junction

Team Pie Hunters

Columbus Junction was a busy town on the final day

Here's some interesting facts about todays route from the official RAGBRAI Pre-Ride back in June:

Saturday’s Route:
Washington to Columbus Junction (Meeting) – 22.8
Columbus Junction to Fredonia – 1.9
Fredonia to Letts – 8.3
Letts to Ardon Creek Vineyard & Winery – 5.9
Ardon Creek Vineyard & Winery to Muscatine – 10.8
Total Mileage – 49.7 milesTotal Feet of Climb – 1,314

July 30, 2016

RAGBRAI 2016 Day 6: Ottumwa to Washington, 68.5 Miles

Somehow the week of RAGBRAI has gone very fast. I guess that means we are enjoying ourselves :). Waking up this morning with just two days and a night left was a shock. So were the rain clouds.  The cool weather was nice, and the tailwind. Today's ride was almost 70 miles so nothing to take lightly.   A little push from the wind was always nice. Jim said "what tailwind?" Then looked at his speedometer which said 20 mph.  Oh.

The clouds threatened all day but it never did more than sprinkle.  I found pancakes for breakfast which I had been dreaming about, but true to form was hungry again 5 miles later.  Then it seemed like some of the roadside stands had been scared off by the rain.  The pass through towns were a little short on food too.  Partly that was our fault...we saw large signs for a root beer float on the other side of town and passed up everything else. Then the root beer stand just wasn't there. Doh. And it was then 20 miles to the next town. Argh. Luckily the Amish stand saved our bacon with fresh pie and homemade ice cream. 

But there was definitely less pie and cookies than usual on the route today.  Everyone is starting to look a little ....haggard.  I'm sure we all have sore legs and butts. The band played until 1 am last night, and the fireworks woke everyone up at 10:30.  Not sure if I could drink and party and still get up to ride the next morning! 

But the rain held away from the route and  overnight town even if there were flash flood warnings all around us. The sun came out and it was a beautiful afternoon.  We are looking forward to a short flat day to finish tomorrow.

Here's some interesting facts about todays route from the official RAGBRAI Pre-Ride back in June:
Friday’s Route:
Ottumwa to Hedrick – 17.0 miles
Hedrick to Hayesville – 14.4 miles
Hayesville to Sigourney (Meeting)  – 7.2 miles
Sigourney to Wooden Wheel Vineyard – 15.7 miles
Wooden Wheel Vineyard to West Chester – 4.7 miles
West Chester to Washington– 9.5 miles
Total Mileage – 68.5 milesTotal Feet of Climb – 2,541

July 29, 2016

RAGBRAI 2016 Day 5, Centerville to Ottumwa, 50.7 Miles

After the hundred miles yesterday, I think everyone was happy to has a much shorter day to Ottumwa. Plus for the first time we had normal winds from the NW so we could hope for a tail wind near the finish. We started early, with fog still hanging near Rathbun Dam.  

The day passed pretty quickly although a few river hills slowed us down. We had the best pie and ice cream in a church basement in the last town, and suddenly we were done at 11 in the morning?!?  

This gave us lots of time for napping, as the cooler temps and winds meant our tent under shade trees felt heavenly. 

I must say that the weather on RAGBRAI this year might be as good as it's ever been. Temps in the 80s, no mosquitos, no strong winds, barely a sprinkle of rain, and not unbearably humid. Except for the Saturday before it started of course.  I think most RAGBRAIs are hotter, windier, rainier, buggier, and more humid.  And longer. Although not aways hillier. 

Anyway, the weather still seemed really hot but it could have been much much worse. We got lucky again.  As long as it doesn't rain all day tomorrow!  We'll see. 

The camping area in town tonight was a huge park and I think fit most of all the riders. The showers lines were long though, leading to lots of hose showers out on the lawn!

At the expo, Jim and I tried some Marine pull-ups and won a free T-shirt!

With only 2 days left it feels like we are getting there. Our legs are a little sore but after 350 miles I guess that's allowed :)

Here's some interesting facts about todays route from the official RAGBRAI Pre-Ride back in June:

Thursday’s Route:
Centerville to Rathbun – 5.7 miles
Rathbun to Moravia (Meeting) – 10.2 miles
Moravia to Unionville – 9.6 miles
Unionville to Blakesburg – 12.5 miles
Blakesburg to Ottumwa– 13.6 miles

Total Mileage – 50.7 milesTotal Feet of Climb – 1,999

July 28, 2016

RAGBRAI 2016 Day 4, Leon to Centerville, 65 or 100 Miles

No portapottys ever showed up so it was a long walk over to the nearest ones at the fairground. I'm sure most people are fairly dehydrated so it didn't matter much!

Today was Karras Loop day on RAGBRAI, meaning that riders had an option of turning the 65 mile day into a 100 mile day by riding around Rathbun Lake. 

Jim, Judy and Abby declined to think an extra 35 miles would be fun, so I set off alone as early as there was light to see the road, about 5:45.  I finally took a picture of the FREE BEER sign at mile 3. It's there on the route every day, but somehow 6 in the morning seems to early to start drinking. 

At mile 20 I started drafting behind a guy wearing a plastic helicopter on his helmet. After a couple of miles I took a turn. When I looked back, we had 6 people in a peloton!  The 6 of us stayed together for about 15 miles going 20 mph. The pace was so consistent that it was almost lulling to stare at the back wheel of the guy ahead of me.  I had to remind myself to look up ahead instead. 

The fast miles put me halfway on the route by only 9 am!  Seeing it was starting to get hot I was happy to be that far. The turnoff for the Karras Loop came quickly, and once I was on it the road got lonelier. I was so early that most water and snack stands hadn't set up yet.  Which was unfortunate since I was almost out of water.  I managed to make it to Honey Creek Resort, where I got my patch for doing the loop, and met John Karras, the guy who helped start this whole event.  They had cold water and real bathrooms and lots of lunch options so I looked over the lake, ate and relaxed for a minute. 

The lonely road ended when I rejoined the main RAGBRAI route. The bulk of the riders were now coming through, so the road was more crowded. I only had 20 miles to go which felt really nice. Then I was amazed to see how many people were turning off to START the Karras loop at noon.  They still had about 40 miles to go and it was getting hot. 

I pretty much plodded the rest of the way to centerville with a mild headwind. Jim had beat me into camp and set up the tent. Now that's love.  We were again lucky to be close to showers. We would have to walk downtown to the food vendors to find our supper. Later. When it's cooler. Now, for a nap in the shade....

Here's some interesting facts about todays route from the official RAGBRAI Pre-Ride back in June:
Wednesday’s Route:
Leon to Garden Grove – 13.6
Garden Grove to Humeston (Meeting) – 7.7
Humeston to Cambria – 6.0
Cambria to Millerton – 5.5
Millerton to New York – 2.4
New York to Bethlehem – 1.8
Bethlehem to Confidence – 6.9
Confidence to Walnut City – 13.0
(Option Karras Loop) – Additional 32.3 miles
Walnut City to Mystic – 2.3
Mystic to Centerville– 5.9

Total Mileage – 65.1 miles(97.4 miles with Optional Karras Loop)Total Feet of Climb – 3,318(4,258 with Optional Karras Loop)