Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

Dawn - Sometimes An Ultrarunner

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)

July 27, 2016

RAGBRAI 2016 Day 3, Creston to Leon, 58.5 Miles

I'm phone blogging with limited editing so the story is near the bottom. In the meantime enjoy the photos....we saw everything including the kitchen sink. 

Today with a good sleep and and early start, the hills seemed smaller for a while and we had a little tailwind heading south.  Even with a breakfast stop for a breakfast burrito, we still reached the halfway point by just after 9 am.  Wow we could get finished early?!?

Today I tried to take pictures of funny food signs. That worked for a while until I got hot and didn't want to screech to a halt on the downhills to take a photo. 

So in Mt. Ayr we found berry pie smoothies and strawberry shortcake for a second breakfast. We said hi to the folks at BikeWorld and headed out of town. 

5 minutes later we were back there with a flat tubeless tire. An hour later we had figured out how to fix it and headed out again.  Then we got sidetracked by stops for portapottys, homemade ice cream, and shade. 

I missed some funny signs at the end because I was just too hot to care. At the moment I am standing in line for a shower and it sounds wonderful. 

Our overnight town of Leon is the smallest overnight of the week with only 2000 people.   Considering the head count on Sunday was 19,100 riders, this event will tax the town infrastructure to the max. Our campground is a large backyard with 750 people camped in it. Somehow the owner thought that portapottys were too expensive and didn't arrange any?!?  We are hoping that some miraculously show up before nightfall or it could be bad...

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

Tuesday’s Route:Creston to Diagonal – 19.8
Diagonal to Mount Ayr (Meeting) – 12.1Mount Ayr to Kellerton – 9.6Kellerton to Decatur City – 12.2Decatur City to Leon– 4.8
Total Mileage – 58.5 milesTotal Feet of Climb – 3,318