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Monday, May 17, 2010

Tour De Midlands: The Centurian Candidate

"Dude, say hello to my lil' friends"
Joshie, Jose and The Blog signed up for Saturday's Tour De Midlands. The Blog was signed up for the century, but with the Ritchey cross comp tires on, there was a certain reticence to going the "full monty" and the "metric monty" started to have greater and greater appeal. After taking a cursory glance at the cue sheet, it looked like the group would be together for a few miles until a decision was to be made. We rolled out and of course Jose was nowhere in sight. He had mumbled something about "bano" and "restocking the pond with some brown trout" earlier so we waited up for him as the teeming hoardes floated by. Oh, how they floated by like cigarette butts in a urinal trough until Jose finally rolled up looking about five to ten kilograms lighter.

We started pedaling and I took some pics and noticed some folks veering to the left. Hmmm. Well, turns out the parting of ways was about half a mile into the ride. The mind raced for a sec, laying out every possible thing that could go wrong and threw my hat into the century ring after a mental shrug of the shoulders. One water bottle, no food but at least 4 rest stops meant I should be OK. These charity rides are usually pretty lowkey and this was no exception. I took it easy, rolled along taking in the sights and chatting with slowpokes like myself. At around mile 30, I espied a giant turtle on the side of the road. She was flapping around in the dirt. I rolled over to her and she looked at me, frowned, then continued flailing. Looked like she was nesting, which was nuts because she was on the side of the road! After some habitat re-structuring, we agreed to part ways. Here is a picture of the turtle, she was intense:

After the turtle drama, it was big swoopy rollers to the town of Peak and the 40 mile rest stop. I re-filled my water bottle, slurped down another, ate half a granola bar and continued on. A lovely view of Parr Reservoir was contratsed with a not so lovely view of a "colorful character" knee deep in lake mud resetting some catfish poles. I saluted his valiant efforts and received a blank, Body Snatcher-like stare. "He would eat me if he could. I must re-double my pedaling efforts" After this scare, I met two fine gentlemen from Lexington who were also riding the century. We chatted about bicycle parts, retail versus online shopping, pros and cons. It was good to hear a "consumer" POV. After the "turn" back towards Lexington on New Hope Rd, the humidity started to pick up. Whew, this one water bottle thing was going to be quite a hassle. After some steepish out-of-the-saddle hills, we rolled into Little Mountain. Sensing a water refill station, I rode away from my companions and refreshed my bottle as an air raid siren was tested 50 yards away. Seriously, who needs to ride with an I-Pod when they can enjoy the melodious strains of Defcom 4 at 900 decibels. With shattered tympanums, I rode through Little Mountain and eventually hooked up with a rider named Vince.

We didn't chat much, just rode together, each feeling unusually rejuvenated in the heat, taking pulls and trying not to make eye contact. We were approaching the 70 mile rest stop and Vince needed his water bottles refilled in a major way. We turned right down Wheeland and 6 miles later, we came to the conclusion we had made a navigation error. Oh well! Looks like our 102 mile ride was going to be a wee bit longer! Vince didn't bellyache so The Blog also tried to stay positive (with murderous inner monologues). We rolled up to the rest stop where bottles were topped off and then it was off to the Mt Hebron cemetary rest stop. More uneventful riding with the occasional crazed lake driver. Oh the heat. It was mid-nineties by now and the sun was relentless, shining on us like, uh the sun?

Rolled up to Mt Hebron, refilled the sole water bottle and said "Hi" to Tim from Cycle Center. He seemed in good spirits for somebody who had generously sacrificed his Saturday to volunteer at a rest stop that was more ghost town than rest stop. I chatted with a gentleman in a longsleeve Ragbrai jersey. No offense to RAGBRAI, it's an amazing event and all, but why does everybody who completes it wear a RAGBRAI jersey at every other ride/race? I would rather see a hundred 24 Hours of Booty kits for every RABRAI jersey. A 24 Hours Of Booty kit...

What is RAGBRAI? A two wheeled Burning Man on wheels tearing a path through sleepy Iowa towns? Is this a topic better suited for a Bike Snob NYC message board discussion? Anyhoo, after bidding adieu to the old crank obviously suffering from heat exhaustion, I turned onto S-32-413, St Paul Church Rd, up some steep ones and then onto Highway 1 for the conclusion. Hooray. It was over and not a moment too soon. My ear drums were blasted (but no I-Pod was worn all day), my skin was burned, my pupils were dilated, my undercarriage chafed, my feet kinda sore but it was a great ride for a great cause. Oh yeah, Jose's tire blew up on him. More on that tomorrow!


Emily said...

you got me wondering, so I just checked the RAGRAI 2010 website and it appears that both Smashmouth AND The Spin Doctors are somehow involved. So, maybe more of a two wheeled Minnesota State Fair on wheels. Will there be funnel cakes?

MM said...

Should have stayed with us for the 75 mile loop. Knocked it down in 3:35...
I like the lake loop...is that so wrong?

Anonymous said...

Hot, crazed drivers, and missed turns. Yup, that's about right.

The Ghost of Jerry Reed said...

agreed em, agreed MM!