I have not been riding much this year, so I have not been posting. I had only ridden three 123K permanents in 2013 until Saturday when Dan Pfaff and I rode the Central Iowa 200K brevet. The brevet started at 06:00 in Ames. There was a 400K starting at the same time. There were eight riders for the 200K and five for the 400K. We started together under generally clear skies with no wind. There were some low-lying clouds to the east that helped block the rising sun.
|At the start|
There was a fast group of five that quickly disappeared down the road. We hung with a group of four, riding a little faster than our normal pace, until about mile 16 when my rear tire began to feel soft. Dan and I stopped while they headed on. I found a small slit in the tire that I was going to have to boot when I replaced the tube. After I removed the tire from the rim and inspected the inside, I found a small piece of wire barely sticking out of the inside of the tire. There was not enough sticking out to grab hold of, so I replaced the tire. If I had not been carrying a spare, I probably could have eventually gotten the wire out. While we were changing the tire, the last two riders passed us and we assumed our usual position as the last riders. We reached the first control (22.5 miles), which was informational, at 07:48. We were still on a 10-hour pace even after stopping to fix the flat. An informational control requires riders record a response to a question about something they can see. We had to write down the color of the two zip ties attached to the stop sign pole. We turned southwest at the stop sign and west about a mile further on. The skies were beginning to cloud up.
|Heading east out of town|
|Dan & the only two windmills we saw|
Greg Courtney, the RBA for Central Iowa, marks his routes with pavement paint. This is not traditional for the Missouri brevets. It really helped me because I could not read the cue sheet without stopping to put on my reading glasses. Since I had cataract surgery in January, I had not ridden a route that required reading the que sheet, so I had not given it any thought. I now have some stick on reading lenses on my cycling sun glass lenses. I need to get another set for the alternate clear lenses I wear at night.
We turned north onto the HighTrestle Trail at mile 34. The wind was blowing out of the south between five and ten mph, which helped us move along at about 18 mph. We reached the second control (48.2 miles) at 09:38. The control was at the Flat Tire Lounge, which is located right on the trail. We planned to eat some real food, but the grill did not open until 10:00. They were advertising a Bloody Mary special, but I ate a small bag of free popcorn instead. We took advantage of the restroom and headed on. There were a number of businesses in the small towns that had small signs along the trail announcing their services. There were also some rest stops set up for a Tour de Cure ride that was taking place that day. We encountered a number of riders along the trail, but we could not tell which ones were riding the event. We saw several trikes and two recumbents bolted together side-by-side to create a four-wheel contraption.
|High Trestle Trail|
|Grain elevator south of Madrid, IA|
|Flat Tire Lounge, Madrid, IA|
|Underpass, Madrid, IA|
The highlight of the ride was crossing the Des Moines River on the High Trestle Trail Bridge. It is a very impressive structure with great views. Too bad we did not have more time to enjoy the views. The bridge is lit at night.
|High Trestle Bridge|
|Des Moines River from the High Trestle Bridge|
|Dan & Ralph on the High Trestle Bridge|
|Woodward, IA, Trailhead|
The third control was in Ogden, IA, (72.4 miles) where we arrived at 11:37. I had a breakfast burrito and V-8. Dark clouds were slowly moving in from the west. When we turned back to the east at Highway 175, it began to sprinkle. It was not enough to put on my rain jacket. The wind was still blowing about ten mph out of the south. We arrived at the fourth control in Stratford, IA, (93.3 miles) at 13:26. I ate three chicken strips and drank a bottle of sweet ice tea. We were out of the control fairly quickly. About three miles further east, we turned south into the wind and the sprinkles. We had hoped to maintain 13-14 mph on the leg south, but settled for 11-12. We turned east again after nine miles, and by the time we turned onto the next south leg, the wind had died down and we were able to maintain about 14 mph. It started to rain harder just as we reached Ames. The route enters Ames from the northwest, and we meandered through town, mostly on local streets. It was somewhat slow going because of the number of turns. If we had been more familiar with the route, we probably could have gotten through town much quicker. We arrived at the final control (127.0 miles) at 16:16. It was a nice route, and we had a good ride.
|Ogden, IA, control|
|Stratford, IA, control|
|Headed back to Ames|