But I am just a pilgrim on this road, boys
Until I see you fare thee well
-Steve Earle, Pilgrim

Friday, July 19, 2013

Central Iowa 400K

Dan Pfaff and I hit the road again Friday afternoon, July 12, for the last round of Central Iowa brevets in Ames. There were 20 riders for the 06:00 start Saturday morning: eight for the 600K; three, including Dan and me, for the 400K; two for the 300K; and seven for the 200K. We had a few minutes after the riders meeting and before the start, so I headed back in to grab a couple hard boiled eggs from the breakfast bar. On the way out, I decided to hit the restroom, and by the time I got on the bike, everyone was already heading east out of town. I caught up with Dan, who was riding slowly so I could catch up. We passed several of the 200K riders, who had stopped to fix a flat just west of Nevada. In Nevada, we turned south while the 300K and 600K riders continued east. The 200K riders soon passed us a few miles south of Nevada. We had a southeast wind but made good time, reaching the first information control (22.5 miles) at 07:35. This was where the 300K and 600K routes rejoined ours.

With the wind at our back, we were at the second control in Polk City (37.6 miles) by 08:48. A couple of the 600K riders passed us just outside of Polk City, with the remainder joining us at the control. The last 13 to 14 miles of the route to the next control in Redfield was on the Raccoon River Valley Trail, a former rail line. We reached Redfield (75.4 miles) at 11:54. The next control was in Audubon, a distance of about 48 miles, so we stopped in Guthrie Center to refill our water bottles. The route between Guthrie Center and Audubon was nothing but hills. The total route has about 8,200 feet of climbing, and a large chunk of it was on this segment. Fortunately, the cloud cover increased during the afternoon so the temperature maxed out about 86 degrees rather than the predicted 91. Regardless, with the wind at our back, we made it to the control in Audubon (123.7 miles) at 16:16. We stopped at the Subway for dinner. I had been having problems with hot foot in my right foot, so I also adjusted my cleat back a few millimeters. We headed out again about 17:00.

We retraced 11 miles of the route and hills before we turned north on a concrete road that had recently been milled to remove the asphalt. It lasted for six miles, and only could have been worse if they had just milled it down to asphalt. The wind was again at our backs, and we would have made great time on the rollers if the surface had been smooth. Keith Gates (RUSA #1445), who was riding the 600K, had passed us just before we turned north on the milled road, and we caught up with him at the Coon Rapids Community Park where we stopped for water. We also donned our reflective gear. Keith rode with us through the night back to Ames. We reached the control in Scranton (164.5 miles) at 21:00.

The next control (197.8) miles was informational and located at a golf course. We reached it at 12:32. We spent some time there. I was still having hot foot, and it was good to be able to take off my sandal to massage my foot. I am not sure why it was occurring. I kept adjusting the straps to loosen the sandal to accommodate my foot swelling as it got hot. We headed south and picked up the High Trestle Trail in Woodward. This was the same section we rode on the 200K, but in the opposite direction. Unfortunately, since it was after midnight, the decorative lights were off on the High Trestle Bridge when we crossed. We reached the control in Madrid (227.1 miles) at 03:58. We were back to Ames and the last control (250.1) miles at 06:38. This was one of my slowest 400Ks, primarily because we spent about four hours off the bike based on my computer, which for once, I remembered to reset at the beginning of the ride. I often forget because I rarely use it except at night to measure distances between turns in poorly signed areas. Coming back into Ames was also slow because of the numerous turns and the use of urban bike paths, which I find are generally slower than riding on streets. Overall, it was a great ride. Neither Dan or I had any mechanical problems, and I saw some great scenery and interesting architecture.
Riders meeting at the start
Big Creek Historical Society building, Polk City, IA
Crossing Saylorville Lake
Granger, IA
White Barns
Dallas Center, IA
Riding the Raccoon River Trail
Raccoon River Trail
Raccoon River
Adel, IA

Adel, IA
Near Redfield, IA
Raccoon River Trail, Redfield, IA
Guthrie Center, IA
Guthrie Center, IA
Deconstructing barn
Six miles of milled road
Saturday Evening
Sunrise, Ames, IA

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