Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Aiming for Ames

Reporting from Ames, Iowa. Another beautiful day of riding! After an uneventful night (finally), we were on the road at 5:55 AM and it was a beautiful morning to be riding through rural Iowa. The sun came up silhouetting the farmhouses and barns as we rode east. There was heavy dew on the grasses and crops so things just sparkled. There was no wind at this point and we had very few hills, with one exception-more later, so we were just crusing along loving life! Because we are usually in one of the earlier waves of riders we get to enjoy these mornings with a lower volume of bike traffic.

We had 57 miles to ride today and they went by fairly quickly, as we were averaging 15-plus miles per hour. Our biggest challenge came after we had a fun descent onto the bridge over the DesMoines River (max speed, 36.1 mph), when we then had to start the climb out of the river valley. Fortunately we were doing this before noon and our side of the road was mostly in the shade! So I kept pumping along and got to the top, without the need for my lowest gear.

We have been made to feel very welcome here in Ames. There were lots of people out lining the roads as we came into town, cheering for us and yelling, "Welcome to Ames!" Bob, Sally and I were discussing how this is the part of RAGBRAI that is the best, but cannot be described. Tonight we are staying on the campus of Iowa State University and it is a beautiful campus. We got to camp so fast that it took the Register staff another hour to finish unloading the baggage trucks. We were able to secure a wonderful camp spot with shade for the whole day! Even though it is pleasantly in the low 80's, shade is a priority! Our spot is fairly close to the port-a-potties and showers and in the morning we will appreciate its proximity to the baggage truck.

My shower today was perfect-after having one be too hot, and yesterday's too cold, it was nice to get one that was just right!

We spent the afternoon walking around the campus and taking in some of the programs and sites. We listened to some jazz in one of the grassy areas and walked through the Student Union. We walked to the far end of campus where the football stadium and Field House are located. We then visited the Reiman Gardens, which is supported by ISU. We enjoyed our walk around the gardens and especially liked the tour through the butterfly garden. We are now back at camp and this computer trailer is about 100 feet from my tent so posting this blog is pretty convenient.

So what have I had to eat today? Here is my list: A Fiber One bar in my tent this morning before starting to ride, Gatorade, a cup of fruit (pineapple, grapes, strawberries-yummy), a breakfast burrito, 2 applesause cookies and a buffet with burritos and pasta. I will have a little bit more tonight, but since it was a fairly short riding day, I don't need as much food as I did yesterday.

Tomorrow's ride is to the side-by-side towns of Tama-Toledo, about 77 miles away. That will be challenging because I think I may be starting to get tired. But I have all day to do the miles.

Hope all is well.

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