Sunday, February 24, 2008

Welcome to Iowa

Today I had a few firsts on the afternoon bike ride with Munson and Bryan.

For instance, it was the first time that I rode my bicycle in Iowa. Yeah, that's some braggin' rights. As the crow flies, Iowa is only six miles from my house, but the thought of going there is like traveling into Eastern Europe. For one, you have to ride nearly 20 miles to get to a bike friendly bridge to cross the mighty 'Mo. What's funny is that bridge requires bicyclists to pay a toll (another first) to cross it. Um, could you stamp my passport too, please? To top it off, after crossing the bridge, you're greeted by a go-go bar in a corn field. Awesome! It's no wonder that former Mayor Hal Daub labeled Iowa a Triple-X rated state.

It was also the first time I crossed a major river (Missouri) on a bicycle, and I did that one twice. Yee-haw!

However, it wasn't the first time that I bonked. That happened about five miles before paying the troll at the bridge. I remember at mile 52, right after Munson announced that we'd take the next few miles easy into a stiff head wind. Moments before, I had just ridden a longish stretch in a pre-bonking panic. You know, the type of panic where your brain is telling you if you just ride a little faster, you can somehow get done quicker, eat like a pig and sleep the sleep of the dead. Heck, when the brain is in that fragile state, it makes sense. What a rookie.

So thereafter, I was struggling to hang on to the wheel in front of me. I think Munson was riding no hands while Bryan was doing wheelies. Meanwhile, I'm back there in a stupor of self-doubt while the quads are a raging 5 alarm fire. We were only going like 11 mph and then the tiniest of tiny hills leading up to a graded RR crossing pushed me over the red line.


Mike and Bryan were gracious to slow to allow me to latch on their wheel again. Then, the next three miles and a hellish climb to the bridge loomed. I snarfed down my final Gu and gulped the remaining Gatorade. That sugar lasted all of 30 seconds, or enough to clear my head to fully comprehend the doom that awaited. It's sad. It's funny. Whatever it is, blow up #2 happened about 200 meters before the climb at the bridge.

Oh, the agony. The suffering. Yes, I'm going to wake up in a cold sweat tonight remembering this one, fellas. Guaranteed.

So there it is. 69 miles in 4 hours. The heart rate monitor recorded 2900 calories. Dang!

There aren't too many things that I enjoy doing for four hours. Or three. Or two or even one for that matter. OK, let's be real. There aren't too many things I like doing for more the three minutes. But somehow, this four hour ride to Glenwood, Iowa was a lot fun.

Thanks for the ride, Bryan and Mike.


  1. 2 words: Clif Bar. I my-own-self barley avoided a bonk yesterday during my 49 mile ride with a younger-faster guy. I was starting to feel weak when my riding companion broke me on the final big hill up towards Shawnee Mission Park. It was like the poma ski tow rope broke. I thought my partner would stop, but dang it if we made the next light and probably went maybe 2 miles more.

    Was able to somehow fish my Cliff Bar Peanut Butter Toffee out and within 30 seconds, felt not totally like Popeye, but refueled.

    We did 49.3, 3:01. I flatted at the farthest spot--luckly had a spare innertube and Co2. My HRM battery gave out about halfway so the display said I was flatlined--but figure 2300 cals. (I'm at least 25 kilos heavier than girly boy Brady)

  2. Wheee! Iowa! I'm gonna take a nap now.

  3. Brady, you hung in there pretty tough for this being your first long ride of the season. Hey, what is that pic of? Is that an historic pic of the Loess hills hwy? I've always liked seeing vintage photos of places where you can compare what's happened to them. UNO had some pictures like that of "West Omaha" back when UNO was west Omaha. That's just nifty!

  4. Murphini: Munson said pretty much the same thing on his blog regarding supplementing. Gu's not enough substance; he goes with Nutra-Grain bars. I'm looking to do the same on the next long ride. Good job on getting out there on a long ride and hanging with the young'uns. Bryan and Mike were calling me an old man during my ride. Bastards. One day they'll wake up and say, my gosh, where did the 30s go?

    Bryan: I went into a cold boot during lasts night's sleep. When I returned from the void -- at around 2:00 AM -- I awoke famished. I blissfully tossed aside Munson's commentary from that Belgium coach who said Americans eat too much afterwards and promptly stuffed my face while I hummed I'm proud to be an American. Actually, I hate that song and referenced it only for effect.

    Munson: I googled something like "Russia checkpoint" and found that picture. That's a cold war relic, not a picture of the beloved Iowa country side. But hey, Algomaha did have a report of attacking council bluffs with missiles one time, so the picture has some relevance.

    And thanks for the props on hanging with you guys. In truth, I can count on one hand how many times I've ridden over 50 miles on a single day: four times with Fred last summer and yesterday's ride. Add the three Corporate Cycling Challenge rides and I'm still < 10 over 42 miles. Sigh. I'm still a rookie. When I hit ten, I'll think I'll turn pro.