HUMBOLDT _ Monday's 77.4 mile ride to Humboldt is the longest of 2007 RAGBRAI, and it certainly felt like it considering the headwind the riders faced whenever traveling south.

It's not like people were dying out there, but it was challenging and made me glad when we arrived in Humboldt on the second day of the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Today's ride began in Spencer where, the night before, there was a great fireworks display at the Clay County Fairgrounds.

We began Monday's trek under cloudy skies and somewhat chilly conditions.

The opening leg of the journey was a mere 6.5 miles to Dickens, where I saw an unusual site _ a sail hooked to a bike. The rider was struggling up a hill, so naturally I figured I'd talk to him to drain his energy further.

He said when he had the wind with him, the sail was excellent. Otherwise, not always the best. Still a pretty cool deal, though.

After that it was 8.5 miles to Gillett Grove, where the first stand we encountered had "granny" serving biscuits and gravy. That's one of the things I just love about RAGBRAI ... it's so hometown. Who wouldn't love it?

Then we went nearly six miles to Webb, and on the journey I saw the Uganda trio featured in the Des Moines Register closing on me. I figured it was them since they were speaking a language I didn't understand.

They had come here after suffering tough fates in Uganda and decided to ride RAGBRAI.

I asked the woman of the group if RAGBRAI had been difficult, to which she simply replied, "No."

After that it was nearly eight miles to Marathon and seven more to Laurens.

While many pass-through towns don't have themes, Laurens had a Hawaiian theme. All the workers were wearing Hawaiian shirts and in the center of the main street was a large volcano that had smoke seeping from it.

Two "natives," Big Kahuna and Island Princess, were on hand to greet the riders and have their pictures taken with them.

Maybe it was the Hawaiian theme, but sure enough, as soon as we left Laurens the sun came out!

Following an eight mile ride to Havelock was an 11.5 mile journey to Rolfe.

There I met Deane Gunderson, who created the 11-1/2 foot "Cy" statue that stood outside Iowa State University's football stadium from 1975 until the 1990s.

The statue, welded together over the course of a year, now resides in Rolfe except when traveling. It's recently been repainted and looks to be in excellent shape.

Even though I'm a Husker fan, I couldn't help but have my photo taken with Gunderson _ who is well over 80 _ and Cy. It's a great piece of artwork.

From there we went almost six miles to Bradgate, another 10 to Rutland and six more to Humboldt where we're staying at the county fairgrounds.

I'll give you more news tomorrow.

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