WEBSTER CITY —
If heat was the big story during Monday’s session of RAGBRAI, then another foul “H” word was the top topic on Tuesday’s route from Lake View to Webster City.
The 81.5-mile journey in itself would have been relatively easy with plenty of flat terrain. However, a wind from the east began creeping in about midway through my trip and by the end was downright brutal.
I was lucky to spend Monday night indoors at Lake View. With Tuesday being a long day, I decided to depart a bit earlier and left about 5:05 a.m.
Lots of other people had the same idea. As we climbed a hill out of Lake View, all you could see was a steady stream of bike taillights. A pretty cool view, I thought.
It was 12 miles to Auburn and another eight to Lake City. Lake City’s RAGBRAI coordinator was quick to tell us the town has it all...except a lake.
Also in the town square, ride organizers put out several couches for riders to rest themselves before the 9-mile jaunt to Lohrville and 8-mile ride to Farnhamville.
Signs as we entered the latter town told riders to look for the pink bras. Indeed there were several, being worn by members of the BPO Does at their food stand. And yes, the bras were on the outside of their clothes, so don’t think I was forced to peek to find out if they were wearing them.
Anyway, the money they made is to be donated in the fight against cancer. Plus, as one said, it’s just fun to see the reactions of people seeing all these ladies wearing pink bras.
After that, it was 6 miles to Gowrie and 7 more to Harcourt. During this trip, I talked to a young man who played tennis for the University of Nebraska at Omaha. He said their program was started not long ago and was struggling, but hopefully on the upswing.
The way we got to talking is how I got talking to a lot of people, by wearing my Nebraska Cornhusker bicycle jersey. I heard “Go Big Red” often as well as a guy in a Michigan State jersey say they were going to beat us this year.
It was also during that stretch I noticed a bit of headwind while going east, but nothing major. That all changed when I left Harcourt for a 5-mile ride to Dayton, where the wind had picked up significantly.
I stopped in Dayton, home of Iowa’s biggest rodeo (so I was told) and then got a break from the wind on an 8-mile ride north to Lehigh.
Lehigh was set for a big party, that’s for sure. I was there early and it was still relatively calm, but I have a feeling that place is rocking by now.
Leaving Lehigh on the final 18 miles to Webster City, we had to climb a huge hill but it wasn’t so bad since I’d just rested and eaten.
Then it was another few miles of fierce wind before another big hill. This was a much tougher challenge and a handful of bikers had to walk their bikes up.
Luckily at the top there was a lady selling water. I stopped, as did many others. She had to make a killing.
The trip continued east before a welcome turn to the north, where I stopped in a farmer’s yard for a break in the shade. I shared the same sentiment as all the riders there...the wind was very, very draining.
After a few more turns, we finished with a straight shot north into Webster City, where we’ll spend the night.
We’re heading to Marshalltown today. I’ll have more then.
Ted Schultz is the former Sports Editor of the Clinton Herald.