DES MOINES – After yesterday’s hardships on RAGBRAI, riders were ready for a nice, easy stretch on Tuesday.
Tuesday’s route of the Register’s Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa was a simple, relatively flat, and cool 49.9 miles from Perry to Des Moines.
That was a stark contrast from Monday’s hilly and hot 83-mile route from Harlan to Perry.
To make things more difficult on Monday, Perry got hit by a nasty storm that night that included hard rain, extreme winds and even some hail.
I was preparing to go downtown to see the band Hairball when dark clouds that began looking like they’d pass around us instead came our way.
Next thing you knew, rain was falling and campers were scurrying for refuge either in their tents or the semi-truck trailer that hauls our luggage.
I had the luxury of having my Cabela’s tent cot (wow, I tout that thing so much, Cabela’s should be paying me a royalty).
Seriously, though, while many people were having their tents and things inside getting soaked, I was high and dry, reading a newspaper in my tent by flashlight (kind of like a young Abe Lincoln, only that was a book by candlelight…but you get the idea).
Anyway, we awoke to wonderful, cool weather on Tuesday as the route brought us seven miles to Washington Township and another six to Minburn.
It was relatively flat, other than a few climbs coming out of river valleys. Riders had a pleasant surprise in Minburn when they were greeted enthusiastically by the Adel-DeSoto-Minburn High School cheerleaders.
From there it was eight miles to Dallas Center and 12 to Van Meter, hometown of baseball hall of famer Bob Feller.
But the thing that jumped out to me in Van Meter most was for one mile entering town, the road was lined with U.S. flags. I was told it was in honor of the Iowa Veterans Cemetery, which is located just outside of town. That was a great touch of class.
After a brief stop in Van Meter, it was 14 miles to the historic Valley Junction in West Des Moines. That was an easy ride other than a long climb out of Van Meter.
When we arrived in Valley Junction, you could tell the place was definitely prepared for a party. Many of the workers were wearing 1980s clothing (must have been the theme), which was quite a sight.
Then it was just a quick four-mile ride to Des Moines, where we are camping in a somewhat muddy Waterworks Park.
Wednesday is another short day to Knoxville. I’ll check in then.