I was worried RAGBRAI Day #2: 83 miles, 4239 feet of climb. Last summer I did an 84.5 mile ride and was pretty much done in at the end of it. Then, the first & second days of RAGBRAI 2011 each had about 4200 feet of climb (plus heat & humidity) which also pretty much did me in. What would this Day #2 be like?
Well, it was not that bad! It was cool & foggy at the beginning, which meant very scenic and beautiful, but the first few miles were harsh, and frenetic. Since it was a long day, with an optional loop for folks who wanted to do a century, everybody started early, and there was heavy cyclist traffic for about the first 15 miles, where the century loop turned off. But once those riders left the course, riders started spreading out and I felt more relaxed.
So, the hills were hills, but they weren’t killers. And I guess this means that I do hills better and more easily than I did two years ago. Recently my spouse had remarked that he could tell I was much stronger than before, and I replied that I didn’t *feel* it. But yesterday I felt it. On my first RAGBRAI I would see a hill up ahead & be filled with a combination of dread and resentment. This year I just look at a hill and get ready to downshift.
I can’t remember about last time, but this year I am making full use of all my gears. I’ve discovered the joy of the big ring and hitting 20 mph on the flats, and the joy of hitting the small ring early on a hill & not being quite the slowest rider going up.
The evening of Day #2 we had a tremendous storm! It started around 8:30, fortunately after we had walked to dinner and such, and it lasted for an hour and a half. Spouse & I rode it out in the tent, and it was quite the thriller. Lots of rain, a little hail, LOTS of wind. Wild times. But once it finally stopped we toweled everything down and were able to get a good night’s sleep.