For the past three years a small group of us has ridden to a town about thirty miles away to attend their Fourth of July fair, then ride home. It’s a lovely, almost completely flat ride out in the Indiana countryside. There is little shade along the way but this year the morning part of the ride stayed reasonably cool, and the afternoon never got terribly hot.
Although there is a variety of food available, our group gravitates toward the fried chicken plate with fries and slaw offered by one of the local churches. They’re usually really nice about letting us fill up our bike bottles with lemonade. We listen to the band for a little while, then walk around the antique car and tractor show and flea market before heading home.
Sixty miles was the longest ride I’ve done this year. I was pretty wiped out when we got home. First day of RAGBRAI is coming up fast and it’s 76.5 miles. However, on RAGBRAI we get a little more rest because bottlenecks in the pass-through towns force you to stop and walk your bike, and we’re all about taking a break, eating a snack (such as a smoked pork chop), and filling up our water bottles, anyway.
Speaking of RAGBRAI, I had been worrying a little about the hilly first day. In addition to 76 miles, there will be 3900 to 4100 feet of climb (those different altitudes are posted at different spots on the RAGBRAI website). Ack! That’s like the second day of our Annapurna Sanctuary trek, which I felt was harder than my ENTIRE first RAGBRAI. But I looked up the climb from day #1 of 2011 and we climbed just shy of 4300 feet. I didn’t walk a single hill that day, and I feel that I’m in at least as good shape now as i was then (not to mention a better hill climber). Mercy! If I could do that then, I can climb 4100 feet this year. And subsequent days are much less hilly. I guess all I have to worry about, then, is the weather!