Tag Archives: Fourth of July

Fourth of July tradition

IMG_0112For 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.

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Our ride leader explains something to us, probably about history or agronomy

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!

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Rivendell Man in his natural habitat

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When I’m too tired to eat…

…you know I’m REALLY tired. I rode my bike 78 miles yesterday, and after we got home I made beautiful salads with Swiss chard, and beets, and fresh peas, and goat cheese. And I was too tired to eat more than half the salad. I just had to lie down, and I never really got up again until this morning.

Yesterday was the Fourth of July, so my spouse & I took advantage of the holiday to do our longest ride of the year thus far. We pedaled about sixteen miles to a meeting place, where three friends parked their cars. From there we rode 20 miles farther, to a little town called Wolcott, IN where the 45th annual Wolcott Festival was in full swing.

We spent a couple hours there. We got festival food, and chatted with folks in the pavilion about cycling. We walked around and looked at the car show, then I bought a neck band that has magic water-retaining crystals in it, for keeping cool. Then we took a tour of the historic Wolcott house. One of our cycling companions already knew all about the house. In general he’s a great guy to slow ride with, because he knows about all sorts of things. I love cycling + learning!

The 20 miles back to our friends’ parking spot was pretty windy, so it went more slowly than I’d have liked. One friend repeatedly offered to give us a ride home from the cars. I admit I was getting a little tired…but in a couple weeks we’ll be doing RAGBRAI, and then I won’t have a choice. I’ll have to soldier on, tired or no.

So, spouse & I got off the bike for a few minutes, shared a granola bar, and filled our water bottles. We took off on a different route home, and it turned out to be a little longer than our ride out. It was pretty level, and the scenery was really pleasant.

Close to home I broke a spoke. I heard a loud crack, and I thought a rock had bounced up & hit my frame. A few minutes later I noticed my bike was jerking as I coasted, so we stopped & found the problem. We taped the broken spoke down with a Band-Aid, and I rode home without a rear brake since the rear wheel was wobbly. I’ll take it down to the shop today to remedy that.

Anyway, our total mileage was 78. Our longest RAGBRAI day will be 83 miles, with hills. I can’t deny I’m a little worried about that day. I need to quit thinking about it! The best strategy will be to patiently ride each hill that day as a meditation, and not worry about distance or what time it is until somebody tells me to stop.  Also, that’s only five more miles than yesterday, and, you know, you can ALWAYS go five more miles.

Today: no bike ride planned, even tho on RAGBRAI we’d already have an hour in. I have to work today. And rest.