Oh my, it’s been a week since I rode this grueling 80 miles and my memory is fading. What I remember most is being really hot and really tired – after riding 80 miles in very humid sunny weather, often into strong headwinds (especially when peddling north.)
But hey I did it, and there were some sights worth seeing and memories worth remembering including:
– A very pleasant stay with a welcoming local family in Emmetsburg, in their pretty Victorian house – we had real beds in real rooms (right next to our hosts which was a bit odd since we’d just met); their lawn and garden outside dotted with the tents of other riders (including one family from Iowa that operates an orphanage in Haiti and was using Ragbrai to do some fund and awareness raising.)
– Shower in the high school in Emmetsburg – water was a little hot and brought back memories of awkward middle school locker room encounters but hey, we got what we needed: clean. (Sort of.) The best $6 I’ve spent in awhile.
– A pretty and unexpected little lake in downtown Emmetsburg.
– Gruis Recreational Center – a pretty rural oasis and I had a great burger, packing up some calories to burn during my next grueling 15 mile ride.
– Some of the best peaches I’ve ever tasted – sold to me by some little kids at a stand in front of a pretty farm house next to the rural center – I was invited to pick some raspberries (free!) but too tired to do.
– Crystal Lake, Iowa – never heard of this place. Very pretty little town on a little lake.
– Superb pancakes and sausages eaten in the front yard of someone’s farm, served up by a local church, somewhere near Ringsted, I think And excellent rhubarb pie a few hours later at the American Legion, I believe it was, in Bancroft. Liked the town of Titonka, Iowa.
– Discovering why people were biking jerseys (my cotton sleeveless shirt loaded up with sweat and left me a hot itchy rash).