thursday: kent and steve show up, unload and we hit tbocks for some food. drew rolls by the windows so we head for home to meet him. pick up gunner and head out for about 33 miles of pretty soft nighttime gravels. pick up a stray spinner back at my apt and head to mabes for some grub then walmart for breakfast necessities. nothing too exciting just good to stretch the legs and let people get to know each other.
friday: wake and start cooking eggs and hashbrowns and burning the shit out of some honey and brown sugar sausage links that were still ridiculously awesome. even softer gravels but surprisingly no rain. wind was noticeable but not much of an issue. same 5 rolled out and we rolled into harmony (midpoint of the out and back) without gunner but he made it there before we left. friday meant $1 fish sandwiches at kwik star which seemed like a great idea. so good i ate two. not such a good idea. once gunner was ready we rolled out and kent decided to attack the first hill into a headwind with legs that hadn't loosened back up from the rest we took. total dick move and blew up the group. so kent, drew and i continued to push the pace until a rotweiler and a couple other farm dogs decided to join our group. i pulled off the pace a bit for a photo op of one of the dogs running alongside kent and drew. they took this opportunity to attack another hill attempting to leave me (and the directions to get home) behind. dick move #2. i burned a few matches, caught up just in time for the biggest climb of the trip. all was in fun, even the supposedly unknowing attacks made by kent. got back to my place and cracked a couple beers while steve showed up and eventually gunner after heading to his place first. pasta and steaks at the oaks and a couple more beers then replenishing breakfast necessities before an early night to bed.
saturday: 5:30 breakfast came early and identical to friday except i failed to burn the sausage. the first 12 miles were into the wind and shattered the group instantly. wes held on with kent, drew and i as we battled about a 20mph headwind and still softer gravels. a light mist was just enough to add ambiance. about 20 miles in kent broke a pedal. we planned to have support meeting us at 35 miles but i called julie and asked her to throw in another bike (bringing the decorah bicycles shop truck-thanks again travis) and necessary tools. along the way we met back up with gunner who had made a wrong turn at some point. julie caught us at about mile 30 and a quick pedal change was performed and we continued onto the sattre store for our first scheduled break. ham sandwich and blueberry pie left me feeling pretty good til we rolled away from the store into an actual rain shower. thus began the "middle 50". lots and lots of climbing, a bit of walking, drew's broken saddle, my loose brake hood, some wind, some softer gravels and increasing quiet time. the quietness brought on by the suffering was broken periodically by the ongoing argument as to the accuracy of kent's gps in terms of out total climbing (still not sure its accurate). along the way i had convinced everyone in the group that bacon was the key to endurance riding. everyone tried it, not sure everyone is truly convinced. think maybe if they would have rolled up a candy orange slice into a slice of bacon they would have fully understood the power of the precooked bacon. digressing. murderous, murderous hills especially given the conditions and their timing during the ride. rolled into casey's in ossian at mile 85 with dreams of pizza dancing in our heads. WHAT CASEY'S IN THE WORLD DOESN'T HAVE ANY PIZZA AT 3P.M.?!?!?!?!?!?!?! total bust, settled for roast beef sandwich, glazed donut and a pepsi. steve had pulled the plug following an explosive water bottle cage and some nasty back spasms so he and julie met us at the gas station. this provided an opportunity to dump camelbaks before the final 20 miles. we left ossian knowing the final 20 was back into the original headwind but it turned out to be not as bad as expected. sensing the end the pace would occasionally pick up despite kent's verbal protests. thinking he knew something we didn't as he started to fight cramps about 95 miles in. still not sure who decided to attack the final hill or who won or whose idea it was to stoplight dragrace down water street to my apt or ride the bike trail that was still ice packed when we were already over 100 miles in...but all of these decision truly seemed appropriate at the time. finished out 105 miles in just over 10 hours but was simply thrilled to have finished them
ended with about 203 miles in 18 hours of ride time in less than 48 hours. huge thanks to kent, steve and drew for making their respective trips to join me in a very selfish attempt at getting help training for transiowa. good to have gunner join us everyday as well and a couple more locals start out with us on saturday. drew is an incredibly strong rider and i was constantly impressed by his efforts. huge thanks to brad/carborocket for sending us out some samples. pretty sure they went over well with all the riders. maybe better than the bacon. lots more stories that i've failed to share, including 2a.m. pugsley and steelhead adventures in the sideyard following bar time after the saturday century. drew's already planning another big ride near rochester and we're already talking that this century will be battled again later in the year with hopes of better conditions. definitely looking forward to seeing all these guys around at a number of races this year. and barring some catastrophe, this WILL happen again next year.