RAGBRAI XXXVIII: Confessions of a Food Snob Day 6

September 20, 2010 at 10:29 am Leave a comment

Waterloo Storm

Friday Morning Storm in Waterloo

I had a great night’s sleep in Waterloo, but once again, I was awake early. Friday morning, I was listening to something new. This wasn’t snoring, this was a thunderstorm. Many RAGBRAI riders left that morning in the rain and lightning. Our team saw lightning as a threat and chose to wait.

Waterloo: Waiting for the storm to pass

Waiting for the Lightning to Pass

We considered our options. Those of us compelled to ride considered alternative routes that could get us a little further down the road and perhaps some last-minute accommodations. We had no luck. We would be riding 66 miles with 2300 ft of climbing. Deflated from the rain and lightning, we waited.

I had a couple of cups of coffee and 2 bananas by noon before rain cleared. Trace Minerals and Clif Shot Bloks were passed around in the parking lot. Before leaving, one of us had a flat. The momentum continued on a rather downward turn as we searched for the route knowing there would be no Farm Boys today. Once we got to the other side of Waterloo we were met with hills and a headwind. Thankful it wasn’t raining, we continued. Chasing the pack is a little daunting particularly when you can’t see them. When you leave as late as we did, many services and the general atmosphere of the place wanes. We came to an intersection where a woman was giving out directions and suggestions. She suggested we continue the 3 miles to Gilbertville and take a pass on Washburn. With only one big hill between us and food, we geared up and rode in. There were still riders in Gilbertville, much to my surprise. I found a loose meat (ground beef) sandwich, a couple of apples and another banana to fuel the next leg. We sat inside a very crowded pub filled with riders and stuffed game. I tried not to think too much about the dead, stuffed deer watching me. We were down from 7 riders to 6 and continued onward.

The next leg was to Rowley and had 27 miles to ride with over 1000 ft of climbing. The wind was still kicking and the road was rough. In his usual style and brilliance, Chief made a stop at a farm at about halfway. I was so happy to see him and the Margaritaville Bus. I was thankful for the 6 hours of sleep in Waterloo, but it wasn’t enough. I was shot. I was glad to be one of the first ones to arrive at the bus so I could sit just a little longer. We continued to en route to Rowley. Just before arriving, we stumbled across 6 pickup trucks and an Arctic Cat backed into a party formation just 2 miles outside of Rowley. The 6 of us had spread out a little, so we stopped to regroup. We stayed a few minutes before heading on to Rowley where Chief and the team had made friends with the locals living in the houses facing the Margaritaville Bus. Pam had picked up some watermelon which was precisely what I needed. A couple of our riders saw a woman take a big fall while riding in a draft line. With less than 100 miles to the Mississippi, I couldn’t imagine getting on a bus. I had come too far. My skin was burned, my lips were cracked and swollen but I was going to the river. If it had been me who fell, I’d have cleaned up with a little wet nap and be on my way. It would take exposed bone to get me on that bus. Monty Python was playing in my head, “It’s just a flesh wound.”

Loose meat in Gilbertville

Whatever it Takes, Loose Meat in Gilbertville

Consistent with the day, we were very late riding into Quasqueton. Chief had parked in a gas station on the route. I went in to get a sandwich or something and was immediately informed the town had shut down. He was referring to beer sales, but looking around at the gas station/market, it looked like most of the resources were depleted. There was someone making deli sandwiches and I was delighted to have a turkey sandwich on whatever bread they had. Back at the bus, we talked about our plans. Mostly, we had no plans. We did not know where we were staying that night. There was an outside chance a team member had a lead. If that didn’t work out, we were going to camp out at the golf course. Rain was moving in and Manchester was a little over 20 miles away with close to 900 feet of climbing. 2 team ambassadors rode very fast to check on the overnight lead. I found my pace somewhere between our 2 small groups. When I pulled over across from the golf course, I still didn’t know where we were going. It was not yet dusk, but close. I waited to hear. The dilemma of course was that there was a hill leading down to Manchester from the golf course. I did not want to ride back up that hill after dark if the bus wasn’t going into town. The party across the street at the golf course was in full swing. Instead of getting myself lost in the crowd, I got to meet a family that kept alpacas. The three they had there were soft and sweet and they gave kisses.

About an hour had passed when the other two riders joined me and we heard that a martial arts studio would be putting us up for the night. We rode the last mile into Manchester in the dark. There was a little place behind the studio serving “Everything Burgers” and beers. I had one of each and some fries before bunking down on the mats of the studio with a few friends and 30-40 strangers.


Entry filed under: Cycling, Food, RAGBRAI. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , .

RAGBRAI XXXVIII: Confessions of a Food Snob Day 5 RAGBRAI XXXVIII: Confessions of a Food Snob Day 7

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Tia Martinson

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