Well it was epic for my current fitness level. I guess I shouldn't even say that. My body just isn't used to the miles. My aerobic system was ok, my muscles made it till about the last 10 miles or so. But today if feels like someone took away my neck muscles. I can barely hold up my head. See I've been riding my Bianchi just for commuting for a couple months now. It has way more of an upright position than my lightweight racey Lemond. But I needed all the help I could get to last the 90 hilly miles on tap. So by then end of the ride, after my neck muscles got more of a workout than they ever had, I was more than a little sore. Harlan, the finish town, had a nice massage tent setup. So I got a good working over for 15 minutes with a focus on my neck. So that was nice. But today, I'm still feeling it. Time for some vitamin I - as in Ibuprofin.
So the ride itself was quite fun. Bryan rode 10 miles from his place to get to mine, then we headed downtown after dropping off a couple bags of change-of-clothes at my parents place. We ventured over the 480 bridge pretty uneventfully. The shoulder was just one bike width, so we single filed it, but there was barely any traffic at 6:30am on Sunday. The shoulder was also very rocky/glassy. But we made it across without incident. After moseying through downtown Council Bluffs, we headed North on the very fun Old Lincoln Highway towards Missouri Valley to join the first day of RAGBRAI. This road is not as hilly as I remember. We were taking it rather easy so maybe that was the reason. There were plenty of hills, though, once we got onto the RAGBRAI course. We met up with Matt Pavlovich with a great group of friends that had their own little motif going. It was the running of the bulls deal where one bigger guy was painted red and had these huge bull horns attached to his helmet. The rest of the people in the group wore white garments and had red saches on. They were basically imitating this. Quite hilarious. Also along the ride were many different bike-boom-boxes. Some were little seatpacks, others were full-on trailers, but everyone got to listen to music ranging from C & C Music Factory to Johnny Cash. Again, good times. The many different costumes and bikes kept the otherwise boring Iowa backdrop interesting. There were many a cornfield we passed while riding up and down hills. There was only a couple flat sections. It was funny because as soon as there was about a mile or so of flatness, pace lines would pick up and motor through. But these broke down with any hills since congestion of slower riders made it dangerous.
It was quite an experience, but I'm not sure I'd want to do the whole week of RAGBRAI. I'd have to be trained for it, that's for sure, but after about the 4th or 5th day, I think I'd be pretty tired of pork chops and goofy dressed people. Not that those things are bad, but moderation is always good.
So that lovely/painful 90 mile ride started a new training schedule. This next month is just a break in period so I'm only doing 10-14 hour weeks. That's not hard to do when you start a week with a 5 hour ride. Today is an off day, minus the commute, then Tuesday and Thursday I'll do an hour easy each, Wedsnesday will be a couple hours on the Wed night group ride, Friday will be another off day, then Saturday will be 2-3 hours of whatever. I'm not really assigning intensity yet. I'll go hard when I feel like it, but mainly I just need to build up my aerobic base and get my body used to riding lots again. Also, riding more will hopefully get me back down into the 150s lb range. I'm publishing my training log here. I'll update it hopefully after most rides. This published log will keep me motivated and accountable to all who read it. So if you check on it and there's a few days missing, remind me to either keep training, or to update my rides.