Habitat 500…a second day


The party was just getting rolling at rest stop #1

We woke up this morning at 4:10. The lights came on in the gym and a Habitat volunteer said, Please move to a tornado shelter…the sirens have already gone off in town. Far be it that any of us would depart for the nether regions of McGregor high school [GO MERCS!] without our phones. Soon we had live radar. A line of thunderstorms with several angry red blotches stretched all the way from the North Dakota border.

IMG_00112 HOURS LATER…Anticipating a challenging day ahead, after pedaling 4 minutes I spied a blue neon sign that announced the words ESPRESSO and OPEN, and promptly dismounted to go get a double…with whippy. Fortified, I donned my helmet and got on the road – most likely the last rider to leave town. Most likely I was the most caffeinated rider to leave town.

Yesterday’s rain was a minor affair compared to what we faced this morning. Within minutes the squishy feeling returned to my just recently dried cycling shoes. As the intensity picked up, I couldn’t see through my prescription cycling glasses. So I stuffed them in my pocket and made do with squinting for the last 50 miles. I didn’t always recognize who I was talking to, but I could see well enough to stay on course.

Cool weather, rain, wind and a shoulder with a rumble strip and 18 inches of crumbly pavement made for an anxious 60 minutes before rest stop #2. If you don’t know what I mean, try walking 21 miles in an 18 inch wide path. If you step out of the box, you get run over by a pulp truck…or a 35 foot Winnebago towing a boat. Anyway, you get the picture.

Having once been hit by a pig truck, I am quite possibly a little sensitive in this matter. To this day I cannot tell which is more frightening: having PIG TRUCK on my headstone, or hugging another overweight bearded man with chewing tobacco tracks on his shirt. Concentration and precise bike handling were the order of the day.

68 miles. 19.4 mph average. Tomorrow may there be sun.


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