Day 5 - Sheldon to Estherville, Iowa - RAGBRAI Day 2

Northern Iowa is under a tornado warning until 10:30 pm.

I am hiding in the box truck with the rest of the Des Moines Cycling Club, due to the torrential rain outside. This is a crusher, because last night in Sheldon, we got hit with a world class thunderstorm, which the RAGBRAI riders are calling "Hurricane Sheldon". The wind was blowing so hard the tent was pressed flat against me and Debra. After the storm passed, the fire department came by and said another storm just as bad was coming in half an hour and he recommended that we all evacuate to the high school up the street. Most people did, and got no sleep whatsoever. There were many tents destroyed. There are rumors going around that somebody died last night when a tree got blown over on a tent. Debra and I stayed put, and our tent held up and we were fine.

However, the rest of our Baltimore friends got no sleep and all their stuff is soggy. This is why they are 20 miles back in the town of Milford, in a resort hotel with a hot tub and a jacuzzi. Lamers. Only Laura is finishing the ride. She is out there somewhere right now. The fire department just came by to tell us in a half hour, there will be 30 mph winds, so tie everything down. I feel bad now that my web site has a picture of Laura wearing a giant ear of corn on her head.

This has been gruesome. Yesterday had a heat index way over 100 degrees. Today it was only in the 80s, but there has been a stiff headwind from due east, which you have to ride directly into for 40 miles, through corn and soybean fields with no trees to block the wind. Since almost nobody got any sleep last night, the wind slowed everyone way down, so they would still be on the road for the pouring rain. (I am less affected by the wind on the recumbent, so I got in at 1:00, right as the rain started. 90 miles, 5:30 pedalling, 6:00 on the clock. The roads were almost empty of bicycles when I finished.)

Despite the headwinds, it was a beautiful ride. I was chatting with the Air Force guys. All the military services are represented at RAGBRAI. Only the Air Force guys consistently kick ass. I was mighty impressed with them last year. Today, a big pack of them passed me, and with great effort I caught up with them. I did this just so I could say "You Air Force guys really fly!" I had fun chatting with them as usual.

Today's ride was pretty much fuelled solely by smoothies. I had a smoothie and a pizza slice 5 miles before my usual breakfast, Mr. Pork Chop. I didn't get a picture of Mr. Pork Chop today because I was busy talking with a guy on a dual 20 Z-Bone, the new Reynolds Weld Lab model which I covet.

The only pictures I got of scenery are towns which had smoothies. The first one is Sandborn.

The next one is May City. This picture pretty much shows all of May City.

Here is the map for today. Note the long, long stretches heading due east, from where the wind blew.