The ride from Okojobi to Emmetsberg was supposed to be a breeze. At only 41 miles and 1,000 feet of elevation gain, it is the type of ride I can handle in my sleep. Well, the ride was indeed a breeze, but not in the way that I expected. Since it was going to be a short day, I got a late start. The evening before, I enjoyed fine craft brews from Okojobi Brewing and West O Here Brewing. I shall cover my craft beer exploits in a future post! I was supposed to meet a local, Jon, at Spudnuts, an Okojobi donut and coffee shop. Unfortunately Jon was unable to make it, but his recommendation for a breakfast place was a good one.
Spudnuts is run by Leigh and her brother Brett in a converted gas station. The whole donut-making process is on display as you eat your sugary treat. The donuts are a sweet, soft ring of happiness that puts Krispy Kreme to shame. I had two before I was told about the ‘really special treat’- their bacon-glazed donut. This intense combination features a standard donut glazed with maple frosting then covered in real bacon bits. The glaze and bacon are applied while you watch. I left Spudnuts at nine and was not hungry again until well after 2:00! That is some high octane ride fuel.
From Spudnuts, it was a 7 mile ride back to the official RAGBRAI route and I was back on track. As was the case from Rock Valley to Okojobi, there was an awful wind from the south ranging from 19 to over 30 mph. A large percentage of today’s route was going directly into that wind. When you are pedaling downhill and still going only 11 mph, you are riding into a serious headwind! The humidity added another dimension to the challenge. Welcome to riding in Iowa! Looking around, it was clear that I was not the only one struggling, some small consolation.
The other challenges for my day were mechanical. Just before Sheldon, I sliced the sidewall of my front tire. The tube was bulging out the side and I was lucky to make it to town before it exploded. I had to replace the Continental 4000 with a Continental Gatorskin. A few miles later after a break at the Iowa Craft Beer tent, I hopped back on my bike to find that the rear tire was flat. I flatted a Gatorskin?! I have never done that before. I never did find the culprit. I might say that I had some bad luck, but I met a woman who crashed 8 miles outside of Rock Valley. The paramedics think that she has cracked ribs, but she is continuing the ride with heavily taped ribs and a plethora of cuts and bruises. That is one tough lady! So a couple of flat tires doesn’t seem so bad.
I arrived in Emmetsberg late to find that all of the demo bikes from Trek, Jamis and Specialized were gone. I was looking forward to riding and reviewing these machines, but they will not be demo’ing them again after tomorrow. Luckily, I have a reservation for a Bianchi tomorrow- the only company taking reservations for demos. I just have to sure to get there before 3:30 to be sure it is not gone. Tomorrow should be a challenging day at 70 miles, there is a century option which I will likely forgo to be assured I get my Bianchi. Luckily the wind is forecast to be less severe.