The days had counted down and all of a sudden there was no more time to get ready. The winter had baffled any poor cyclist trying to get ready for a monumental ride at the end of April, when most riders just start to dust off their bikes. The Slender Fungus had stayed in touch and we each gave words of encouragement. The longer rides that we had hoped for never really materialized. On my behalf I had done a 120 mile ride on my Prototype. Otherwise I did a lot of commuting and some longer rides here and there.
Moving back to IL from NY had us scrambling to get settled. I had started a second job at a French Bistro and that would bring me home late on Saturdays making the early morning Sundays even harder. We did the best we could and finally we gathered out in my old place in Sycamore to drive into Grinnell, Iowa. Giggles and Special K had driven all the way from Syracuse. Bonk King was there from Huntley and Cookie had driven from Woodstock.
My dear wife drove me to the meeting point and I loaded my bike and off we were on the 3+ hour drive. We finally had a chance to catch up with Cookie since we both are Bike Shop guys and work a ton. Cookie was ready and confident about his coming ride. I knew I was not physically ready but was willing to leave it all out there. Mentally I was stoked and I was hoping the legs would follow.
We arrived in Grinnell, unpacked and laid down to get some feeling in the legs again. It was good to watch the weather channel for a long time. Our tired brains started to recuperate. We also hosted fellow DBD'er Jeremy. Special K was excited and anxious. He was worried that his rice cooker had decided not to work. He had planned on taking rice balls for nutrition. I thought that was an awesome idea.
We ended up at the Grinnell Steakhouse and signed and greeted everyone. It was good to catch up with friends. I was amazed at the amount of Rookies. Half the room was buzzing with new faces. The dinosaurs were mixed in between and you could tell by the calmness who was who. We enjoyed the meeting, grabbed our bags and headed to WallyFart for our last minute things. Cookie bought a coffee cake and we loaded up on Some canned coffe.
We hit the sack by 10 pm and I really did not sleep well. I kept waking up thinking I was snoring and keeping everyone awake. I kept thinking how the werewolf had kept cookie awake and how we had found cookie sleeping in bathroom under the vanity counter. 2 am came quickly and we slipped into our clothes. It wasn't raining so we donned less clothes.
The start was a happy place since the weather was so nice. Everyone was joking and having a blast. The horned sounded at exactly 4 am and off we were. We rolled thru the streets of Grinnell and soon we were on Gravel.The lead group blasted off the front like they were on a sprint. I settled in and let me legs warm up. Cookie was gone. I met and chatted with lots of riders. I saw Giggles, I rode with Special K. We switched up, passed some riders,stretched the legs on the hills.
The riding was awesome, the bike felt right, I was dressed perfect. we rolled and rolled and knew we make the 1st checkpoint without a doubt. Special K picked up a nail and flatted. We quickly remedied that. Also his brake pad came loose and we tightened it .
Checkpoint 1 in Ira came quickly and we arrived at 8 am with 1 hour and 45 minutes to spare. We lubed chains, ate, drank and were back on the bikes. I was feeling awesome. At this point I was settled in and knowing that I would spend the rest of the ride with Special K.
He understood the importance of pacing and keeping the average speed. We were averaging around 12.9 mph and this was perfect. Some people would pass us and then we would catch them. Then they would pass us again and then get tired. I wondered why they didn't chill and just ride "steady freddy" with us and make better more efficient progress.