We arrived in Altoona Wednesday evening to set-up camp, eat some dinner, and get all settled-in and ready for the next day, our first day riding. We got a pretty good camp site and when Laura and Jason got there, we got really excited. However, it was SOO hot that night, it was hard to sleep. Brooke and I sat up in our tent at 2:30am and watched the heat lightening. OK, anyway, we fell back asleep and woke up at 5:30am to begin Day 1!
Day 1 Highlights
Despite our best efforts to get on the road by 7am, it was probably more like 7:45 when we finally got a start on our first day. Altoona to Grinnell, 57.5 miles and 3,202 feet to climb. It was a freakin' hilly route! We started out the whole ride, all on the same page about this being vacation and making sure we actually enjoyed what we were doing. We wanted to experience things, meet people, and have a great time! So naturally, about 3 miles out of Altoona, there is a big sign asking us to wish Owen a Happy 80th Birthday, so we pull over, meet Owen and get a picture with him =)
As we continue on our day, we swung through Mitchelville, Colfax, and Baxter. There was this massive hill to get out of Colfax, which dampened our spirits a little bit, haha...but as we got closer to Baxter, we saw people taking this bike path off to the ride of the normal route, which as we looked ahead, was just this huge hill. We saw some volunteers who said the path would take us to Baxter and that it's not so much a "short-cut" as it is a "flat-cut"...SOLD! We took this "flat" cut into Baxter which ended up being like 2 miles longer and pretty steady incline the whole way. The worst part about it, we missed the giant slip and slide by not being on the route! Moral of the story, stick to the route, the "short-cuts" aren't worth it!
|Veering off onto the bike path, away from the road route|
We spent a little time in Baxter, because it was then 21 miles to the next stop, which was Rock Creek State Park. THIS WAS SO DIFFICULT! So many hills, and not many places to stop. We did stop at the PB Jam, where I had the BEST Peanut Butter & Jelly sandwich of my life! Jif Creamy PB, Grape Jelly, Marshmallow Fluff, Chocolate Chips, and Bananas; it was heaven! After passing at least 10 signs saying, "Only 3 more hills" or "This is the last hill," all of which were total B.S. because 3 hills later, there would be another "Only 3 more hills" sign, we finally made it to Grinnell! We were totally beat, but had such a great day.
That night, we found some food, watched some crazy jugglers, and hit the sack pretty early and slept pretty hard! We had to amp up for Day 2, Grinnell to Coralville. To be continued...