Raccoon River Valley Trail from Waukee and around the Herndon horn and back was on tap for our final long RAGBRAI training ride. I had no business going with my knee and a race coming up, but Tara managed to get me to go. So we put the handlebar bags on the bikes for the full RAGBRAI "like" treatment and headed out.
Based on the wind direction, we decided to go on the southern portion of the loop first.
Taking the southern leg first - that goes through Redfield - was fine by me. We stopped at Panora for a local sandwich and iced tea at PJ's. Then we motored on enjoying the cooler temperatures and low humidity.
33 miles into the ride, I was still looking chipper with the cornfields all around...
The sun was out and it was a glorious day to be outside...
We finally made it to Herndon after going against the wind for 39 miles. I'm still chipper, but my backside was letting me know that riding 40 miles on Tuesday, and more today were a wake-up call down under!!! It's one thing to ride 25-40 mile training rides. When you bump it up to the 65-75 mile range, that's when little things will creep up like soreness from the saddle after so many hours in the saddle. Doing a one, two punch for me like 40 on Tuesday and 72 on Wednesday reminded me of what I am in store for and to jump into action of proper care of the lowers (Chamois Butt'R, Assos, A&D, Gold Bond, PrepH, etc....) and all the goodies we've used before on RAGBRAI to get through the week.
As one would expect, after turning out of the headwind and heading east to southest, the final 32-33 miles were much quicker with a tailwind than our first 3 hours had been. We made it back to the parking lot in Waukee feeling a bit hungry.
Our peak distance ride was 11 days before the start of RAGBRAI and after a couple of days off, we will taper into the event to be fresh and ready. 5 of the days are in the 48-54 mile range on RAGBRAI this year, one day is 83 miles and one day is 63 miles. The 72 miles we did on Wednesday should be enough to help us endure the 2 longer days on RAGBRAI with little issue.