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Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 4 - Clear Lake to Charles City

Hump Day! 

After waking up cold and wet, thanks to an overnight storm and a poorly pitched (by me) tent, it was time to ride the second shortest ride of the week.  Clocking in at 51 miles and dropping about 200 feet, this was maybe the easiest day of the week.  The fact that the storm had cooled things off from the 90+ temps of the day before didn't hurt either.

Today was also (informally), College Jersey Day.  Team WiscAwesome was representing the Badgers that day!
Herkie the Hawkeye is surrounded by the Badgers!
The ride itself was fairly innocuous and non-descript.  We had a good ride, riding as a group (as much as a group can ride together given different speeds, etc).  The picture above was from the meet up town, Rockwell.  We spent some time in town, exploring, talking to locals, eating, and meeting up w/ Herkie. 

One local said that the first riders through town that morning came through flying (doing "30") at 5:30.  At 5:30, we were just starting to stir in Charles City.  So they must've hit the road at 4:30 (and averaged 20 mph).  We hit town at about 11.

One final amuzing anecdote. (At least I thought it was funny.)  In Rockwell, I was in line at the ATM at the local bank and they had to lock us out.  Early riders had drained the machine and they had to restock the Jacksons.  We were joking about changing the taps.  Everyone who joined the line seemed to appreciate that analogy.

On our way to Rockwell from Clear Lake, we made the requisite breakfast stop that must be done at least once each RAGBRAI... The Farm Boys breakfast burrito!  YUM! 
Farm Boys travels all week and sets up each day at a farm.  It's not corporate, I don't think.  Yes, it is a business that they run, but it feels like it's family run with friends helping out.  (Of course, that could be great public image management.)  On Day 1, the line at the Farm Boys stop was insanely long.  On this day, we were "lucky" and got thru the line in about 30 minutes.  Not if, but when, you have a Farm Boys breakfast, be sure to get the breakfast burrito with the works.

Leaving Rockwell, we headed on to Charles City (aka Chuck Town).  On the way, I got separated from the rest of Team WiscAwesome, but found a rider from my home town.  I know this because she was wearing a cool Dubuque Bicycle Club jersey.  This woman was riding her first RAGBRAI as well.  We rode together for about an hour. 

Approaching Charles City, after riding under US 218 on State Hwy 14, there was a huge tree on the right and a Charles City sign.  I pulled over there, where a number of other riders had pulled over for the same reason - to meet back up with teammates and ride to camp together.  It was nice chilling in the shade and chatting with other riders.  Apparently, there was an elephant and some other attractions back on the west side of 218.  That or Brandon was making up stories again.

We rode into town and hooked up with Jim and Qing.  They found a real nice, shaded small campground for us to set up for the night.  We were able to use a tarp to create an awning.

Jim and Qing had gone ahead and set up camp for us again this night.  They wanted to be sure that we (esp me and Maddie who also got wet the night before) would be dry tonight.  My clothes were hanging all over the place.  It was a lottle comical.  But it worked.  And it was so thoughtful of those guys and so nice to not have to deal with that.

Dinner and showers at CCHS about 1/2 mile away that night.  And, like most other nights, there were vendors set up selling wares - bike equipment, clothing, supplies, etc.  Found a few nice t-shirts for the family.  And a couple for our support guys.  By 10:30 we were all in bed.

One final note about Chuck Town.  They did a fabulous job on the social media side.  Their Twitter feed was very active - they even used it that night to help locate a lost rider.  There was minimal social media presence by the other overnight towns, either before or during the week.  Great job Chuck!

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