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The T3sk3y Defenestrator

RAGBRAI Day 5 – 78 miles from Northwood to Cresco

Yes, I’m skipping days 1-4. That’s because I didn’t ride them. So, we’re going to pick things up in Northwood, IA – 10 miles south of the Minnesota border and near Albert Lea.

The day started later than expected – and after a some trail mix and a bagel we were on our way at about 7:30. Our first stop was about 10 miles out of Northwood at the Farm Boys booth – home of great breakfast burritos. They were huge – 3/4 pounds – and delicious! Unfortunately, we had to wait 30 minutes to get one.

Day 5 is our longest ride – 78 miles. On the upside, it’s the flattest of the bunch with an average climb grade of 0.38% and a total climb of 1564 feet over the day. It was a perfect day to be on a bike – 78 degrees and no wind in the morning. We made pretty good time but still pulled into the meet town – Riceville – about an hour late. This was due to a lot of stops for liquid and snacks in St. Ansgar and Stacyville.

Lunch in Riceville was delicious – a ribeye sandwich along with Dutch apple pie and homemade ice cream. We weren’t able to catch up with our support team since they took off before we arrived. As we pulled out of Riceville for the remaining 33 miles, we noticed a pretty good wind out of the southeast. This was a bad omen since we were headed southeast.

The next twenty miles from Riceville to Lime Springs went very fast – the roads were smooth and we had a good tailwind for 7 miles. During that stretch, we averaged over 20 mph. A minor scare happened in Saratoga when a woman went down abruptly right in front of Susan. We’re not sure why she crashed – alcohol may have been a factor. We were able to narrowly avoid the crash, but just barely.

After a long break in Lime Springs, we set off on the last 13 mile leg for Cresco. Our legs were tired – but it seemed like it would be an easy cruise to the end. The cutest thing seen was a small raven-haired girl selling lemonade holding a sign saying “Please help me buy my pony”. This last stretch took us through Amish country – there were many Amish families gathered to watch the ride go by. Many were working in their yard bailing hay by hand, tending to their animals, and doing chores. The final run into Cresco – a 5 mile leg straight into the headwinds – turned out to be just as tough as the 73 miles before it. We struggled through the wind and up the first small hills we had seen that day to make it into our camp.

Our host family was a huge improvement over the night before with 11 acres of property and beautiful gardens:

We cleaned up and headed into downtown Cresco for dinner. Luck wasn’t with us – we seemed to get the few bad things to eat. It started with undercooked spaghetti, went on to bland gyros, and extended to mushy overbuttered corn for Heather. Each were discarded before finishing – and Heather is very non-picky. I had a pretty bad turkey wing and some warm watery pink lemonade. Fortunately, this would be the only bad food of the trip. We were able to meet up with Jeff & Tricia Englehart along with Travis and Dawn plus their kids – all Kermit’s best friends from high school.

We ended the night by getting lost walking back to camp. We downed some Advil to sooth the sore muscles and turned in for the night pretty early because there was 57 miles and some real hills awaiting at 6 the next morning.

Our final stats of the day (as recorded by Heather):

  • Average Speed: 14.16 mph
  • Max Speed: 24.9 mph
  • Total Distance: 80.91
  • Ride Time: 5:58:57

Pictures of the trip are up on my SmugMug site:

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