RAGBRAI 2004 - Day Seven - Saturday, July 31
54.5 miles - Maquoketa to Clinton - 1,632 feet of climb
After climbing a massive hill on early Saturday morning, we came across this picturesque spot. I suppose the picture would have been better had I zoomed in a bit more, but I wanted to get the bale in the foreground and the hills on the left. This whole area had some of the best scenery we found the whole week.
Welcome to Spragueville. Even after the 18-mile ride from Maquoketa, everyone was in pretty good spirits and moving fast. It seemed like the goal was finally in sight. The people with cones on their helmets on the right are interesting folks too.
After only three miles, this is the scene as you ride into Preston. Saturday's weather was gorgeous; a bit on the hot side, perhaps, but certainly not bad for the end of July.
And after seven more short miles, we found ourselves in Goose Lake, another small but pleasant town.
In less than five miles, we hit the meeting town of Charlotte. The Team Kum & Go bus didn't actually meet us here, since it was such a short day and there was such a large time span between our team's riders. So instead, we stopped for a little water break and kept on going.
The penultimate town of the entire trip had a very festive atmosphere. From just walking around the main street, you would think that Elvira was the last town, not Clinton. Music, food, vendors, people - it was a pretty hopping place. We stopped for a smoothie before hitting the road again for the last ten miles.
Riding into Clinton. They had signs counting down the number of hills, how far away we were, and cheering us on. There were dozens of people on the streets clapping as we rode by - it practically felt like we were part of the Tour De France.
They had us ride on a couple residential streets on the way in also, and there were even more people on the sides of these roads cheering for us. Also check out the Air Force's miniature fighter plane on the left.
We made it. This is the perpetual tire-dipping tradition: the night before the first day, you dip your back tire in the Missouri River, and when you get to the end, you dip your front into the Mississippi. This is Jeff and me feeling pretty darn good as we officially complete our journey.
And then of course, you have to brag and show off a little bit! It was nothing compared to some people, though - there were people who threw (yes, literally picked up and threw) their bikes into the river, only to jump in and swim after them in some crazy river-induced euphoria. It looked like fun, I must admit!
The fine city of Clinton, with some of the crowds near the dipping site in the foreground.
This was neat. The Air Force team all waited up for each other in the middle of the town and traveled to the dip site as a group.
All those red, white, and blue jerseys are Team Air Force people dipping their bikes and celebrating.
A wide view of the dip site and the surrounding park. This place was absolutely nuts with people.
Myself, Erin, King, Jeff, and Steve, at the end of a very long, very challenging, but immensely rewarding week.
On to post-ride --> (Coming soon)