This weekend we “practiced” for some bike/camping (4-5 days) we’re hoping to do this July with Reuben and Heidi and family www.pedalpoweredfamily.com in Colorado. We’re definitely newbies at this-trying to figure out how much gear our bikes can pull, what things we absolutely need in order to bike/camp, and what things might not be completely necessary to have along. Although we have developed stamina over the years for endurance running, biking is a whole new sport that involves an entirely different set of muscles!
We left yesterday afternoon (after first completing a long 12-15 mile training run) from Redfield, IA, which is located about 1/2 hour west of Des Moines. Our neighbor, Tom, accompanied us. We were able to access the Raccoon River Valley Trail from Redfield (this trail actually starts in Des Moines and goes all the way to Redfield, and then westward, to Jefferson Iowa). From Redfield to Jefferson is a 35 mile stretch, so we figured we’d be able to bike from Redfield to Jefferson, camp in Jefferson overnight, and then return to Redfield the next day.
Well, it took us 4 hours to make it from Redfield to Jefferson! There was a strong headwind to buck the whole way. At times we were only able to travel at the speed of 7 miles per hour! Without such wind, we have been usually able to bike with gear at about 12-13 miles per hour. So we were SLOW yesterday! And by the time we got to Jefferson, we were absolutely beat! We had just enough time to set up camp, cook some supper and hit the sack. There wasn’t really a campground in Jefferson-just an area right off the trail near the fairgrounds, where bikers are allowed to set up overnight camp. It worked great for us!
Tom’s wife, Cathy, had to work all day yesterday, so she drove out to meet us at camp, for supper and overnight. By this morning, as we were cooking up breakfast and making delicious COFFEE, Tom and Lloyd and I all decided that we were too sore and too tired to bike back to Des Moines via trail. So instead we hitched a ride with Cathy. Wimps? Maybe. But at least we know our limits. This is the beginning of our biking season, and we need to gradually get used to the saddle and to the distance.
No matter, we all had a very fun weekend!