Part II: My Very Last Century, Ever. Until Next Time.

Does anybody want to buy a used Lemond Victoire, 53 cm? That was how I felt in Tipton. I turned and burned back home. Screw this, I thought. But, with the wind at my back, I felt quite a bit better.

In fact, by the time I approached Cedar Bluff, I decided to add some miles. So, I rode north, about 7 miles, to Mechanicsville.


The Mechanicsville Water Tower

The Mechanicsville Water Tower


After a fine burger and fries at Looney’s Cafe. I headed 7 miles back south. Then, I decided to head toward West Liberty since I was feeling fleet. I nearly made it to West Lib, but I decided to stop just after the Cedar River (nice hill) and retrace my route. That added another 14. The Mechanicsville was a pop for 14. So, hey, I was up nearly to 80. Maybe I could pull this off. Not elegant, but not shabby. Well, maybe a little shabby.

On the way back through Morse, I stopped to check out some awesome poppies.


The poppies are lovely dark and deep and I have miles to go before I sleep.

The poppies are lovely dark and deep and I have miles to go before I sleep.



With the wind at my back, the food hitting my legs, on well-known roads, I felt darn fine. I even think that the RWBBs were taking a break from attacking my skull and trying to kill me forever and all time.

When I returned back into Iowa City. I was wondering how many miles I had. Maybe near 100? I decided not to look until I picked a victory station.

So, I rolled into the gleaming, new 30th Century Bicycle Shop, cause they are nice and they might bless my effort with cheer and good vibes. I was dismayed that I had only reached 92 miles. Steve and Cody, the owners of said bike shop said that I had achieved a near century and they were proud, in a parental sort of way. They patted my back with a slight frown. What they wanted to say was: “Hit it Scraps, finish the damn thing you lazy bum.” What they actually said was: “Well go on down Sand Road for a couple and then we’ll meet you at the Bread Garden for a victory beer.”

Sheesh! Such tough love. So, after a quick macchiatto, I hopped back on the bike. Actually, I did not hop as I was fairly sore. Anyhoo, I felt great during the last 8 miles. And I made it to the BG on time. And Steve and Brian were waiting for me. I was not much fun to talk to though.


"And is this the upshot of your experiments, Doctor–--  ?"

"And is this the upshot of your experiments, Doctor–-- ?"



Not bad for a Saturday by my lonesome. I got some good reflection time in, and I didn’t get killed by any RWBBs. Even though I thought about it…often.

Total Miles: 102

Total Time: All Day



ps. It might help to read some corroborating reportage and pictures of my exploits on the 30th Century Bicycle Shop Website on a post titled “File Pile.” I agree that what I did was a SEANRV, and not a MyToSEI. Thanks Steve.


My 100 Mile Bike Ride; Or, Who Cares About TOMRV?

TOMRV is a great event. For a great price ($65 or so) you get two days of excellent, friendly sag support for a 2 day 200 mile bike tour. The Tour of the Mississippi River Valley starts in the Quad Cities and heads north to Dubuque, Iowa. I have finished it twice and last year I did the first day and bailed on the second (a family compromise, let’s say). This year I had clearance to the do the whole thing. No backing out.


Except I did. I bailed big time. I wanted to get in some miles, but I was not tied to sleeping on the ground after 108 miles. The hotels in Dubuque were filled and I had not applied for an approved Tomrv dorm room, so I was too late and too lame for words.


Thusly, I decided to make my own Tomrv. Which I called MyTOSEI, which very obviously stands for My Tour Of South East Iowa. The plan was to start from Iowa City and make it all the way to Clinton, Iowa, which is next to the Mississippi between Dubuque and Bettendorf. Dorothy was going to pick me up and we would poke around the town, eat, and head home.  Around 103 miles according to MapQuest. 

Here’s the intended route:


The Route Map

The Route Map




I woke up at 6 to get an early start, but it was raining buckets. When the rain let up at 9, I scooted out the door. The minute I turned onto Sycamore Street, it started to rain again. Nice.


I was cold and wet 6 minutes into my 100 mile day. I decided to ride for a couple hours and see where I was. Well, I ended up in Tipton, Iowa. Not very far at all, about 33 miles. The headwind was nasty, the rain was unpleasant, but the birds. Now they were a show-stopper. The Red Winged Black Bird is my One True Nemesis For All Time. The dive-bombed me relentlessly all during the late spring and early summer. And all the way to Tipton, they were upbraiding me with screeches and scratching my helmet and generally making me whimper and swerve in unsafe ways. I mean, why me? What am I doing to them? It’s not as if I was invading their territory while they were preparing for the miracle of birth, or anything. It is not as if I was riding two or three feet away from their bedroom.


Some info: “The Red-Winged Blackbird can be very aggressive while defending its territory. It will attack much larger birds, such as crowsravensmagpieshawks, and osprey if they enter.[9] They have even been known to attack humans who encroach upon their territories.[10]” (Wikipedia)


But as we all know, Wikipedia is not really all that and a bag of chips. For the inside scoop, I always checkout Scrapsipedia: The Street Theorists Encyclopedia. According to Scrapsipedia: The Barn Owl is the RWBB’s natural enemy. And so I thought that putting an image of a scary owl onto the top of my helmet would do the trick.


The full effect of my scary Barn Owl may have been lessened by all the rain that leached the color out of my home-printed photo..

The full effect of my scary Barn Owl may have been lessened by all the rain that leached the color out of my home-printed photo..



Scrapsipedia also related that although the RWBB will attack anything smaller than a semi, 737, train, or combine, they are afraid of certain sounds. Rigorous experimentation has revealed that two sounds are effective at making them run to their nests and cry in terror–at certain times of the day. First, the barn owl’s hoot: hooot hooot hoooo hoooo. Second, a Pterodactyl sound: Kngiai-kngiai-Kngiai-kngiai. Although the exact times at which these sounds force the RWBB to cower and blubber like the True Pansies That They Are are not known with precision, I have used them with guarded success.


End of Part I. Stay tuned for Part II: Retreat and Re-calibrate the Route