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Old 07-12-20, 08:35 PM
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It's good to be up north in July: while home in Texas is seeing temperatures over 100, while staying with family in Iowa, the forecast was a comfortable high of just 83, with a cool wind from the north. It was an easy choice to head out for the century of the month. With my close family's homes being about 60 miles apart, I saw an opportunity to try a point-to-point route, with a bit of exploring along the way.

The goal was southeast, nearly to the Mississippi River; I started the morning heading east. The roads were quiet enough that I stayed mostly on paved county routes. (Gravel roads in Iowa make a nice escape from traffic, when necessary.) The weather was cool enough that my 50 ounces of water was easy enough to conserve, even with some of Iowa's steeper hills. The view from the top was breathtaking, for a prairie -- the road twisted lazily away into the horizon, a perfect candidate for an "Empty Road Ahead" photo.

After taking some new-to-me turns (of which I could only recall thanks to my GPS), I accidentally ended up adjacent to US Highway 30. Luckily, an alternative was readily available -- a minimum maintenance "B" road, but thankfully in reasonably good shape. The detour was welcomed, as I still needed to round up a few extra miles to make a full century.

Less than 10 miles of gravel and I was somewhat glad to be back on the pavement. I was getting closer to home, and the options for the rest of the route were becoming more familiar. A few turns -- north into the wind for a bit -- provided a chance to chase down some Personal Records from previous years. Surprised, I actually broke a few of those records too (at about mile 90, no less). I rolled home about 3:00 -- nearly a 7-hour day; fast, but probably thanks, in part, to having a general tailwind for the day. Overall, aside from a hefty dose of ultraviolet, it was an excellent day, especially considering August's century will likely have to be under the Texas sun.

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