Today began like any normal day on HBC, with the grand task of consuming a half gallon of vanilla ice cream. Okay, maybe not that normal, but definitely typical of our HBC shenanigans of late. Long story short, Darrow dared Brian to finish a huge tub of ice cream during breakfast. Being the manly man Brian is, he stepped up to the challenge -- and with his manliness preserved, Brian proceeded to bike for the rest of the day. We all learned a useful lesson from Brian’s determination, although he did indeed finish the ride: ice cream + 60ish miles = not a very good idea. But he’s still alive!
Ride-wise, our day was perfectly uneventful (a nice change from recent craziness involving ditches and rain). The route from Ames to Jefferson was slightly hilly, with roads surrounded by – drumroll please – miles and miles of corn. I think we’ve all really begun to appreciate the fields of corn we’ve been passing in Iowa: not only do they make excellent pee spots (watching the helmets slowly crop up out of the stalks is one of the funniest daily sights), but they truly have begun to look more and more like oceans as the acreages increase and the fields extend straight into the horizon.
Yet the day took a turn for the better once we all settled down in Jefferson, a small town with a rich history (the seemingly small town actually rests upon 200 million dollars in bank deposits, thriving insurance businesses, beans and corn, was the site of the film Twister, and is home to one of two tofu factories in the world – a fact that Andy was particularly excited about). And during a lovely dinner at the United Methodist Church we learned about some of the delicacies of the Midwest: ham balls, casseroles, and Jefferson’s own award-winning twinkie cake, which we had the pleasure of sampling for dessert. And after dinner, a seemingly-normal HBC day transformed a fantastical adventure when we visited Jefferson’s main attraction, the Mahanay Bell Tower, a 162 foot tall concrete obelisk at the center of town. During a compelling presentation by the tower’s guides, we learned about the history and importance of the tower to the town. Celebrated by the annual Bell Tower Festival, the famous tower attracts both residents and foreigners to Jefferson by the religious and patriotic tunes of its 14 cast bells. We had the pleasure of riding the tower’s elevator to the observation deck, where we had the chance to see the sites of Greene County for miles – an absolutely unforgettable and enthralling experience.
Pumped up from our VIP tour, Trevor, Matt and Nick did what any normal biker would do at 9pm….shave his legs. Actually, in the competitive spirit of “brohood,” the boys got the girls to each shave one leg (yes, seriously) as a contest to see who could outperform the others in best shave. The judges (Severin, Kathleen, and Andy, a shaving veteran) measured the legs by closest shave, remaining hairs, and lack of cuts. In what became an oddly heated competition, Matt’s legs took the title of “best overall,” yet Nick’s legs won the “individual” category. Since this is my blog, I’ll take a second to brag – my leg (Nick’s right leg) received the most votes, making me the individual shaving. Yes, I know, I am incredibly skilled. (Mom, you should be proud).
Happy and hairless, we then went to bed. What a great day to be a bulldog.
(shout out to my friends and family – I miss yous!)