Archive for November, 2013

PostHeaderIcon LIFE BIKE Eleven

July 24-30, 1994
The 1994 ride began in Council Bluffs for the third time on July 24 and ended in Clinton for the third time on July 30. Overnight stops were Harlan, which had hosted riders in 1976 and 1983; Carroll and Perry, which each put out the welcome mat for the riders for the third time; Marshalltown, which had not seen the riders since RAGBRAI in 1974; Marion, which hosted the riders for the first time; and Maquoketa, the beautiful eastern Iowa town which hosted the riders for the first time since 1978. Nearly everyone agrees that this RAGBRAI enjoyed some of the best weather ever “temperatures of 75-80 degrees each day with low humidity and a tailwind on most days. Riders got to ride through fifty five wonderful Iowa towns on this ride.

BLOG that gives the overall flavor of that which is RAGBRAI.

In preparation for RAGBRAI, I rode 1400 training miles. Did you read that?  One thousand four hundred miles.I rode everywhere, trails and roads.  Busy highway, flat trails, hills  and lonely blacktop highways in Kansas and Missouri were my home.  I rode a couple of hours on weekdays and after work;  Twenty plus miles conditioning rides on the weekends.  I rode by myself and in group rides.  I remember once or twice I had to call my husband to come and rescue me because I became totally exhausted.  I have every  bike gadget possible.  My speedometer shows everything, including altitude.  I like to know when I’m climbing hills.  The speedometer keeps track of my miles, average speed, top speed everything possible that gadgetry could do in the early 90′s.  I have enough bike clothing to wear for at least 6 months…24/7.

During this time, I graduated to click on shoes.  Finally, I was attached to my pedals.  I had force when my foot went down and when it came up.  Oh laugh, Shawnee Mission rangers!

I was ready.  I hooked up with two other women, one of whom worked for SSA and the wife of a SSA employee from Lebanon, Missouri.  We met at the first town and our friendship blossomed and turned deep through the hard fought miles and fun of RAGBRAI.

My mother and father delivered me to Council Bluffs.  We went to the Missouri river and dipped my tires.  RAGBRAI was about to happen!  I had my tent, my sleeping bag, battery fan, clothes, necessary stuff and my bike. They delivered me to the camp ground at Council Bluffs.  When I left work on my  last day, someone said, “Have Fun!”

“Have fun?”,  I thought.  I was going to be biking nearly 70 miles every day, one day would be a hundred miles so why would anyone think I was going to have fun?  All I was trying to do was live through the experience.  However, RAGBRAI is as much fun as one human being can stand. RAGBRAI food is the best food on the planet.  Between the pork man, church lady food and small town vendor food, it was a culinary adventure.  Most people lost weight.  I gained weight and it made me happy.  The towns (most of the fifty five towns) all had stuff going on.  They had games, entertainment, and wondrous food…and porta potties!  I had a lot of fun.

The miles between towns had acres and acres of corn fields which served the riders as natural porta poties.  It’s just like the movie…you walk into the July Iowa corn fields and disappear in about three rows.  it’s a whole separate universe out there in the middle of a field thick with 12′ high green and gold corn stalks.  One of the days, I made it to a town and a porta potty.  When I peeled off my sweaty wet shorts, I discovered a long green corn stalk had attached to my rump during the last stop in the corn field. I was so sweaty, the stalk had melted into a soft wet think and matched perfectly to my skin…which was soft and wet.  ha!.  I never felt anything until I peeled it off my rump.  I should have kept it as a souvenir!

The Des Moines Register newspaper is the sponsor for the ride.  You sign up with them and hope you make the lottery for them to carry your tent, bag and sleeping gear.  I had made it.  Every time I came into the overnight host town, I searched among the big piles for my tent, sleeping bag, pillow, “blankie”, blowup mattress and my essentials bag.

There are a lot of fit young riders who burn the RAGBRAI candle at both ends.  They like to have a few drinks during the day at the town bars and a few more after they arrive in the overnight host town.  I was sleeping soundly and happily in my tent one night when an inebriated person was a little too tipsy and fell on my tent.  Good GAD!  I was pinned to my mattress until the person could get up.  My tent was half collapsed.  By the time I struggled out of tent, the tipsy guy was out of sight.  Good thing for him as I was spoiling for a good yell at a drunk.  tsk tsk.

I made the 100 mile day which is a feat of total amazement for someone like me.  Going down hills, I was faster than most because both me and my bike were “heavy”.  The bike had the thinnest slickest tires that it could handle for the long roads.  It was a mountain converted to road bike.

Finally, the last day appeared.  It was probably the shortest milage day.  My parents were waiting for me in Clinton.  We went to the river and dipped my tires into the Mississippi River.  We loaded everything into the van and I slept most of the way back home.  Total Awesome Success…a Life Event of Success!


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