Monday, July 30, 2012

RAGBRAI-- Ups & Downs...

Tonight, I'm writing this as I sit in my hotel room in Cheyenne, WY. I'm on my way back to Utah and have had a week of ups and downs. I first left for my hometown of Cedar Rapids, Iowa; last Thursday evening with an optimistic plan of doing a bit of visiting with family and then doing RAGBRAI.

Well, even the best laid plans seem to change. I did some visiting and started RAGBRAI. I managed the first three days of RAGBRAI. The worst three days as far as heat and humidity that RAGBRAI has ever seen in its 40 years (go figure!). All three days were 99 or above with one day climbing up to 104 degrees with 80% humidity. Oh and did I mention there were winds that were up to 20 mph too? These were some tough days and I really found that the humidity was getting to me.

But I will say that those three days of RAGBRAI were amazing! It was a sea of bicycles as far as the eye could see along the wonderful hilly landscape of Iowa's corn and soybean fields. There were people all along the Iowa roads that were cheering you on; some were selling water, cookies, or almost everything. Some were not selling but giving water out for free, or offering to douse you with their hose, or even others were handing out frozen pops. Main streets in small Iowa towns were closed down just to bicycle traffic and filled up with vendors offer to sell food or wares to the cyclists that came through the town. It was just AMAZING! I don't know how else to describe it.

There were tons of references to corn, soybeans, and pigs.  In fact, some of the signage for the ride had me cracking up.  One advertisement had a sign of showing corn with a picture and then soybeans.  Then underneath it said-- RAGBRAI- Need we say anymore? 

There were plenty of things that would only EVER be seen on RAGBRAI.  There were pink buses that were serving up pork chop sandwiches and plenty of riders were enjoying them at what some may consider the un-Godly hour of 10AM.  As one co-team member put it,"Where else could you have 20 cyclists at 10am sitting on the side of the road eating pork chops and thinking that this was the BEST meal ever?!?!"  

FOOD, food, and more food!  There were hard boil eggs on a stick and bacon on a stick being sold right along with bottled water and gatorade.  There was bicycle jewelry being sold next to temporary tattoos.  Breakfast sandwiches, pancakes with sausage, and tacos with eggs were commonly seen too.  Later on you would see smoothies, pizza, brats, tacos, pies, pastries and almost any kind of food you could EVER think of.  One fellow rider said that this ride was ALL ABOUT THE FOOD!  And from what I saw that was VERY true!

I was rather even surprised by the beer and bloody marys that were being sold at 8AM as you're going along.  There were a few cyclists doing that but it wasn't really a majority as I had almost been lead to believe from the rumors that I heard prior.  Most riders were partaking of those beverages after they were done for the day and then limiting what they consumed because they were riding the next day.  Dehydration was a concern and most cyclist that I met were mindful of that.
Photo: Boys-N-Cars watercolor I did of my nephews for a Father's Day present.
The youngest one here is the one with dark hair.

My second day was the worst. I had received a phone call from my little brother the night before that my youngest nephew had passed away due to complications after a surgery. He was only 13 years old. I was rather a bit of a basket case that day and only managed to ride 47 miles of the 85 miles that I should have rode. My head and heart just were not in it. I found I could not keep food down and when you are riding that is NEVER a good sign to have. I ended up getting SAG'd in that day. I did manage the next day's ride but then had to call for help when I was brain dead trying to find the host house. The combo of riding 84 miles with 104 degree humid heat just left me STUPID.

Wednesday night I managed to get a ride back to my mom's. I had opted not to ride on Thursday to give my body a bit of a break but I also needed to be back for a viewing(Friday) and funeral(Saturday). That basically meant that RAGBRAI was over for me. I was disappointed BUT I needed to be else where.  Jerryd my upbeat little nephew who always had a smile will be missed.  Only the good die young and in this case that statement is very true.  He always had a smile and seemed to be easy to please.  Rest in peace little man!


  1. So sorry for your loss..... I hope his smile will live forever in your heart.

  2. Shelly,
    Thank you. That is such a lovely thought! I hope that his smile lives in my heart forever too.