Day Two

The most important weather element to me on this trip was wind. More than heat or humidity. Wind. The wind for Day 2 was going to be from the south. Since a portion of the day was headed north that would be helpful. Also as shown by the GeoBike chart, the route from Storm Lake to Algona is flat. Easy day ahead?

Heck I was feeling so good I had my picture taken with Pocahontas in Pocahontas.

That is a Bloody Mary in my hand. Maybe that was why I was feeling so good. I had read many times about the pies on RAGBRAI. I had never read about the Bloody Mary Specials along the route. On Day 2 Bloody Marys became a habit. One in the morning and one in the afternoon. I really started to look forward to them. They were a treat from the water and Gatorade.

Day two will stick in my memory for all the ambulance sirens. There was one stretch of bad roads which caused some accidents but the sirens were all day long. Veteran riders blamed some of the accidents on unregistered riders clogging the road and swerving when they shouldn’t. I can’t say.

Toward the end of the day I received a couple encouraging words from other riders. That surprised me. Prior to that I was largely ignored except for comments about the comfortable seat.

I had signed up for a tent service where my tent would be set up for me each day by the time I got to each overnight town. When I arrived in camp in Algona I was informed by the tent crew one of my tent poles had broken. Instead of having a one man tent I now had a 1/2 man tent. They would try to cobble it together each day but if the front end broke also I would be out of a tent altogether. Just what I didn’t want to hear. I had dreaded the idea of camping or whatever you want to call it. Now I had a bum tent. Every single day for the rest of the week I worried if I would have a tent set up when I got to the next town. I saw dozens of tents like mine spread across the grounds during the week. Mine was the only similar tent  that was broken. Hours each day would be spent worrying about that damn tent. Sure there were stores somewhere that probably had new tents. But where would they be and who had the time and energy to go looking, unless absolutely necessary?

While preparing for the next day a multi-year veteran RAGRAI rider approached and started to talk to me. “How much does that trike weigh?” he asked.

I said I thought I had read someplace it was 65 pounds.

“How many speeds?

“Three”

In all seriousness he then asked, “Do you know what the hell you are doing here?”

Very tired and with a bum tent I replied, “Not really. I’m just an old paper shuffler and this is the first physical challenge of my life.  Up until a year ago at this time the trike had never gone over one mile at a time.”

He then explained. My riding a 65 pound, three speed trike 80 miles that day was equivalent to him or anyone else on RAGBRAI riding 200 miles on their bikes. No wonder I was tired. He expressed doubt I would be able to sustain that pace. It would be near impossible. I now knew why I was the only big trike on RAGBRAI. I wasn’t trying to just accomplish my goal of riding RAGBRAI, I was trying to accomplish the “near impossible.”  I never planned on trying to accomplish the “near impossible.” But it sure explained to me why everyone else had more energy than I did at day’s end.

I decided to take the Shuttle bus to the food vendor area. I needed to eat and it was too far to walk. While on the bus I talked with my seat mate. When he learned I was the guy on the trike he started to ask the same kind of questions I had just answered. He said he would never attempt to accomplish what I was trying to do. The earlier encouraging words on the road were starting to make sense to me.

Later that night I laid awake in my 1/2 tent pondering the situation. I had just completed two of the three longest days of the ride. The next day was easier and the day after that easier than that. If I had made the first two days I knew I could make the next two even if I was trying to do the “near impossible.”  I’ll show them. I trained over 2300 miles the past year getting ready for this trip.  I decided … “Near Impossible” … bring it on.

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