RAGBRAI 2012 – Day 5

The last of 3 consecutive 80+ miles days.  I got to bed late last night because of the storm and didn’t get riding until 5:30.

Unlike the past couple of days the pass through towns at the start of today were few and far between. The first three towns out of Marshalltown were 15, 17.2 and 17.3 miles. That caused a couple of problems. First I couldn’t find coffee in Marshalltown. When I stopped for a breakfast of biscuits and gravy at an American Legion in Garwin I asked if they had coffee. The big ex-Marine answered in the affirmative. However when I got to the end of the line I found a coffee pot and tiny little restaurant coffee cups. After I downed the first cup I went back for a refill and found none. They had to make a new pot? If I don’t have at least a couple of cups of coffee in the morning I get caffeine withdrawals and a headache to go along with it. I took preemptive measures and popped a couple of aspirin to ward off that problem.

The second problem was the porta potty problem. With the towns spread out there were few porta potties along the route and those that were had long lines. So I took my first dump in a  corn field. Aren’t you glad I told you that?

The storm the night before certainly changed the weather. The temps were lower and the wind direction changed to NW. What a difference. The day was one hill after another but they were all doable and had some great downhill coasts.

A guy wearing a San Francisco Giants jersey passed me. I asked him if Barry Bonds belongs in the Hall of Fame? It touched nerve. He replied “No” and then added, “Those were terrible years for us.” He then peddled off very quickly. Didn’t want to talk about it.

When out on the road you catch little bits and pieces of hundreds of conversations. One of my favorites of the week was when a couple of guys rode by and one of them said, “Well … I’ll just tell her we’re packing our bikes and going to Italy.” I wonder how that conversation went when he got home?

This was not only Day 5 of RAGBRAI this was also Day 5 of my losing contact with the world. No news what was happening in the world except our little world in Iowa. No television to watch. Smart phone signal non-existent. I only read the sports section of the paper to keep up with the Brewers losing streak. For someone whose job is to follow the political news of the day this is a true get away from it all vacation. I realized I hadn’t been this disconnected from the world since RAGBRAI two years ago.

My text message said I would find camp in Ellis Park. While Bruce had found great camping spots before he outdid himself today. I found the tent directly across the street from the Cedar River. What I liked most about the camping location was it was right on the riding route. I would be able to watch riders coming in for hours. In fact they were still coming into town when I went to bed at 9:00.

Bruce told me he found this camping spot at 10:30 in the morning. The early arriving riders were just starting to get into town. Now imagine this. Riders already coming into Cedar Rapids and there are still riders back in Marshalltown, 85 miles away that hadn’t left yet. Literally a string of bikes 85 miles long.

Was the worst of the ride over? Were the high temps a thing of the past? Was the wind going to be a tailwind the rest of the trip? Or would RAGBRAI throw another curve at us?





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