Still Winter

Here it is on April 22 and we still have snow on the ground. No riding in April so far. What a horrible spring. Bad weather, lingering cold/cough/crud. Sure glad I’m not in training for RAGBRAI this year. I would be way behind schedule.



I was able to get out over the weekend. Five miles both on Saturday and Sunday. I sure could  feel I hadn’t been on the trike for a while. Today? Six inches of snow predicted. Might be a couple more days before I can get out again.

The end of the year

The snow has come. I took the speedometer/odometer off the trike. My total for the year is 2661.

What to do next year is now on my mind. I’m not riding RAGBRAI but I need some kind of goal. I need something to train for not just ride. But I am stumped just what that goal should be.

Iowa ride is a journey to hospitality

One man’s description of RAGBRAI from Wenatchee, WA.

Sounds like he may be up to riding it again.

RAGBRAI 2012 – Day 7

Anamosa to Clinton. A ride of 69 miles with a smattering of semi big hills but mostly small to moderate. A cool day in the mid 80’s forecast with a slight NW wind at our back. The goal was to be in Clinton by 2:00 at the latest so we could get on the road back home. If possible I was going to try to make it by 1:00. I told Bruce I wouldn’t race to the finish but wouldn’t dawdle either. I left camp at 4:30. I had coffee and breakfast by 5:00. I was ready to roll.


As I left Anamosa the sign said “You are entering Grant Wood Country.” The artist most famous for the painting American Gothic. As an orange glow started to appear in the east, the sound of a rooster crowing could be heard. Believe it or not roosters still do crow at dawn.  As I rode, and looked over the rolling countryside and listened to the rooster, it was truly a Grant Wood moment.

The rest of the ride was unremarkable. No big hills to climb toward the end. The hardest days of the ride were long behind us.

When I reached the dip site I quickly realized I wouldn’t be dipping my tire in the Mississippi River. I could have but I didn’t know how long it would take and it was already 1:00 and I still had to find Bruce. It didn’t matter that much to me.

I had completed RAGBRAI again. This time I had corrected many mistakes I made the first time and was very content with myself. Very content. Except for sunburned lips it was a  fun week. Just out there blissfully ignorantly riding for a full week.  Yes, very, very content.

Would I do it again? Sure. But I’m not planning on it. Like I said I’m content. I took on this challenge twice and won both times.

But I’ve had a few friends over the past couple of years tell me they might like to try it?

Or maybe drive for me?

So maybe.

RAGBRAI 2012 – Day 6

A short little ride of 42 miles from Cedar Rapids to Anamosa.  A well deserved short day.

Something happens on RAGBRAI when a short day is planned. It seems riders come out of the ditches to ride. There are 10,000 registered riders each day on the ride but on some days the number of riders can reach 15,000 – 20,000. These are bandits adding to the numbers. Riders who didn’t register. Thousands of them came out this day. More young kids on the ride than have been on the ride all week. The pass through towns were so packed it was hard to even walk through.

Throughout the week I received comments about my trike. A comment or two each day. “Nice ride” or “nice rig” they would say.  I never heard a comment like that two years ago. Not one. This trike had a little more respect on the road than my last trike.

Bruce and I went downtown in the afternoon. I had arrived in Anamosa shortly after noon. I stayed with him a couple of hours and then went back to camp. It was a short day but I still needed a rest. He wanted to party. I didn’t.

While laying in bed I could hear the band playing blocks away in the entertainment area. I don’t know who the band was but they had the crowd whipped into a frenzy. Combine a short day and the last night on the road and that is what you can get.

One day to go.

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?