July 25, 2011

RAGBRAI 2011 day 1

the topography of IA is such that the bumper portions are near the rivers...that means that the beginning and end days tend to be the hardest.

65 miles of rolling hills, with about a mile of elevation gain total was the order of the day...

I slept terribly last night...three hours, interrupted...but even so, that was three hours more than I got before the big ride in 1998 AND I had to cross the cascades in the snow that day...

relatively speaking, this should be a snap.

even though I was awake, involuntarily, at 05:00, through a series involving lazing in bed, repacking/experimenting with my bag and the most ignoble of sins, not knowing where the luggage truck actually was, my brother and our mutual friend (richard - who also happens to be my brother's brother-in-law) didn't hit the road until 07:45.

we rode packed together for a bit, but it wasn't long before richard and I had split from my brother...and then before we became split from each other.

10,000 people is a massive number and the focus of many people is either food, music, drinking, our some combination thereof.

riding in the pack feels like being a single leg on a millipede and you have to pay constant and continual attention to people near and in front of you.

I've ridden the vast majority of my life solo... and it's not that I don't know how to ride in a pack (I'm actually pretty good at it) it's that psychologically it washes me a little bit.

after downing a sugar pepsi, and two granola bars, pre-ride, i made my first stop several miles in to have a "breakfast bowl" -- scrambled eggs, sausage and hash browns (covered with cheese), chased by a yogurt/granola parfait, and washed by two bottles of gatorade.

and then it wasn't much further down the road before I pulled over for free beer.  yes it's true that I barely drink -and don't drink beer at all-, but when else am I going to get endorsed booze on this ride?

the fact that it was 10:30 in the morning had  absolutely no bearing on my answer.

from there, it was rolling hills, (state fair winning) honey lemonade, a few bottles of water (including some donated by evangelical christians) and GREAT homemade ice cream (made by gasoline-powered one-stroke engine stirrers).

my brother and I ran across each other twice...once in a random convenience store and once after I'd paid a visit to "mr. medicine man" top up my sunscreen.

the end of the rode for hotter and we began to get a mild head wind...the last 15 miles were nothing more than a hopeful, tiring slog.

hitting town also brought on the confusion of, for the second time today, not knowing where the luggage truck was...this resulted in a 1 mile, 15% grade and completely unnecessary detour.

I set up my tent like a zombie...negotiated with richard and my brother over food -- finally deciding on the easy answer of pizza hut...in between making runs to charge my cell phone and replace my now-nearly-completely failed shoes.

but all that AC?  and all that ice tea?  it's what the doctor ordered.

hot showers were 5 bucks, but I ciudad get a cold one with a swimming pool admission...which is what I did.

grit off -including the salt that'd developed from the ride- and some dermal osmosis was the right answer.

so was bed.