July 24, 2011

RAGBRAI prelude

as you know all too well, dear reader, I avoid posting items of a personal nature...but for reasons I'm not entirely clear on, I've decided to post the bicycle trip thread of the following week to here...

normally this diatribe would go over to wenderbender, but I'm thinking of folding that entire operation over here--especially since jetblue had canceled all you can jet....so I might was well see how that feels.

hopefully this isn't a sign of me getting completely out of hand..if so, and I ultimately end up posting pictures of myself flashing gang symbols while drunk, do my readership a favor and just kill me...in fact, I'll go one step further -- kill me if you think that *might* happen.

having said all that...

my brother and I have talked about riding the register's annual great bicycle ride across across iowa (RAGBRAI) for years...since this is year is the 39th, we've probably considered it like something since the third or 4th year...

for reasons I'm not clear on (and don't actually care about), a bunch of people b1-67er did the american lung association big ride across america (the big ride) with have decided to do this year's RAGBRAI...and THAT is reason enough for me to give it a go...

entry is through a lottery system, but most people get chosen (it may even be true that if one person on a team gets chosen, all people get chosen)...

ultimately, the method doesn't matter...we learned several weeks ago that out group had been chosen.

the ride's something on the order of 400 miles spread across 7 days.  in colorado terms (where I learned to ride) the terrain would be considered dead flat.

it's also hot and humid.  I heard on the radio on the way in to greenwood, IA  this evening that the temperature will run from 85-100 tomorrow.  I have no idea what the humidity well be, but there's been extensive flooding in the immediate area, so 85%+ is a safe bet.

you may wonder what all this means to me...

there's a blog posting on the RAGBRAI web site from a week ago friday that said "if you haven't started training yet, you're too late."  on the very day that was posted, i had not ridden my road bike in a decade.

I have, however, ridden it 5 times since then.

I asked king feddy what he thought my odds of completing the ride were, and there was this long, pregnant pause. l-o-n-g.  not his normal surfer I'm-rich-but-I'll-act-like-I'm-not pause, but something closer to how-EXACTLY-do-i-tell-my-mom-her-boobs-look-saggy-in-that-dress pause.

but 4 key things come into play here.

1. I am the world's greatest armchair athlete.  I can sit around, do nothing, and then fare well in a ride like this.  I've climbed MANY 14,000' peaks.  I've swam from alcatraz twice.  I rode my bike 4x before riding across america.  after that, I didn't ride for a year newbie I did ride the rockies.  and then I didn't ride for a year before I did the next ride the rockies.

2. the reason I can do this is partially due to freak physiology...i have super-longevity on my family...my testing heart rate is 45 bears per minute...and...

3. stuff like this is 95% a mental game and 5% equipment.  when you've got a forehead the size of mine, mental games aren't that tough.

4. oh yeah, AND I'm actually in pretty good shape right now.  I do something aerobic at least three days a week.  I do pushups (out more) two days a week..

now it's true that, aside from wearing a chain out and replacing it, I have never tuned this bike.  and it's true too that my cycling shoes delaminated the first day I rode them last week.  and it's also true that my ultegra sifters swallowed my rear derailleur cable for completely unknown reasons...

but I honestly don't think I'm being *overly* hopeful when I say that I'm not expecting troubles.

this ride is gigantic.  10,000+ people.  the mere size of the ride will dwarf many of the towns we ride through.  it is a plague of locusts that is welcomed by town businesses, but shunned by the townsfolk forced to deal with a busload of lycra clad 20-somethings in a pink school bus with a reindeer on top, along with 9,970 others.

my original plan was to post a map here of my exact location as I went...but the technology is just a touch too complicated...and you have to be careful or (just like 24hotv 2) technology will dominate the center and completely take over.

focus is important.

I'll probably be on the road in a little more than 8 hours...

...and I'm the last to bed...

...this won't be the last time this happens on this ride.


Blogger kingfeddy said...


Where do you come up with such nonsense?

My biggest (only?) concern is your bike that you haven't touched in 10 years. It may fall apart just like your shoe.

I was running through all the things that might stop working during your ride and the odds that you could fix/replace what broke. It was taking a long time because there is a lot that could go wrong, but the calculations were complicated by this being a big ride, with lots of people who may have bike smarts around, not to mention, the ride organizers may prepare for a large number of people showing up who neglect their bikes and are clueless when it comes to service. So maybe there is the equivalent of a full service bike shop that follows along the route.

Your bike is older than 10 years, so that may complicate the spare parts availability. The bike industry is currently moving forward quickly, obsoleting old technology for no good reason (8->9->10->11 tooth cogs/derailleurs for example).

I see you having no trouble riding 60 flat miles a day for a week. Ten miles per hour is super leisurely, so even stopping for a couple hours to pig out and you're still done in 8 hours. Your butt may be sore on day 2, 3, 4 after not riding for so long, but you're a tough guy.

I hope you have fun.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011 10:49:00 AM  

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