It's hard to take pictures while bike riding.
Somehow, for the last few months, I have had it in my head that the two days of RAGBRAI that we were doing were about 50 miles each, so 100 miles total.
Um, no. I was off by about 20%. By the end, we had ridden 120 miles - 65 miles on the first day and 55 miles on the second.
It surprisingly was not as hard as I thought it would be (considering my longest rides have been only 40 miles!) I figured it couldn't be that bad given the wide array of people who ride the whole 450+ miles. But still! It was intimidating.
Kori and I met up with Al in Independence IA on Thursday night and got our tents set up. Note that Kori might be the second friend I lose due to my complete inability to set up a tent - this is why I am a civil engineer who should never be allowed to actually build anything. Then we attempted to enjoy the entertainment, got rained on, ran back to our tents and spent the night listening to rain and thunder and trying to avoid the puddle in our tent. I love getting all my stuff wet on the first day!
We woke up at 6am the next day (hard to sleep in on RAGBRAI, unless perhaps you heavily partake at the beer tent), got everything packed up and left town at 7ish. We were supposed to meet up with Jessica, but things were pretty crazy, so the three of us took off on our own.
RAGBRAI is fun! Everyone talks to everyone else and is so friendly and it is so low key that 65 miles really felt pretty easy. We weren't trying to go fast, just tooling along. We stopped in the second town and ate corn for breakfast. We pedaled along through the next town and then stopped in the town after that for lunch (each town is about ten miles apart). It was all so relaxed and somehow we still managed to average almost 14 mph for the day (my 40 miles rides are usually in the low 15s). We arrived in Dyersville at 2pm and it seemed like there was no way we had gone 65 miles already!
For those not in the know, Dyersville is where Field of Dreams was filmed ("Is this heaven? No, it's Iowa!") I wanted to go do the tourist thing and go to the baseball field, but then I got lazy. Or rather I had no desire to ride my bike the few miles there as exhaustion started to set in. So we got dinner, went to a concert, and crashed.
After a fun first day, we were ready to tackle the second shorter day. Oddly, we managed to meet up with Jessica's dad in the campground (even though we had never met the man before, nor made plans to do so - he just overheard us mention Jessica's name). The first fifteen miles were hilly, but fun! Some mild climbing, but plenty of coasting to make up for it. We stopped for breakfast and I had my one and only piece of pie of the trip (coconut cream, yum!) I heard much rumors of pie on RAGBRAI, but there were pie shortages all around!
After breakfast, things went downhill. Or rather uphill. And uphill some more. The next 25 miles were miserable. I thought my legs might possibly fall off. You'd get to the top of a hill and there would be more hill! None of the hills were steep, but they just kept going. You'd climb for what felt like an eternity at 6 mph and you got to coast for a little bit, but the climbing outweighed the coasting. We stopped twice in that 25 miles and when we arrived in the last town before the end, I had never been more ecstatic. We must have stopped for 45 minutes.
There was a huge hill to climb up to get out of town. This was not fun. But once we got to the top, the coasting finally outweighed the climbing for the last 15 miles. Of course there was a headwind the rest of the way, but as long as it wasn't hills, I didn't care! There were times where I didn't have to pedal for a mile. At one point, I had to brake because I was already above 40 mph with the end of the hill still a long way off. I heart downhills.
I have never been so glad to finish a bike ride. But I figure I can probably consider that good enough for bike training for my Oly tri in two weeks! Think I can not get on my bike until then? My girly parts would love me if I stayed off the bike!
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