The blog will be taking a week off as I head out to ride my way across Iowa on my bicycle. It is RAGBRAI time; the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, now in its 40th year. When it started, it had no more than 300 riders. This year, more than 18,000 will participate and another 10,000 will be present in support roles. Each day’s ride will vary from as few as 49 miles to as many as 85 (with an option to ride 104 that day, for those hardy enough to wish to ride a “Century”). We overnight in small towns along the way, bringing needed tourism dollars to small Iowa farming communities, and basically eating each city out of house and home. There will be pie. Lots of pie. And we will see stalwarts such as Mr. Pork Chop, Pastafari, Tom’s Tender Turkey (Always a good one because you can by a glass of iced tea with actual ice in it, and on a hot day that can be, well, orgasmic), Farm Boys (great breakfast burritos), and shave ice.
This is an ecumenical ride. Young or old, heavy or thin, people come out and ride. They ride road bikes, mountain bikes, hybrids, fixed-wheel bikes, really old bikes, recumbent bikes, trikes, and crank forward bikes. I bet you did not know there were this many kinds of bikes! There will be tandems, triples and one family riding a bicycle with 5 people on it. There will be the bike that looks like a banana. One that has a sail. There will be $14,000 Pinarello Dogma bikes. And people wearing cow outfits, on bikes that are spotted.
There will be cornfields, with I really, really hope good corn- it is supposed to be hot and this drought is truly troubling. Average high temperatures for the next week may reach 98 degrees. We will sweat, a lot. We will eat lots of bratwurst, and drink our share of beer and Gatorade. More of the latter than the former, of course.
I learn a lot from riding. Biking has made me healthy, and I have trained. I’ve ridden close to 3000 miles since January 1 and so I am hoping that the daily travels will go well, even if hot. But I have trained, a reminder of the importance of doing so for my other roles here at the college.
So, I will end with the old joke: “How is your RAGBRAI training going? “Great! I am up to 4 pieces of pie a day!”