Tuesday, September 23, 2008

RAGBRAI Traditions

For whatever reason, both MapQuest and Google Maps failed to give accurate distances on what became a short but windy 58 mile day. We left at sunrise to avoid most of the wind. As you can see from the picture of pond algae the wind was strong enough to push it all to the north end. Most of the day we went west or south. Oh well. In terms of the weather, for long distance biking, it’s best to say “It is what it is.”

Probably because we’re back in Iowa, several of the days’ activities seemed associated with RAGBRAI traditions. The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is a week long ride across the state of about 10,000 people. I’ve completed five of them. I’ve included a picture Ron and Mary are taking our version of a sag stop. On RAGBRAI, this would be in a town. We would have purchased food from a local vendor before returning to our support vehicle to swap stories of the morning. There’s a picture of me walking out of a corn field, another RAGBRAI tradition practiced by many. Finally, we had a couple miles of gravel. This seems to happen at least once a year on RAGBRAI. For the Renewing Spirits Bicycle Tour, this means I’ve ridden on Interstate highway, four lane roads, and two lane roads and now gravel.

Tomorrow will be about 67 miles home on familiar roads. Oddly, it doesn’t feel like the end of a journey. This is probably due to being home twice already, once after the accident and again just four weeks ago. It’s as though I should stop in, take care of a few things, and leave for yet another section of the ride.

Paradoxically, I can’t wait for tomorrow morning. I think I’ll be like a horse headed to the barn. I’ll gladly let Ron draft off me the whole way. Rain is coming this evening. The weather radar shows a narrow but intense red band north to south across the entire state. Tomorrow the temperature is to be in the mid to upper seventies with little to no wind, perfect conditions for a leg burning, lung busting finish.

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