Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Day Three

My third day of this year's ride was a real switch up for me. I rode the entire paved route! As I lay in my impromptu "tent" on Monday night, listening to the previously mentioned Hair Metal/Oldies band killing some good old music (think Skid Row covering China Grove and you're getting an idea) I crumbled to the sense that I really did need to get home in one piece, and had nothing to prove to anyone else by riding off-route again. Mix up a hot cup of troublesome bottom bracket, a dead cell phone, heat index of 110 plus, (for any British readers, the plus here is humidity in the range of tropical areas, which adds to the misery of the heat) and an original plan to ride only gravel all the way back to Boone, and I had to reach the conclusion of riding the route to home. How, and who, would I call if I heat bonked or had a mechanical?
"911, what is your emergency?"
"I'm too hot...."
"Sir?"
"I'm too hot?"
"OK, so is everyone else in half of America. What is your location?"
"I'm riding my bike on a gravel road somewhere East of Carroll."
"Good luck with that sir. Have a nice day." Click/death/decay.
So I just rode along with the herd and took advantage of the food and beverage accommodations that come every 5 miles or so on RAGBRAI. I kid you not, I have never felt like I needed to drink water as much as I did on this last day. I drained my 3 litre Camelback, a 1 litre bottle, and several Gatorades. As I approached the infamous Twister Hill on the edge of Boone (so named because it was used in the filming of the movie Twister, and infamous because it is unrelentingly steep and long!) I thought it was going to be easy to get home. I resigned my pride and decided to walk the hill since my bottom bracket was crunching even on flat sections. I sat down at the top and had a couple of bottles of ice water from the family that was selling them in their yard. When I was done and thought I would be home in 15 minutes or so, I noticed that I had stopped sweating. Strange, I should be pouring out sweat today, hmm. Body shutting down perhaps? Pushing the envelope? NAHHH, I'm invincible, right? 45 is the new 20 man!
So it was back on the bike, take it slow, and just get home! And to my absolute delight, my wife and sons were waiting on the edge of town for me to come in. They had been sitting since mid-morning watching the droves of people come in, shouting out encouragement, and even helping with traffic control! There were some ice cubes in a cooler, which I held to my scorched melon and blissfully realized that I was home again. Ahhh, Boone Iowa. Home. Family. And as it so often goes, I said to myself, "I don't want to ever do that again!" only to realize 20 minutes later that I can't wait for next year. Keep your knees in the breeze! Later!

2 comments:

MrDaveyGie said...

awesome read, I know the feelings. "I will never do this again" but we wake and take on the next challenge on a bicycle, ride on.

Matthew Moggridge said...

Hey Greg! Sounds good and I like your writing style too. Must be nice to have your family welcome you back and, hey, you're still making me long for that whole sleeping rough thing. I'd love to ride the RAGBRAI, perhaps next year, who knows? If you get a call from sound English dude, you'll know it's me. Mind you, it could be like a Western - the English dude in Boone asking for a guy named Greg. Instead of a horse, I'll have the Kona.

Keep well, my friend. Loved your thoughts on Libya too - amazing how Gadaffy Duck has eluded the rebels.