Tuesday, July 27, 2010

RAGBRAI - Sunday

When I lived in Iowa in the nineties, the state motto was, "Iowa - A Place to Grow." Sometime before I left they changed it to "Iowa. You Make Me Smile." I always liked "A Place To Grow" better, but maybe they didn't like all the flood t-shirts in 1993 that said "A Place to Row." Needless to say, I was hoping that this ride would be a growing experience for me, in my riding and in my relationship with my dad.

Dad wakes me up at 5:45 am. This is WAY too late. By the time we get all packed up, I do my back exercises and we pump up the tires on the bikes it is 7 am. There are thousands of bicyclists on the road. It is swarming with all kinds of people going different speeds. We hit GIANT rollers. Imagine doing 2/3 of Mt. Tabor for most of 65 miles (okay it did flatten out a bit at the end). Dad and I can't seem to stay together. I'm faster going up and he's faster going down. We keep passing each other and when one of us looks back for the other we yell out "I'm here."

At one point we stop at the bottom of a hill all of the sudden. I'm in totally the wrong gear and when I get back on my chain drops. "Dad!" I yell out as I unclip just in time. He pulls over about 30 feet ahead. A very nice young man stops to put my chain back on. "I need a break, anyway," he says. We put it in a low gear there and I yell out, "I'm here" as I catch up to my dad.

He doesn't see me pass him on the hill (riding all the way on the left side of the two lanes [the oncoming lane] - as I did most of the day). He stops to wait at the next stop sign. I stop about a hundred yards ahead and call him. We meet again and ride this way - passing each other - back and forth on the hills. This is not how I imagined RAGBRAI being. I want to ride together as a team.

We get in to Storm Lake after 74 miles (my longest ride yet) and I feel high and weird. I call my husband and he says to eat so I eat a bar and drink a Gatorade. Then I take a shower at the shower truck and go to the hotel next to our campsite to use the bathroom. Walking back from the bathroom, I stop and puke my guts out. Several times (it even came out my nose). Oh man, I do not feel good.

I spend the next 5 hours sipping water and Sprite. The nice girl at the hotel saw me throw up and the next time I come to use the bathroom she runs to the kitchen to get me a bag of saltine crackers. Around 6pm I get in some convenience store (and therefore bland) food. It takes me 30 minutes to eat a poptart, but over the course of the night I managed to get in some crackers, cheese, cookies and pop tarts. It probably takes me 2 hours of slow, careful chewing to do that. I sleep fitfully and worry about tomorrow's 80-mile day.

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