Sunday, August 1, 2010

RAGBRAI - Wednesday

I wake up feeling terrible. The fireworks that went on late into the night and the thunderstorm in the early hours of the morning left me with only 3 hours of sleep. The last few days I had only felt queasy when I was off the bike, while the breeze of riding had kept my stomach settled while I rode. Today my stomach hurts even when I'm riding. Keeping up with my dad is taking its toll. I'm not used to this riding on so little food and sleep. I'm used to stopping and resting. "Is it hard being so fierce?" I ask him. "What do you mean?" he says. "You know, being fierce, determined, driven, anxious-to-get-there." "It's just the way I'm made," he replies. He agrees to ride a slower pace today to give me a chance to recover after I start to cry when we stop for water. I'm worn out and sick of feeling sick. We take a break and watch the riders who had paid to swing out and splash down into a pond.

We ride most of the day at 15 mph side by side. We talk for a bit and this is really nice. At a pass through town I hear my best friend from high school's voice. "Deb!" I call out. We hug and talk for a bit. She notices my swollen lower lip which is cracked and peeling and suggests I carry chapstick in my bra to apply as I ride. Soon, she senses my dad's anxiety to get moving. "Well, I don't want to slow up your pace," she says. "I'll walk you back to your bike." She checks out my bike and then notices my U-lock. "What's this thing on your bike?" she says. "Oh, it's a LOCK! You don't need a lock on RAGBRAI!" How true this is. Tens of thousands of bikes left unlocked all night long. I only locked mine the first night out of habit.

Floyd and Bob

We eat dinner tonight at a church with our campmate Bob. Bob is awesome. He's on his 33rd RAGBRAI and is 77 years old. I eat dinner at a respectable pace (although it is still a real effort) thanks to the couple of beers I had before we went to dinner. I'm learning how to eat in this heat. Dad congratulates me on the accomplishment.

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