Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

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RAGBRAI XLI Day 3: Perry to Des Moines

What a day. After sleeping like a rock I woke up for the 45 minute trip back to Perry from the hotel. Saw yet another terrific sunrise. I see them almost every day with my work schedule, but I never ever tire of them. Every day I get to see a sun rise is another day I'm alive :)

Anyway, we got back to Perry, and I met up with two of Billy Jo's cousins, Shawn and Christine, and Shawn's husband Joe, and Christine's sister-in-law Kathy. They all live in the area and joined me for today's ride. It was great to see them. 


Me, Shawn, Joe, Kathy, Christine

We got a bit later start today. Well, late for me anyway. What a difference 6:15 to 7:15 makes. Wow was it crowded. The first town had more people than I have ever seen on RAGBRAI before.

Today was much better in all ways. 30 miles less, less than a third of the hills, 65 and cloudy. If you have to have something for me to bitch about, there was a pretty good headwind the last half, but nothing too bad. I was all for taking it easy on today's ride... until I saw Lance Armstrong and a paceline of 15 or so behind him go by as I was stopped and drinking a chocolate milk. I have no idea how I was able to catch up with them, but I did.  I rode all the way into the next stop town in that paceline. I never got close to him, about 7 rows back, but still- how cool! :) Adrenaline got me caught up to them, and it kept me there for 4 or 5 miles. I didn't even remember I rode 85 miles yesterday until I stopped! 

After that, we ate breakfast and went on. One small bitch of a hill, but nothing bad. It was a fun relaxing ride. It was also a day of a few RAGBRAI firsts for me. First, I actually had to pee during a ride on RAGBRAI. Usually I can drink gallons and never ever go, Second, I had a beer before the ride was over. I usually don't do that, but some people on this ride get shitfaced the whole trip, stopping in every town for a shot and beer. I have no idea how they do it. My guess is they get a ride at some point. I had my beer less than eight miles from the end. All good :)

Lots of people have asked about the names on my bike and think it's really cool that I have done this. Also, I am getting a lot of people talking to me about my bike tattoos. 

Another different RAGBRAI thing was riding into an actual city. Most of Iowa is small-town to the extreme. Des Moines' downtown is still small, but it's got a bit of a skyline!

In all the activity today I forgot to extend the time on Glympse and it expired before I was done riding. Sorry about that! 

Today's Charity Miles was for Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Per your votes, tomorrow is Wounded Warrior Project, Thursday is Autism Speaks, and Friday is ASPCA. Saturday I finish with SU2C. Thanks to all who voted :) 

Lastly, if today couldn't get any more surreal... I mean - being in a 27 mph paceline with Lance Fucking Armstrong??!??!? -  but anyway, we went for dinner to Applebee's here in Des Moines.  Dan took a picture of me at the end of RAGBRAI 2011. I had no idea he did it.  Here's the pic:

Well I posted it on Flickr and someone asked if they could use it to redecorate an Applebee's. I told her to contact Dan. Well, it made it onto a mural in Applebee's. I thought it would be about the width of a booth. Boy was I wrong! 


Let me tell you, eating dinner and seeing yourself on a wall is friggin' WEIRD.

Okay, we are headed to downtown Des Moines to check out the concert. 90's alternative heaven! Sponge, Filter, Live, and Everclear. 


Pics from today 

Here's today's ride info from Strava. More tomorrow, but I doubt it tops today!

RAGBRAI XLI Day 2: Harlan to Perry

I'm so glad    that's over with. Yikes. That was the longest ride I have done since the 102 on day three of 2011 RAGBRAI 2 years ago.

At one point or another all 4 H's appeared. The humidity was always there. The hills were there for the first 3/4. The heat was there for the last half. The headwind was there when the hills finally showed mercy and laid down. At least the headwinds were only for about 5 miles. 

The day started off really really foggy. When the air splats against you, it's humid!  

The first town was Kimballton. This is where you had to decide if you were doing 83 or 107 miles. As I said yesterday, I didn't give that 107 option a thought. I ate breakfast and headed the 83 direction. Good move on my part. 107 would have wrecked me. 

What else?? Oh yeah, the hills. These were different than the hills the first few days of 2011. Those were relatively short 6-8% graded hills. Many of these were more of the 3-5% grade, but a mile or longer.  I did hit 40.0 on one downhill, even though Strava says it was only 39.8. Even the halfway town of Guthrie Center had a radar gun/sign at the bottom of the hill into town. I only saw 34 on that.

There was one hill that stood out, near Springbrook State Park. 10%+ grade. Long. 85% of the people were walking it. I toughed it out, but wow it was tough. I think at one point I was down to 5 mph. Ouchie. 

As the day went on the heat really turned on.  As a result, the traffic jam at the beginning of today really thinned out. When that happens, and I get tired, hot, achy... it gets kinda lonely out there. There's good stretches where it is completely silent except for the sounds of my bicycle. Not even a bird chirping. Headphones are a big no-no on RAGBRAI, not to mention suicidal. During these periods, my head starts telling me I can't do it. My legs tell my head to shut the fuck up. Hard to explain the strangeness of it and why it happens, but I just try and shake it off and keep going.  I downloaded this pic to my hard drive a while ago, and it went through my head today.


Even with the 4 H's and the strange isolation on a ride with thousands of people... I improved my average speed to 17.2 from 16.4 yesterday, while lowering my average heart rate by 12 bpm. If I learned something from 2011, it's that this week can whip your ass into shape like no other :)

Western Iowa really is a scenic area. It's beautiful, and you can really enjoy it at 15-20 mph. 

Pics from today - click here. 

Strava data for my ride today: 

Lastly, there's a guy running this thing. I don't know if he's a complete badass or insane. He didn't start last week or last month, either. He's running day for day. I saw him today, 38 miles in.  I took a pic (it's in the flickr set) and shouted a few words of encouragement. I just checked his website. He was going for the 107 today. Now I feel like a wimp!!

Okay enough rambling for tonight. I am absolutely beat and am going to sleep. In an air conditioned hotel room in Stuart, Iowa. Not in a tent in Perry. Which is currently getting absolutely pummeled by a severe thunderstorm. I hope everyone there is safe. 

RAGBRAI XLI Day 1: Council Bluffs to Harlan

Day one is in the books! It was SO much better than the first day in 2011. For starters, it was about 20 degrees cooler. The rain that was supposed to greet me this morning never materialized. There was a jawdropping sunrise, and then a partly cloudy day, low winds, in the 80s. Great weather for cycling :) 

Another difference from last time was that it was 4.5 miles to the first hill, instead of the first turn out of town.  There were no really bad hills today - nothing over a 6.5-7% grade. That's likely coming tomorrow. 

I stopped for breakfast in Underwood. Right before that I realized I forgot to start the Charity Miles app, so sorry about that $1.50 SU2C!!

I lost the mirror that attaches to my sunglasses in the halfway town of Minden. Unreal. In 2011 it took until Friday to lose it. This was 27 miles in. Ugh. I bought another one when I was done with today's ride. Let's see if I can hold onto this one for longer than a day. 

I almost wiped out in the little town of Shelby. Would have been more embarrassing than anything. I was clipped into my pedals and going slow. Too slow. The tipping started. I was able to unclip fast enough but in doing so the pedal when flying around and hit me in the shin, causing an immediate bump and bruise. My riding wasn't affected, and the swelling has gone down. 

I got on one paceline today, with three other riders. At one point an Iowa State Trooper on a motorcycle went by so we pedaled faster and caught up to him, and drafted off of him. That was fun :)) 

The little town of Shelby really went all out with their decorations. I loved it. They win best town of day one, in my opinion. 


Here's the ride info from Strav:

Yes, I am sure it has changed by now, but at one point I was 8th overall of people who use Strava on that first hill, 4.5 miles into the ride. Lance Armstrong was 1st. He was probably signing autographs at that speed ;). 

Okay that's all for today. Tomorrow is my biggest concern the entire week. It is the longest, the hilliest, and now I have found out will likely be the hottest and most humid too. Looks windy as well. I've already decided I don't need the patch that would turn tomorrow from a 83 mile day into a 107 mile one. Screw that :)

Day 0 - Getting to Council Bluffs

Hi everyone. It's getting late and I need sleep so I will make this a quick post. The drive was uneventful. Only one bad traffic jam for a couple of miles. Dan was a trooper, driving the entire day.

We got into Council Bluffs about 7pm. After checking into the room, Dan and I made a trip to the riverfront park, location of the tire dip site. RAGBRAI tradition is to dip your back tire in the Missouri River and your front tire in the Mississippi. In 2011 the Missouri was flooded and they were arresting anyone attempting to try the dip. They had a pool full of river water and a ramp instead.  Yeah... no thanks.

No such issue this year! And today, day zero, was 79 degrees at 7pm. In 2011 it was 148. Okay not really, but it was upper 90s with a heat index close to 120. So much nicer tonight. 

While at the tire dip site, I realized I have never ridden my bicycle across state lines. I decided to fix that, taking a pretty cool pedestrian bridge across the river and into Nebraska. 

After that it was time to get some dinner, have a few beers, and here I am, a few minutes from going to sleep. The bike is all ready. We will find out tomorrow if *I* am ;) 

Looks like I might get wet tomorrow. But right now the rest of the week isn't looking too bad. 

Here's the flickr link to today's pics. I also updated twitter and Instagram a few times. That's it for today - it's go time in t-minus seven hours. 

I love technology

Well, if I have a data connection, I love technology ;) 

Here's what I will (try to) update while on RAGBRAI:

  • This blog (duh): daily posts as well as updating the RAGBRAI page of my gluttony.
  • Facebook Pedal Another Mile page 
  • Instagram 
  • Flickr
  • Twitter is being a bitch. I was originally going to have tweets update the Facebook PAM page but it's broken. As a result I might not use it at all. Not sure yet. If you use twitter, follow me just in case.


Lastly, I'm not sure how well this will work in a data desert, but I am going to attempt to broadcast where I am when riding. Each day I will post a link to a website called Glympse. It will show my location and the previous 10 minutes before that. Like I said, it may or may not work.

It's almost 10am so Dan, Tanya, and CJ should be here soon, and then we will be off, headed west!!!

Stickers are stuck

The names are on the bike. It took about two hours.

Black are deceased, red are in the fight, white are cured or in remission.

The whole mission of Stand Up to Cancer is to turn those reds into whites. 


Surprisingly, I am 95% packed and ready to go, over 36 hours prior to departure. I should check for a fever, because I'm obviously not feeling well. ;)