Pedal Another Mile

Bicycling, death, life after death.

Updates tomorrow

I had a very fun and busy day. Trains kept me up all night, and i keep falling asleep trying to finish yesterday’s post, let alone today’s. I’ll do them tomorrow after the ride, and hope Newton has internet  

heres hoping I sleep tonight!!


Monday Day 2 - Denison to Jefferson

I need to make this quick.  I'll do a better post tomorrow.  Jefferson, Iowa is interent hell.  They are so overloaded even library wifi won't work.  I have 13 minutes and counting left on one of the library desktop computers :D

Cliffs notes for today: I didn't sleep too great last night.  Never got comfortable.  As for the ride... 75 miles.  Most of the 2800+ feet of hills were in the first 50 miles, with over half in the first 20.  There was a threat of rain at mile 20 but it never materialized.  Once the majority of the hills were done at mile 50 I was happy I could take it easy for a bit... until the next 14 miles were into a 10-15mph headwind.  What a cruel joke.  I made it up the hills just fine, and as the day progressed I guess a got a little better on the descents.  They're still irrationally freaking me out.  While not sleeping last night, I think something that may be contributing to this is the major crash I witnessed directly in front of me a year ago this week.  When I have access again (which should be tomorrow- Ames is a college town after all) I'll copy my FB post about what happened.  At any rate, I made it through the day.  Most of the day was overcast with temps 60-75, but the last hour was 88 degrees.  Still nothing compared to what I've dealt with in the past.


Okay, I am likely a minute or two away from getting the boot, so until tomorrow... 

Sunday Day 1 - Onawa to Dennison

I suppose I slept okay. As good as possible for sleeping on a 1.5 inch sleeping pad on bumpy ground :)

About an hour after I went to sleep a very horny train went through town. Seriously, the conductor must have passed out on it. My earplugs were no match.

I was up at 5am, had some coffee, packed and got ready. There was a beautiful sunrise. It’s one of my favorite things about RAGBRAI...they rarely disappoint.

I was on the road a little before 6:30. Those mini mountains I was talking about having to go up? The road went between those hills. In fact, the beginning of this ride was flat as a pool table. I seemed I didn’t even go up a foot of elevation until mile 7.

I’m typing this while waiting in line for a breakfast bowl in the first pass-through town of Turin. There’s a line for everything this week, but who cares? It’s not like I have anywhere to be. The weather so far is perfect. It’s about 60 and calm.

Turin to Ute

“Did you say Ute?”

Okay, the hills have begun. A pretty long 7-8% grade at mile 14 being the feature so far. For not having any Hill training to speak of in, well, five years... I did absolutely fine with them. I think just having 2100 miles for the year and finally having some sort of control over my heart rate while exercising are making it easier than before. What I didn’t expect is that the downhills are not as fun as I remember them. A few are downright terrifying. It’s not so much the speed as it is the road conditions and the sheer number of people around you. They’re in front of you, they’re behind you and then blowing by you on both sides. I don’t know if it’s my age or the fact that I crashed hard a mere six weeks ago, but going 30+ mph down a hill on tires an inch wide isn’t as alluring as it used to be. Seeing how I’m at about 1300 feet above sea level right now and it finishes on Saturday around 500... well there’s going to be more down than up overall. Who would have thunk it- I actually prefer going UP hills now. LOL!!

I passed right through the town of Soldier. I didn’t need food, water, or bathroom. The road got quite bumpy after Soldier and into Ute. I stopped at Ute to refill water and type a little, and BS with the locals. I wanted to make sure I was pronouncing the town name correctly.  Ute is a little past the halfway point. There’s still more than half of the hills left though.

From Ute I continued onto the tiny town of Charter Oak. I was greeted by a group of local kids and their moms offering free (goodwill donations accepted) cookies and lemonade. This is a somewhat rare occurrence on RAGBRAI. A lot of this week is BIG money for businesses. It is refreshing to see local people willing to literally give away food to get you the energy you need to go on. I stopped and had a cookie and lemonade (and tipped them $5) and they even gave me a snack baggie first aid kit with neosporin, a bandaid, and aspirin. I said it the first two times I did this ride... I have never encountered so many friendly people before in my life. It’s shocking there are even prisons in this state- I’m not sure where the bad people even are in this state!  Anyway, one of the moms informed me that the hills the last 10 miles would change my mind about how easy today was. She said during winter storms there’s two hills most two-wheel drive cars can’t even make it up, and we were going up both of them. She wasn’t lying. Still, I’m in far better shape than the first two times and made it up them just fine.

As I rode into Denison, Iowa, I was greeted with a sign that had the two words you want to see together: FREE BACON

I was thinking it would be half a slice. It was a fistful. Denison is immediately my favorite ragbrai town ever. I don’t even care what follows in the next six days. It can’t be topped. As I’m telling this to a local volunteer, two ladies approach with dozens upon dozens of bacon donuts. FREE bacon donuts.

Friends... Denison, Iowa is quite literally, heaven. Screw that Field of Dreams bullshit.

I enjoyed a couple local beers in the town square as well. I’m told the camp is by the high school, a flat mile and a half away. I think I’ll hang out here a while longer. It is after all, heaven.

Since there’s a big honk in’ cell tower here and much of the crowds are still on the road, I shall attempt a photo album upload. If it fails, I give up. If we are Facebook friends you’ll be able to see them this week, if not I’ll create an album when I get home.


UPDATE: the squarespace iPhone app is a joke. No photo albums :( keeps timing out. I made the album on my Facebook page public. Just search for Dave Brink and they should show up. 

Day 0 - home to Onawa


I left the house a little before 5am after what seemed like an hour of sleep (it was probably closer to four).

The drive was uneventful and thankfully only a little over two hours. I parked, and then discovered the truck that will take the bikes across the state was about a half mile away. I had already wrapped the bike in pipe insulation so it wasn’t rideable. That’s right... I started my weeklong bicycle ride carrying my bike :D

The bus driver was hilarious (as I typed this I hoped it was hilarity and not honesty ;) )- he welcomed me on the bus while explaining to someone already on the bus that he was at the Gulf of Mexico yesterday, and was on ten hours of sleep. Since Wednesday.


just crossed the halfway point across the state and stopped at Jimmy John’s, who despite a busload of customers at once, were still freaky fast. Bus driver is still awake.


Closing in on Onawa, about 10 miles away heading north on I-29. I’m looking to the east and there’s basically a miniature mountain range running parallel to us for the past 15 minutes. It doesn’t look like there’s a break in these, so without a doubt it’ll be up and over tomorrow. Hey, at least tomorrow is a short mileage day :)

gonna have to pedal up that

gonna have to pedal up that

Rest of the day

After checking in, I dragged my two giant bags to my assigned tent in tent city:


I’m like 30 rows back. After that it was time to find my bike. I apparently walked by it twice, because I spent 20 minutes watching them unload a truck only to discover it wasn’t still in there. So after 30 minutes total I finally found it. 

After that it was time for a beer. This charter company is awesome. They give you one mug at the beginning. It’s your responsibility to keep track of it. If you do, they’ll fill it with coffee before the ride and beer after, until they run out. They went through 16 kegs today. 

After that it was time to explore the town of Onawa, population 3000.  I took a shuttle to where the action was, and found myself on the widest Main Street in America. there was live music, tons of food and drink (I had a pulled pork and coleslaw wrap). And probably a hundred vendors. And thousands of cyclists. 

the widest Main Street in America 

the widest Main Street in America 

after that I shuttled back to camp, ate a second dinner :) pulled pork sandwich, Mac and cheese, baked beans, and corn on the cob, and enjoyed a blues band that consisted of four high schoolers. They were quite talented!

The weather is SO much better than the first time I did the tent thing on RAGBRAI - low 89s and more importantly low humidity  

That will wrap up today’s post. When I get home and can sort pics better and have reliable internet, I’ll post a bunch more pics.  

Alarm is set for 5am tomorrow. I’ll pack up and then start pedalng to the Mississippi! 


Well, I'll be on the road in about 7 hours.  I think...think I have everything packed.  I am a neurotic mess thinking I forgot something when we go away on a weekend trip to New Orleans or something.  This is overload... this is a week.  This is throwing a bicycle and camping into the mix. I only hope I don't forget anything.  Like my bike.  

I'll be making another post in a minute which I think I'll be able to pin to the top.  I am not bringing my laptop or iPad, only my phone.  That being said, I am going to spend a whole lot of time in rural Iowa, where "cell service" may not be a phrase uttered quite often, especially with thousands of extra cell phones attacking the occasional tower.  I will try to update as much as I can - I just don't know the delivery system.  I'd like to take a lot of pics, so I really hope Instagram works.  The Squarespace iPhone app is pretty lackluster, so there won't be much flash to any posts I put here.  I'm not even sure I can share from here to the Pedal Another Mile Facebook page... did I mention I did not anticipate how fast this was coming?  I spent 2100 miles, hundreds of hours, on my bike getting ready for this week... I let a few things online fall to the wayside.  I'll do what I can, and we may even experiment along the way.  I think my GPS unit will actually broadcast where I am (if there is cell service).  Maybe I'll try and figure that shit out on the long bus ride tomorrow.  

So I will make a pinned post now, with links that will stay up all week, and then the next time I post will be from Iowa.  

Good night all!