It's go time. #RAGBRAI begins.
Well, after 11 months of planning, re-planning, training, website updating, packing, fundraising for SU2C, etc. etc. etc. the time has finally come. At 3:30 am we head to Davenport so I can catch the E/W shuttle to the start town of Glenwood. Glenwood, where it is currently 100 degrees and feels like 126. And where the high tomorrow is scheduled to be 99. That's ok, the real riding starts Sunday and it looks like upper 80s/90.
I'm not sure how to explain how I feel right now. I'm excited as hell. I'm a little concerned about days 1 & 2 but I know I can do it. There's a lot of things that I will be doing in the coming week that I've never done before. I've never spent 8 straight days in a tent. I've never ridden 450 miles in a week. Heck, I've never even dropped a deuce in a port-potty (called 'kybos' for some reason on RAGBRAI). But I never jumped out of a plane until a few years ago and it was so fun I did it again :). This is just a bit longer. And I'm pretty sure porta-potties are more dangerous than skydiving.
I also have never met any of the thousands of people that will participate. I've talked to a few virtual friends and hope to meet them at some point along the way. In a way, I am going into this by myself. But that's ok - I can make friends pretty easily and that is what RAGBRAI veterans talk about all the time on the forums I've read. RAGBRAI is about the people, not the bike ride. The bike ride is just the common force that brings people together.
I want to thank my wonderful wife, Billy Jo, for letting me do this. She was for it immediately, even before I decided to raise money for charity. Disappearing for a week in the middle of summer to go bike riding is not "hey honey I'm going to watch the game at the bar tonight". It's a big deal. It costs money, it has cost time so I could spend 4 hours on a bike training, even on her rare weekend days off. This past week it's literally taken me over mentally. Thank you so much. You say you're proud of me - I'm proud of you too. My week on a bike is nothing compared to what you've gone through in your seemingly endless battle with cancer. You are the strongest person I know and I love you very very much. And despite what you think, I WILL miss you more than the dog :).
Lastly (but certainly not least), I want to thank everyone again who has donated to Stand Up to Cancer. My expectations have been blown out of the water thanks to your generosity. My goal of $3,000 is wayyyy back in the rear view mirror. As of tonight we stand at $5,202,40. I am truly honored, and it is my inspiration to do this thing. Every mile is $11.45 donated. That will get me over those endless hills.
I'm having a few beers so I can get some sleep (hey - it worked last night!)
Now let's do this thing.