Sunday, July 31, 2011

Day 7 - It's over!

I am finally home from RAGBRAI and a weekend wedding. Well I was home for a few minutes on Saturday, long enough to shower and repack. Now I am officially home!

Day 7 means the trip is coming to it's end. It was a great deal of fun, but even fun things must come to a close. I ride with the same group I've spent the last couple of days with. We will be eating breakfast in West Liberty. Long lines at the fire station for the pancake feast. It was worth the wait. When you finally get the front of the line you get to watch this massive griddle loaded with pancakes do it's work. I'd guess they can make a couple of hundred pancakes at a time. They have it down. The tricky part is that you have to actually catch your breakfast. Pancakes are flying everywhere as the "chefs" flip them up in the air. A few hit the ground, but I think our group did a great job of snagging their food with no errors! After you catch your plateful of pancakes you move on to grab a drink and some sausage. No, these weren't thrown at you. We sit together to enjoy this breakfast (and yes BREAK) is an important part of any time we stop for refueling. I know I need to be home by noon to make it to an out of town wedding, so I bid my farewell to my new friends. Kind of sad to say goodbye to a great group of ladies. Hope to see you on the trail soon.

It is now time to see how fast I can peddle my bike. I only make a couple of stops for water, no time for waiting in lines for food or other treats at this point. I'm making excellant time but the winds are pretty much in my face the rest of the way. I leave the official route at Walcott, and head east on Kimberly Rd. As I'm watching my clock, I decide that I will not arrive at the appointed noon time so as I approach the 280 overpass I call my wife (Joyce) for a ride home. We meet up in a bit and I have never been so happy to get a ride! I still managed a little over 50 miles on this final day, so I am pleased at how it has ended.

One of the goals I had this week was to see a different RAGBRAI. I was very happy with how the week went. I owe a lot of thanks to the wonderful ladies that were willing to share their RAGBRAI experience with me. I tried several new food stops (all delicious), and enjoyed all the stops for entertainment. I know some of you expressed concern about riding with me and slowing me down. I have to tell you that I was impressed with all of you and how well you ride. I'd be happy to join any of you on a training ride!

What was the best part? I think this always has to be the people. Both people you just met and the people in our group. There was Team Bricky from Iowa City. We actually were behind them on Saturday while stuck in a traffic jam on I80. Later while with Missey and Kathy we met up with some members of the team and had a great time chatting with them. Next was Team "Oh Brother, not another bike ride". We met them downtown on Monday night. The founding brother was quite entertaining and we visited with him and some of the other members for quite some time. Another group was actually a couple of buddies from out east that did this trip as a vacation from their wifes (or maybe it's the wifes vacation). They were a stitch. Kind of an odd couple. I remember the one telling us that his buddy refused to change his shirt and he finally called the buddies wife asking if she had any advice to get him to change clothes. She assured him that his buddy didn't listen to her about such matters either. Many more stories like this if you take the time to chat with those sitting near you at the various stops. So many, many interesting people.

Some thanks are in order. Mike McCoy! Wow what a great job! Can't imagine doing this thing with out your help. There are lots of things the riders worry about. Bike issues, injuries, consuming enough food and fluids, but never once did any of us worry about our stuff being where it was supposed to be. Not only that but Mike went the extra mile and had things organized and easily accessed by the time we arrived. A thank you is way to insignificant a way to show appreciation, I just hope you were able to enjoy the trip as well.

Barb! I know you were disappointed in leaving the trip early. You were clearly missed! Thanks for the time you gave us. It is always good to have a mom along to make sure the little things are taken care of, come to think of it - you took care of some big things as well! Thanks!

Bob! Bob takes more than his fare share of teasing, and he is a great sport about it. Quite frankly this trip doesn't happen without his effort and skills in making things happen. I have no idea how much time and effort you put into this thing, but even to me it had to be a lot. Thanks Bob for making sure this trip happened.

The campers! Thank you for putting up with me and making this trip as fun as it was. I have a great appreciation for what everyone went thru and I'm sure some groups end up having wars over small things. This group was more about laughing and joking our way across Iowa.

I also need to thank my wife for encouraging me to do these types of events. She has always encouraged me and that means she is flexible in allowing me to do the training which many times means I'm off with friends on long training rides. Thanks Joyce!

Friday, July 29, 2011

Day 6 - where did all these hills come from

First things first. Leaving Grinell was really a sight. People on every corner thanking us for coming. Something about this sight just put a lump in your throat. Thank you Grinnell, you were our favorite overnight stop, and its not really close.

OK, this is a bike trip and I suppose we need to discuss the ride. Wait though, before the tide even begins Mike is caught eating pie for breakfast. We need to figure out if the pie count can begin before pedaling has started. The first stop this morning is going to be Breakfast Delight. Another first for me. This consisted of a bowl with French toast on one side and hash brown sausage mixture on the other side. Great breakfast.

The first town will be Brooklyn and I mention to the ladies I'm riding with that Brooklyn is the city of flags. We need to pay attention and see what this looks like. Wow, when we arrive the view is unbelievable and everyone stops to take photos. The streets lined with flags, a park with all the state flags and downtown hanging high above us was a flag that had to be 3 or 4 stories high, wow.

The meetup town features something I've never seen before. All of my close friends know the obsession I have with unusual foods that can be deep fat fried and served on a stick. You'll never guess what Susan found for me. Are you ready for this? Peanut butter and jelly, deep fat fried and, ok, no stick, but cut into quarters and served on a plate. I wish I could tell you it was the best thing I've ever tasted, but actually it tasted like a pb&j sandwich sort of. Way too much for one person, and believe it or not, none of my riding friends (who now call themselves Denny's harem) will help me eat it.

A couple of towns later, we enter South Amana and the girls are hungry. I for some reason have no appetite. They split up in search of food and I'm just going to wait for everyone to finish. Susan (the enabler) points out that she is eating the best coconut cream pie she has ever had. This is about the same time Mike texts me to let me know his lunch included two slices of pie. This fires me up and I do indeed discover just how wonderful the coconut cream pie is.

Lunch is finished, and on we go. Now we are in Homestead. Here we split up, some of the ladies want to go on and some want to visit the beer garden. I'm with the group sticking around. A great band is playing, and the girls enjoy a bit of dancing while I enjoy the music and people watching. once they are significantly rested, we are off to finish the ride.

This last 20 miles. on a 75 mile day, the hills become relentless. I was hopeful that at some point Iowa would prove to be flat, but not this year.

Tonight we are in Coralville in the basement of a newer church.Pretty nice. we will be sleeping in the classrooms and everyone is dividing up. I ask if I can sleep with Carrie and Deb, and they are acceptable. We actually run into them and their spouses downtown, and the spouses are fine with this as well. Since Carrie is a snorer, this is to be the snoring room. I sometimes snore, so I'll stick it out here. Oh, Bob and Kevin also are joining us. I'm the only one awake at this late hour and I'll need the ear plugs Deb gave me.

Tomorrow will be about 65 miles, and I have an afternoon wedding to attend. I will probably cut the ride short. We are all anxious to get home and sleep in our own beds, wash laundry, hide our bikes.

This has been an incredible trip with a great bunch of people. I know I have made several new friendships this week.

Odds and ends. The gals voted me into the Sisterhood of the Spoke Club. I have a bracelet that I will treasure as a reminder of this week. Awesome ladies, thank you.

I enjoy hearing that people find this worth reading and are actually following this adventure. Deb told me how much her daughter was enjoying the blog, but she was curious who the elderly man mom was feeding pie in one of the photos!
That's about it. Another early morning awaits.

The pie count? I think Mike leads 14 - 11. I'll just concede. The man is a pie eating machine.

SAU gets down in homestead.

"Resting" up for final 20 miles.

Saturday's Davenport Weather Forecast

Saturday's Hourly Forecast Report -  °F | °C
 

TimeTempsWind
Chill
Heat
Index
UV
Index
Dew
Point
Relative
Humidity
PrecipSnowCloudsVisibilityWindWeather
12 AM75°75°75°0
Low
71°87%0%0%19%10mi
16KM
ENE
3mph
WeatherClear
1 AM74°74°74°0
Low
70°87%0%0%13%10mi
16KM
ENE
3mph
WeatherClear
2 AM73°73°73°0
Low
69°87%0%0%9%10mi
16KM
ENE
2mph
WeatherClear
3 AM73°73°73°0
Low
68°84%0%0%9%10mi
16KM
ENE
2mph
WeatherClear
4 AM72°72°72°0
Low
68°87%0%0%11%10mi
16KM
ENE
2mph
WeatherClear
5 AM72°72°72°0
Low
68°87%0%0%15%10mi
16KM
ENE
2mph
WeatherClear
6 AM72°72°72°0
Low
69°90%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
E
2mph
WeatherM Sunny
7 AM73°73°73°0
Low
70°90%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
E
3mph
WeatherM Sunny
8 AM76°76°80°1
Low
71°84%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
ESE
4mph
WeatherM Sunny
9 AM79°79°84°2
Low
72°79%0%0%19%10mi
16KM
SE
5mph
WeatherSunny
10 AM82°82°87°4
Moderate
72°72%0%0%19%10mi
16KM
SSE
6mph
WeatherSunny
11 AM84°84°90°6
High
72°67%0%0%19%10mi
16KM
SSE
6mph
WeatherSunny
12 PM86°86°92°8
Very High
71°61%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
SSE
7mph
WeatherM Sunny
1 PM87°87°93°9
Very High
71°59%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
SSE
8mph
WeatherM Sunny
2 PM88°88°94°8
Very High
71°57%10%0%20%10mi
16KM
S
8mph
WeatherM Sunny
3 PM89°89°96°7
High
71°55%0%0%16%10mi
16KM
S
8mph
WeatherSunny

Davenport Dip Site Map

Here's the map from the Davenport web site this morning.  Flooding could change some locations, but nothing has been determined on that yet.  Kevin told me that last year great deals could be had at vendors clearing out RAGBRAI merchandise in the final city.

 http://www.davenportragbrai.com/map-dipsite.pdf

I tried to copy in the map but the blog won't accept a pdf file.  It's a 5 MB file by the way.

Joan gets us backstage at Grinnell Concert

Grinnell concert Thursday night while most of Team SAU sleeps

Via BikerBob

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 5 - It wasn't Karen.

I suppose some might wonder why I call the days by number. Truth is we lose track of which day it is. Our maps all have the day number and really that is all that matters.

Day 5 means the rest of the riders have arrived. By now everyone that will participate has ridden at least one day. The day is going to start early because we are getting concerned about heat.5:00 is to be the wake up hour. Oh, wait a second though, this indicates some sleep has happened. I'm in the living room with the Rathje's and Rodney. All night there is significant snoring coming from where Karen is sleeping. Quite honestly I was surprised she might snore that loudly. Toward morning the snoring gets really loud and suddenly I hare a loud slap. That's when I realize that Bob has fallen asleep on the couch near Karen, and I'm not sure that Karen hasn't injured Bob. At any rate the snoring has ceased and I'm happy.

The ride. Today I rode with the group Jan rides with. This includes Joan BD, Marybeth, Debbie, Jackie, Vickie, Kim, Josset, Carol, Jim and Karen, and Susan. A large group and they do this in a rather interesting way. They start together and then pick the next meetup area. They then ride separately or in small groups to that spot and eat, watch entertainment or whatever. Neat way to do it.

First stop was Farm Boys, home of the famous breakfast burritos. I'd never stopped there before so was anxious to try it. Like all things ragbrai, it was delicious. The next stop was probably the meetup town where Jan and I got tattooed. The previous one really was temporary. I believe this was Colfax, and the surprise was Colfax mountain. Seriously, when it came time to mount up on the bikes, there was a hill going straight up. Who plans these things. Later we learn that our friend Carrie from yesterday took a spill here. Nothing serious, just one of those unable to unclip things.

We survive this hill and the next stop will be the first watermelon stop. This is another first and that really hit the spot. This is about the time I get a text from an unknown caller. It was something like - Baxter has homemade apple pie. Mike + 1, I'm back in the game. I don't think I gave an update yesterday on pie counts. Starting the day I believe the count stood at Mike 8, Denny 6. This is actually becoming a contest! So I'm down an additional pie, but have no desire to add to my total. I did later in the day discuss this with the human pie machine, and he explained that I'm still in the wax on, wax off stage. I'll assume that was a compliment.

Next stop will be Beekmans for homemade ice cream. Deb and Carrie introduced me to this yesterday, and it will be a treat again today.

Maybe I should pay more attention to our maps but I thought today was to be flat. I couldn't have been more wrong. We also enjoyed a head wind much of the day. I explained to my companions that "Windy" had decided to join us. I was teaching Jan the art of drafting. I think she was surprised at how much difference it makes to ride behind someone. It must have been working because coming off one of the hills I hear Jan yell DRAFT, so I pull in front of her. Next I hear SLOWER, so I dropped the speed a bit. I heard a nearby rider complement her on how well she had me trained!

I know there were more stops, but sort of forget them when they get mixed in with all the hills. Finally we arrive in Grinell, a beautiful town by the way and I learn that there is one more part of the ride that hasn't been yet explained to me. Last stop is a bar. We talk about bad decisions and this may have been one. I know I had three beers, and I suspect others had that many or more. I think these gals are better practiced at this part of ragbrai than I am. As we hop on the bikes I wonder if they give DUI's to bike riders! At least our host is a retired judge, will that help?

We finally make it to the host home and again what a beautiful home. Dick and Sis prove to be wonderful hosts. We find we will bein air conditioning again. Dinner is grill your own steak, salad, baked beans and baked potatoes. They had friends awd family help prepare and serve us! I should probably mention the pies. Apparently our hosts follow the blog and are well aware of the relationship between ragbrai and pie. I forget the actual number, but there were several homemade apple pies and pecan pies. There were a couple of frozen lemonade pies. There were a couple of lemon pies. This was bad for me, well not bad, but tough decisions. Mike increased his days total to two. Me? Ok I was a pig and found the apple, pecan, and lemon pies to be absolutely wonderful. I believe that brings the total to Mike - 10, Denny - 9. Now its me that is back in the game!

Tomorrow will be a long one of about 75 miles, it is late and need to see about sleeping.

The Vogels are treating us to steak and SALAD.

Via Mike McCoy

Video of Team SAU leaving Carroll

video

Video recreation of "Anybody hear the train?"

video

Picture Backlog #4

Joan C, Biker Chick
George with Curt & Sherry's dog Bella
Marybeth & her daughter, Angie
Cheer on Mama G

Picture Backlog #3

Curt's vintage Schwinn
Denny's Ben & Jerry Jersey (I don't know how                                                                                      to rotate the picture, sorry.)
Carrie & Deb

Picture Backlog #2

Curt's Man Cave garage in Boone
Camping in Boone - the popular bags board
Pointing the way to Team SAU
Pointing the way to Team SAU from the rider route

Picture Backlog #1

Deb & Carrie (B2 & B1) (I think I got the order right)
Kevin's Snoopy jersey
More Snoopy jersey
More Snoopy jersey