My physical state at this point of the ride can be summed up in one word: tight. From head down to my toes, every muscle is tight and screams immensely when I move. So, even to operate at normal human capacity I must stretch, then to operate as a cyclist I must stretch more. But none of this took place before 8 like it normally did like the past days. Today was only a 40 mile day, so we slept in. Did ya just hear me, I sluffed off a 40 mile day. In the normal world, that is a hual but not here on the Rug-a-Boo, that one is a breeze. Ha.
Good thing it was a “short” day because my dad’s oldest but shorter brother joined us with one of his sons. Mike and Steven live in Minnesota where I was born and together have been on the bike less then 30 miles in training for this ride. I shouldn’t judge but this side of the Teasdale isn’t known for their cycling, but today they joined us and did well.
Steven, my cousin, will be a sophomore at Iowa State, striving to get into the stock market. But today he is riding with a senior in marketing (me) and an undecided freshman (my bro.) As we ride we give him the crash-course in RAGBRAI etticut (no pun intended.) As you pass someone, notify them by saying “on your left.” When you are getting off the road notify the other riders by, “bike-off!” If a car is heading for ya notify the other riders by “car up!” and if a car is in hot pursuit behind then “car back!” Another language is spoken in the organized cycling world. Its fun and helpful. After the briefing I began to lose Steven as he took his time climbing the hills, so off I went waiting for him in the next town and so on. By the end of the day he felt good, knowing that he logged 40+ miles.
My uncle Mike is a character that has to go fast, no matter what. Let it be building a storage shed in under 3 hours to packing his tent, to riding 40 miles on a bike; he must rush through things. As we stopped at the breakfast town, Mike shoveled down his breakfast and said his good-byes to get back on the road before I could cut the second piece of my french toast. I learned from my dad that Mike acts that way when he is nervous, makes sense 40 miles on a bike would normally get me nervous as well. That’s Mike. But he made it just fine.
So our group gets in the overnight town at different times but still enjoy each other company and try to camp near each other. To do this we employ another tried-and-true method called “The Note.” So the first people in, grab their bags and find a camping spot (large enough for 3-4 tents) then set up their tent and scatter their bikes around to save “our” spot. Then the person with the most legible hand writing scribbles out a note informing the others where our new home is for the night, this note is then placed on the bags of the slow people (usually the Teasdale folk and Big John and Tami, as we take our time on the road.) So we ride into town find our bags with the attached note and migrate to the reserved spot. Works beautifully each time and everyone is happy.
Once everyone is settled into camp; tents up, butts off saddles, the best tradition of RAGBRAI ensues, HAPPY HOUR. I have referenced this before but only briefly. Happy Hour consists of all of our crew gathering around for a few cool drinks (alcoholic for the legal and “pop” for the young ones.) We try to assemble our tents in a circle formation so that each member can lounge from their own abode, we call this the “Circle of Life.” What is said in the Circle of Life tries to stay in the circle but usually doesn’t. Topics of discussion this year ranged from Government Corruption, Praire Dog Hunting, Quoting Monty Python and the Holy Grail, to what T-shirt my brother should wear on his bike-date. Good times, great oldies. Today’s Circle of Life’s Happy Hour was especially good mostly due to free beer from the night before and way-too-much-Monty-quotes. Loved it.
To tell you the truth, that was the extent of the evening. The downtown festivities were way too far away and way to 80’s (80’s cover-band) to even enjoy the downtown. The only thing of interest downtown was a Ben Franklin, not the founding father but an old 5-and-dime that are a rare species.
With the that, came the all to friendly slumber.
I hope this blog is suiting your taste as a reader, if not comment. Anyone wanna go with me next year?