Tuesday, July 31, 2012


Registrar’s annual great bike ride across Iowa was a real treat.  After seven days of riding I ended up with 460 miles on the bike.  On a trip like this, it is not the miles on the bike, but the emotional endurance that you must fight through.  This trip the fight turned into sleep deprivation.  The more I tried to get to bed early the later the nights would become.  Ear plugs helped on some nights but the echo in the trailer vibrated until close to most ever other night.  Early morning wake up calls at followed by long mile days was difficult. 

RAGBRI is about the party.  You ride stop and drink. Repeat. For me, I rode to the trailer early to get out of the sun and wind with plenty of time to eat, nap, and recover.  Not much drinking for me. My routine was messed up with late nights. Over all I had a great week of riding, memories, and stories to share.
The first three night of camping, we ended up parking next to the same motor home.  The three riders hired year olds to drive the motor home and trailer around. In the trailer were two mopeds.  You have to realize that once you are in camp, you are in camp; and limited to where you can go by foot or bike.  If I learned anything from Mr. WWW, it is to procure a mode of transportation.  So when I was invited to hop on the moped for ride to the corner store, you better believe I jumped on without hesitation.  A mile down the rode I noticed I did not have a helmet on. Really, what was I doing? I have all these safety rules and there I go breaking all of them. I do have a spontaneous side that comes out every once in a while.

At the end of the week, I had no takers on the leg massage. To my best knowledge, everyone wants to stay married. It is for the best as I would not know how to respond if someone really said yes. I am all talk anyway.

A crazy idea entered my head.  Since I have already rode across America, why don’t I ride my bike across each state in the United States?  I just started with Iowa. Who knows which state will be next.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Day 7: 69.4 miles to Clinton

It is a travel day so the day was cut short and only rode 37 miles to the meet up town.  We still have to make our way to the shuttle and an hour drive to the airport.  I will arrive in San Antonio at this evening.  I will not be disappointed if the welcoming committee shows up with a marching band and cheerleaders.  Cowbells and horns are invited to bring me home.  It is the usual welcome for RAGBRI in every town and I have become accustomed to it.

The ride was short and sweet, with a few hills.  The usual crowd was on the road.  I did experience an Iowa bathroom (a walk in the corn stocks) but did not get to the slip and slide.  Yesterday I did enjoy a few beers on the route, to take in the spirit of RAGBRI. Anyone can ride a bike sober. 

As time allows, with a better internet connection, I will post more along with some additional thoughts and comments.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Day 6: 42.2 miles to Anamosa

Got to sit on Santa’s lap and asked for a bike for Christmas.  Took a picture with Elvis.  Got a tattoo.  Danced and marched on stage.  Wore a UT jersery for college spirit day.  Rode with Champ on a hilly route with a tail wind. All is good.

Enjoying RAGBRI.  

Bad connection. More laters…

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Day 5: 84.8 miles to Cedar Rapids

Emotionally and physically I am spent.  Grit is what is getting me through.  I wanted to walk away, and I did. Two hours and four beers later, the team talked me into staying. We came as a team and we will leave as a team.  It is not the miles but my spirit. 

Then we weathered the storm.  60 mile an hour winds picked up and we were evacuated into a barn. We had to walk away from the trailer and the bike.  Talk about scary.  Talk about another night going by without any sleep.

There are still no takers on leg massages or rubbing butt butter on me.  I think I have made about half a dozen grown men blush. I am not really sure what I would do if someone took me up on it.  But I guess you will never know if you don’t ask.

Champ and Ronnie meet me at the trailer and offered a shower in their room.  Air conditioning, a free shower, and a nice room to lounge in, it is quite wonderful. Plus a car to ride around in.  And, seeing a cross roads friend is the added bonus.

Grit got me through the day and the completion of 370 miles in 5 days.  My spirits are up and living the dream.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Day 4: 77.1 miles to Marshalltown

Tensions are high in the trailer and if someone does not take a chill pill, I am going to start throwing the “F” Bomb.  I am totally exhausted, my legs hurt, and I do not have enough sleep. 

There were some issues with the trailer and we moved location at 6:30 PM last night.  It moved us away from bathrooms, showers, and food.  We went from everything being walking distance to riding our bikes to get what we needed. Barbie was not a happy camper.

Yesterday evening, I suffered from a stomach bug and depleted my fuel tank; if you know what I mean.  Between that and exhaustion, I am totally pooped.  The wind was there, but not so bad.  The last 20 miles were ribbon hills. Do not ask me how many hills.  I spent more time cursing the hills and not counting them.

Would someone please call ahead to Cedar Rapids and flatten out all the roads, I would be eternally grateful.  Not that I am complaining or anything, but could I borrow a fresh set of legs? Or if someone could massage my legs, I would really like that.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Day 3: 81.2 miles to Webster City

The day started with a somber note with a bike rider being hit by a car. I did not witness the accident and do not know the specifics, but it is always a reminder to me to be alert and stay on my A-game.

Day three is the official RAGBRI jersey day. I am not sure why they would make a black jersey for one of the longest rides of the week. It is customary for first time riders to write “virgin” on their calf and I did not want to disappoint.

There is an optional 20 mile loop to make the ride a century day but after the wind picked up, I opted for just the 80 miles. The first 50 miles were easy and I averaged 18 MPH. Then the wind hit my face and slowed me down. The last 30 miles were a brutal fight with the wind. Any day on the bike is better than being at work.

Tonight we are staying on a fair ground. After wondering around, I found a water hose used to rinse the animals after show. I have been reduced to showering with the dogs. Sometime this evening, I will pay $6 for a real shower.

It is always fun to take inventory of my food consumption, from yesterday:

·    2 packets of oatmeal

·    banana

·    2 payday

·    peanut butter and jelly

·    6 beef jerky sticks

·    a bowl of chips and salsa

·    3 pickles

·    pasta buffet for lunch

·    pasta buffet for dinner

·    1/3 of a ½ gallon of chocolate milk

Somewhere along the route I rode with Alec (XC09) and we are planning a mini reunion on Thursday with Champ. I love being in the few that have ridden their bikes across America.

The welcome home was the best I have ever experienced. The entire town sat on the main street and said welcome as we rode in. It made the ride amazing.
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I left something off on my prayer. Dear Baby Jesus, would you talk to The Big Guy and ask him to turn the fan so the wind is on my back. If it is not too much trouble, would you ensure that we have sun and not rain. An overcast sky would be nice.

Excuse me let me take this call. My driver is calling me.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Day 2: 62 miles to Lake View

There is something about a road leading into the distance and watching the sunrise that brings me to my heaven.  After I lathered up with butt butter and SPF 85, I put on a new pair of sock and jersey shorts, and knew it was going to be a good day.

The RAGBRI spirit is to ride to the first stop, drink.  Ride to the next stop, drink.  The day progresses with constant drink stops- and I don’t mean water or Gatorade stops.  I don’t ride fast but I powered through the day.  Yesterday’s ride made me very nervous sharing the road with inexperienced and drunk bike riders, so today I started riding at 6AM to get past all the weaving bike riders.  The plan worked and was pleased that I was not on constant alert.

The trailer situation is not so bad, after I found a pair of ear plugs.  Last night I was able to go to sleep at a respectable hour and plenty of rest. The two chaps spend their day and night chasing whiskey and women. The rest of us enjoy sitting in the AC trailer reading and sipping wine.  We started asking Tim to explain things in 10 words or less.  It is quite entertaining because his usual is 30 minutes on any given topic.

I experienced my first navy shower (a shower from a water hose) because I hate having to pay $6 for a shower stall and waiting until they open.

If you’re the praying kind… Dear Baby Jesus, please keep Barbie safe from all the drunken bike riders.  And if she plans to drink, keep Barbie safe from herself.   Please continue to place the all-you-can-eat spaghetti dinners in close proximity to her camp sight and no lines at the shower.  I pray that Barbie keeps the rubber on the road. Amen.

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Day 1: 54 miles to Cherokee, Iowa

The MIFI connection isn’t quite what I was hoping for and the internet connection is spotty.  Yes, I know that there is like 5 posts from the previous day and will fix when I get a better connection.

Today’s ride was a different experience for me. There are thousands of riders in front and another thousand behind, that you must be alert at all times.  This is more of a party atmosphere than a bike ride but enjoying the ride most of all.

Along the way I saw my friends Kara Bunce and Dan Scott.  Also rode with Ray on the recumbent (from XC11).  I wore my ECT jersey and received many welcoming military gestures and compliments.

Going with the RAGBRI theme: You can’t say you drank all day unless you start in the morning.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Expo Day

Today is all about getting settled in.  Bike number, safety classes, and claiming a privacy spot in the trailer.  The day started with the bathtub over flowing and filling the front cabin with water.  More and more people keep filling in the campus.  Tents are popping up and coach buses are filling in.  The event is becoming more exciting. 

Victor, the driver and SAG, joined us yesterday. He is a nice quite type that is happy with food and drink.  Keith, plays the harmonica (whistle) and plays everywhere we go.  Of course, always an attention hog. There have been lots of outside voices inside and lots of “F” bombs. For the most part, things are going well and we are all safe.  I suspect we will start getting on each others nerves soon.

We are off to find the spaghetti dinner and get all our gear ready to ride tomorrow.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Travel Day

Travel days are always exhausting.  Little sleep the night before and I woke at 430 AM to load myself in airplane, to send myself off to Omaha.  In Omaha, I meet the gang where we still have another three hour drive to get to the start of the ride.

I definitely feel like I will be traveling in the life of luxury.  The trailer is twenty seven feet long and I have my own bed, or rather, a bunk bed. This trip I will not be sleeping on a cot but in my Egyptian silk sheets and goose down pillow.  Whoever would have thought I would say I was living a luxurious life by staying a trailer for a week.  There is a bed, bathroom, and A/C.  Much better than the thousands of others tent camping. 

The shower will not be the freezing Colorado River, but a bathing suite and a water hose.  Standing outside is better than waiting an hour and half to pay $5 for a shower.  It is said that 8,500 official riders are signed up for RAGBRI and another 10,000 hop in on along the way.

The gang are two guys, twenty years my senior, Tim and Keith; and two guys, twenty years my junior, Aari and Rama.  The two young bucks have Jesus beards and are wearing animal print pants that our outta control. Let’s just say I was thrilled beyond belief when Kara announced she would be riding.  Yippy, I have another girl to hang out with.

There is the usual sense of nervousness and anxiety; where will I go to the bathroom, where will I shower.  But all that stuff usually works itself out and enjoying the ride take precedent.  They say that RAGBRI is a moving party, lots of beer and lots of music- every night.  I have never ridden my bike drunk or ridden hung over. As the saying goes, there is a first time for everything.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Dad’s Church Wedding

Let me introduce you to my new family, from left to right, top row: Alexis (my niece), Me, Lisa (new sister), Angela (sister), Lydia’s matron of honor, Lydia, Dad, Ruben (Dad’s best man), Sergio (new twin brother, Bob (Lisa’s husband), Michael (my nephew), Mando (new twin brother. Bottom row: Kristiana (my niece), Joseph (Ricky’s youngest son), Jonathon (Ricky’s oldest son).

Dad’s wedding came with only a few minor bumps. In the end, everything turned out unbelievably wonderful. Two hundred of our closest family and friends turned up for the grand event. It was very emotional and bitter sweet. There is a part of me that wants my mom to be here and share the event; but also happy that my dad has found love and that he is happy.

Lydia insisted in doing everything herself. Which really meant that her best friends and daughters would do everything. I have had my fill of black and white ribbons, bows, flowers and dresses; and will be quite content not participating in anything of this magnitude- in a very long time. After all the pomp, I danced the night away and enjoyed the day.

It is written that parents find joy when their children find love. In my family, the children have found joy because our parents found love.

Friday, July 6, 2012


This week I have accumulated a bunch of miles, as I continue to train for RAGBRI. Earlier this week, my leg cramped up and my right quad is screaming at me. But, I am insistent on riding every day. Time is slipping through my fingers, as training days are dwindling. I am tired, worn out, and I need sleep.

A friend recommended a book, “A Life Without Limits: Chrissie Wellington”. She is an Ironman Champion and carried this poem by Rudyard Kipling with her. As I read this, I want to keep riding, even more.


If you can keep your head when all about you

Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;

If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,

But make allowance for their doubting too:

If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,

Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,

Or being hated don't give way to hating,

And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream---and not make dreams your master;

If you can think---and not make thoughts your aim,

If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster

And treat those two impostors just the same:.

If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken

Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,

Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,

And stoop and build'em up with worn-out tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings

And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,

And lose, and start again at your beginnings,

And never breathe a word about your loss:

If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew

To serve your turn long after they are gone,

And so hold on when there is nothing in you

Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on!"

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,

Or walk with Kings---nor lose the common touch,

If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,

If all men count with you, but none too much:

If you can fill the unforgiving minute

With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,

Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,

And---which is more---you'll be a Man, my son!