RAGBRAI July 24-30

First, let me set the record straight for those family members who wonder if I ever walked a hill or took the Sag Wagon on this 420 mile cycling ride across Iowa with my brother and Touring Cyclists of St. Louis: YES, I rode every mile, the heat and hills were formidable, but I never stopped pedaling (except for food and rest)...and we had a fantastic time with 16,000 others. Of course, the RAGBRAI 1000 mile training regimen is to thank for this, but I learned things in the process, too: 1. when training, I would come to little plateaus, (my hip hurt at 500 miles), but as I kept riding, I would ride beyond it, and go up to the next level of fitness! 2. Just like my ride across Europe so many years ago, I got leaner and better, until you realize that riding could become addictive and there was a part of me, that frankly didn't want to get off--ever. 3. Organization is crucial--and maybe means survival. I had to keep the same things in each pocket each day AND I had to have a method of doing things in the same order when I took down my tent and packed each morning at 5AM. 4. Water is more important than food (a bottle of electrolyte water an hour in Iowa July weather)--and you don't really realize how depleted you are until you stop. This may just be me, but I was never hungry until I stopped in front of the pie stand. 5. Talk to people--it makes those hills easier, and people have lots to say--I met an inspiring 81-year old man. He was in great shape, a wonderful talker, and I only wish I had gotten his name. 6. Goals are good. It would have been easy to say, "No, I don't want to ride in 90% humidity and heat, and camp in wet tents, and eat strange food." But then I wouldn't know that I'm really strong, and really should take more of those forks in the road that look harder. Ride ON!  

 Paul at Breakfast stop beside a tractor

Paul at Breakfast stop beside a tractor

 just a few of the MANY tents 

just a few of the MANY tents 

 16,000 walk through a small town

16,000 walk through a small town

 I fell in love with a piglet

I fell in love with a piglet