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Thursday, July 19, 2012

my honest thoughts on biking 500 miles

okay. okay.
we leave TOMORROW for our bike ride.
on saturday, we will head to the 'start town' & enjoy the events // music // food // people.
super early sunday morning [6am? 7am?], blake & i, along with 19,998 of our closest friends [hello, thats 40,000 bike tires!] will leave sioux center, iowa on our 471 mile bike ride.

you can read more about the ride here. and you can see the interactive map here, with all of our stops & daily distances.
the bike ride is 7 days long. 471 miles. across the state of iowa. we start in the northwest corner & ride to the southeastern part of the state.
each day, we will ride through 5-10 towns ; all of which will have food, entertainment & fun events happening. [i read somewhere that RAGBRAI brings the state of iowa $50+ million a year!]
each night, we will all stay in the 'overnight town.'
people with good manners will let you sleep in their backyards. or barns. or parks. local campgrounds. maybe a college.
almost all of these towns we are riding through have LESS THAN 3,000 residents, so this is a huge deal.
there will be pancakes. cinnamon rolls. pork chops [on a stick]. pie. beer. sweet corn [locally grown, of course]. and rich, creamy milkshakes.

for the past few weeks, every day, we are getting asked :
are you ready for your ride?
so, let me tell you!

i am nervous. like, pretty nervous.
i am a planner. i enjoy knowing what is going to happen. i like setting goals & then achieving them.
i [we!] followed the training plan [we have done almost 1,000 miles in the past few months]. i have tuned up my bike [new chain, new tires]. i have gotten new bike gear [bought 1 pair of bike shorts, two liners, two workout shirts & made one of my own].

there are going to be SO many foods that we are not going to be able to eat [and yes, we. blake officially went vegan a few weeks ago!! hoooray!]. we have a bunch of food packed [most, i baked myself] and i have a list of places that WILL be serving veg-friendly food. i will be bringing lactaid pills along [of course, i will try to be as vegan as possible ; but its small town iowa + 500 miles ; it may be a struggle].
we have the tent packed. we still need a small fan + ear plugs. we have lots of sunscreen. butt butter. a first aid kit. and more.

i sound super prepared, right?
well, i feel prepared EXCEPT for the fact that i have NO IDEA how to plan for 20,000 bikers sharing the road.
just think, we are all starting & ending at the same space. each day, we ride between 42-85 miles ; so no matter WHAT time you start riding [it is suppose to by mid-90*s all week, so i am guessing most folks will leave super early!], the roads will be full.

so, i feel good. i dont feel SUPER prepared physically.
*i am a little nervous about sleeping on the hard ground of a campground after riding for 6-9 hours a day.
*i wont have tons & tons of food options ; but there will be grocery stores in most overnight towns.
*i have no concept of how sore my legs, girl parts & butt will be after riding hours, sleeping & getting up to ride again.
*and i hope to goodness that everybody on the ride uses good manners & sound judgement so there are no crashes, accidents & injuries.

i think the bottom line is this ; 
i am healthy. and happy. and my body is able to ride my bike.
i dont ever want to sound ungrateful for the things i am unprepared for.
my legs work. and the people of iowa have been planning this ride for 7 months. i will meet so many people. be a part of places i have never been. [i grew up in nw iowa, but dont know much about the southern part of the state]. so, i am excited. blake will push me. ill have my camera. and this will be a great end to july!

over the next 10 days, i have a bunch of really great posts coming ; so be sure you stick around!
and once i get back, i will do a full recap + a really fun 'life' announcement i have been sitting on for a while ;)