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Friday, August 3, 2012

this is what a 500 mile bike ride looks like : part 1

hey everybody!
since i took about 150 pictures from our bike ride, i thought i would share them over the next couple of weeks.

i have gotten a bunch of questions about RAGBRAI, so, lets answer them!!
[have something you want to know about training // biking // the actual ride // distance? leave it in the comments & ill answer it in a few days!]

1) what IS RAGBRAI? what does it stand for?
RAGBRAI is an annual bike ride across iowa. this year was its 40th year. each year, it starts on the western part of the state & ends on the eastern side ; it is always roughly 450-500 miles.
RAGBRAI stands for the Resgister's [thats the name of the Des Moines newspaper] Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa

2) how far was the ride? how many days? how long were you actually riding? and did you actually do the entire thing?
the full distance of the ride was 471 miles. we camped in the first overnight town on saturday the 21st & started the ride on sunday. the ride was sunday, monday, tuesday, wednesday, thursday, friday & saturday.

the lightest day was friday & it was 42 miles. the three middle days [tuesday, wednesday & thursday] were 83, 77 & 85 miles. all the other days were in between [65-75 miles].

we left the campground each morning between 615am & 7am and got to our end towns around 4pm. each day, there were 6-9 'pass-through' towns ; which were tiny iowa towns that pulled out all the stops. they had food, music, shady trees & entertainment. we took full advantage of the towns & rode  s-l-o-w!

blake and i did the first SIX days. the last day was 70 miles & due to time constraints, we didnt ride. we rode back with a large group of bikers & they threatened to leave folks behind if they didnt finish on time ; we were both feel super drained [emotionally & physically], so we did not get on the bike on the last day. BUT we rode 400+ miles & i dont feel bad at all!!

3) what was the weather like? the wind? storms?
the weather was ridiculous. the first FIVE days, it was 102-104* every day! [the temp of the pavement was 115-125*] and it was SUPER hilly & we had 10-20mph headwinds 85% of the entire ride. you are biking through rural iowa. it is all hills & open [corn & bean] fields ; nothing to shield the wind.

on the 3rd night, there was a pretty scary storm that filled up hundreds of tents with water & dropped hail on some folks. we were safe in the tent & other than a little minor leaking, our tent did just fine.

4) what did you do all day? night? 
these small 'pass-through' towns go through TONS of trouble to make their town a great experience. at any given time, there are 10,000-20,000 riders on the road, so these towns rely heavily on riders to bring their town money [most towns want money for city repairs, a new pool, restoration, ect]. there are tons of food options, music, local historical sites & more to do during the day while you are riding.

and once you get to the overnight town, there is always a shuttle bus to take you downtown. there are pools, events & lots of live music. this year, the counting crows played a free show for all riders & three dog night played a different night.

blake & i were both so stinkin' pooped each night, that we were both in bed before 10pm!

5) be honest, how hard was it?
oh man, it was hard. i had a small breakdown [with tears!] at least once a day for the first 5 days. i have never done anything so mentally challenging before in all my life. my body felt great until the fifth day, but the wind & hills really messed with my brain. i questioned my ability & character quite a bit. without a doubt, it was the hardest thing i have ever done as an adult. i am the type of person that can so easily get lost inside my own head & really break myself down. if i ever did anything like this again, i would definitely bring along music.

what else do you want to know?
see you on sunday!