The last time I did RAGBRAI, aka the crazy-ass bike ride across Iowa, was the year that has become the stuff of legends. The year that’s whispered about in hushed tones. THAT year.
Yes, dear reader, yours truly managed to bring RAGBRAI to its knees in 2012. Because 2011, my first RAGBRAI, was until then one of the hottest on record. As Ann put it, “It couldn’t possibly get any worse than this.”
2012 was worse.
People were dropping like flies. That year had the highest drop-out rate ever, the most SAGs, I think the most deaths as well. It was like riding a bike in an oven that was attached to a wind tunnel. I remember clear as day riding one day into a fierce headwind, and telling myself I’d just ride another mile, then would join the other walking wounded collapsed in the sparse shade on the side of the road. The year after Hell Year 2012 was apparently the first year in forever that RAGBRAI didn’t sell out. I’m not surprised.
The result was that the next two years, 2013 and 2014, were gifts from the RAGBRAI organizers, in that they were some of the easiest years on record. As short and flat as they could make them. Easy-peasy. A couple days in there that were a mere 40 miles.
I mention all this to note that this year, of course, when Miss Tasha is back, the organizers decided fuck that shit, we’re going hardcore again. So tomorrow, Sunday, is the hilliest day, at 60,0000 feet of climbing, and 213 miles. Okay okay, maybe it’s just 4,000 ft of climb and 82 miles, but still, that’s ridiculous enough. It doesn’t get much better the rest of the week. AND, after an entire summer of cool and rainy, it’s now in the 90s in Iowa, with 99% humidity. Because of course it is.
And Team Sloth’s start has been less than auspicious. Sloth Mary Beth woke up last Tuesday with horribly swollen knees, her arthritis acting up, so she’s out. Me, after one of my ramping up rides last week, I could hardly walk afterwards because of my lower back. For some reason it’s fine when I’m riding, but when I try to actually be upright, major pain. This could be a problem. Ann has plantar fasciitis. So far only Sloth Michelle is unscathed; hopefully I haven’t jinxed her. Oh, and we were thisclose to running out of gas on our way to Davenport yesterday and limped our way in to a gas station finally, telling the girl working that “you have the best most wonderful gas station I’ve ever seen in my life,” and her responding that “yeah, it’s a LONG way between gas stations, we hear that a lot”, so there’s that as well.
Tonight I had a sno-kone for dinner, and because I hate Huey Lewis and the News with the burning fever of a million suns, we’re not going to that concert here in Sioux City. Tomorrow we rise with the crack of dawn, and, onward.
Here’s hoping we got all of the bad luck out of the way already……