Friday, July 30, 2010

A banner day

Thursday was a banner day in the gear-hauling department.

First, let me say how I love the new Blogger editor almost as much as I love the rare opportunity to blog. Various issues -- never of the two-wheeled variety -- have conspired to prevent me from sharing. I'm now able to take advantage of the lightning-fast Internet at the Kennedy home in Waterloo. A fitting end to a banner day, if only because our rental truck did not cause a single stressful moment for us.

Abby took the bull by the horns in Charles City.
Arriving in the dark of night from points unknown, our new truck should see us through to the end in Dubuque (and, hopefully, home to Cedar Rapids immediately after). That the wider cargo section makes our custom bike transport system obsolete is a matter for another day.

The Blue Band rocked Parkersburg.
This was a day for perspective, as the 82-mile route from Charles City to Waterloo took RAGBRAI through Parkersburg -- a town still recovering from two tragic events, a killer tornado and the murder of the beloved football coach. Fueled by an outstanding meal put on by the Chuck Town Macombers and my best night's sleep yet, I felt like I was biking on a cloud. Parkersburg, my preplanned lunch stop, couldn't have worked out better as I was able to have my first piece of pie -- I chose apple since blueberry was out -- my first nap under a shade tree and see the Blue Band perform (Blue Moon Honeymoon, their new CD, will be playing on the Ipod Friday) all in the span of an hour.

After discovering I had routed riders into Waterloo on a gravel road, my efforts to correct the error failed, but I tried. I headed straight for the pool upon arriving at the Kennedys, who know a little something about entertaining. In addition to a pool and hot tub for sore muscles, a feast of lasagna and ribs greeted riders at the end of this year's longest day (century riders excluded). I would have settled just for the salad that accompanied the main course, but confess to devouring not one, but two Blizzards. (Now that I think about it, that's about when Peter started the conversation about the seven deadly sins.)

Team CoeBRAI ate like kings at Camp Kennedy.
In a few short hours, we'll be on the road to Manchester on the penultimate day of RAGBRAI 2010. On Saturday, we'll make our descent to the Mississippi River in Dubuque and it will all be over for another year. Like always, this one hasn't been without its trials and tribulations. And, oh, the stories we can tell. The world's oldest, longest and biggest bicycling event isn't for everyone, although I think everyone should at least give it a try. You'll remember the hills, heat and headaches, and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Even if you never participate in RAGBRAI again, it will always be in your blood. As I near the end of my sixth year, I realize more and more that the attraction really has very little to do with cycling. I can't pinpoint what it is exactly, but it keeps me coming back.


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