As I climbed back on the saddle today for a my first bike ride since RAGBRAI I couldn't help but reflect on the wealth of emotions I was feeling while riding down the flat, boring, lonely roads in Blacklick, Ohio. I kept hearing the echos of my fellow riders shifting gears while going up hills...I found myself missing people yelling "biker on", "slowing", "on your left" or "biker off".
I'm a bullet point kind of person, so I wanted to jot down some of my favorite memories from my recent trip to Iowa that ran through my head today while I was out riding with a big smile on my face...
Before I start my list though, I absolutely want to thank Lonnie, Lisa, Ryan and Abby. Without you guys, none of this would have been possible. Lonnie, I can't imagine the planning and coordination it must take to organize a ride like this. I can't thank you enough for ALL of your time and efforts! Also, for allowing me to be part of such an amazing TEAM...This was truly an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life and I have you to thank for that!! Lisa, you amaze me. EVERY morning when I would get up, you'd be up, running around, taking care of everyone and everything. Absolutely wouldn't have made it without all of your support!! Ryan and Abby, you guys are simply the best! The work you guys did behind the scenes is what made this bike ride possible and a lot more enjoyable! Running to the store for everyone while we were out riding, making sure I knew which cooler had water and Gatorade in it (hehe), driving the truck all day (which not to mention broke down 4 million times!) and finally being so positive and supportive of everyone riding! I can't thank ALL of you enough for all of your time and efforts...I'm humbled by your hard work, dedication and total selflessness.
*Tour De' Food - How could you EVER doubt this would make the top of the list? Touring the roads of Iowa enjoying some of the BEST food I've ever had...Farm Boys breakfast burritos...Judy's Mom's cinnamon rolls...need I say more??? Too many good food stops to mention!
*Sitting in the Post Office the day we had the bad storm (can't remember what town we were in but I've NEVER laughed so hard in my life...I was actually crying from laughing so hard and I'm not even too sure what was so funny!)
*The bus ride to Sioux City and all of the gambling going on!
*Wanting to yell "I-O" the first time I heard someone say "SLOWING" because I thought they say "O-H". (it's an Ohio State thing we do...I yell "O-H" and you would yell "I-O" to spell out OHIO for those of you that don't know)
*"Quityerbitchin" (hope I'm spelling that correctly Lonnie!) - the daily text from Lonnie telling us all to "quit our bitching" was priceless.
*Riding along side one of my best friends, Amy. You are awesome Amy! Thank you for pushing me and getting me through the rough times!
*Riding into Parkersburg had to be one of the most inspiring places we visited. All of the signs on the side of the road about the horrible tornado that hit their town and then reading about their football coach that was killed. All that, that town had been through and they were still rebuilding and surviving...I felt so inspired riding up the hills into their town.
*Riding along side some awesome new friends...Dana and Darcy! Darcy, I'm so glad we all started riding together!! I have literally laughed out loud writing some things on this list because of you!! Sooo many memories!
*Speaking of Dacry; her story about knocking over all the bikes in one town! PRICELESS!
*The pool/keg party
*Screaming "Ladies and Gentlemen......we have a biker in the corn!" That was just my way of calling out those who couldn't wait until the next town to use the restroom or worse yet, couldn't just go a few more rows into the corn so we couldn't see them anymore! ;)
*Our entire team - what a great group of people. I was amazed at all of the support!! It was great to get back to camp, join the "circle of chairs", grab a beer and sit and reminisce about the day that had just passed. So many great people, so many great memories.
*Breaking up a live TV broadcast; 10pm news (please see video on Darcy's Facebook page). I would like to let everyone know that I actually ALSO pulled off the "silent skip" behind her immediately following the "crazy run-behind her like a total idiot" which was not caught on tape due to concerns of being escorted out of the area - LOL! It was pretty funny! Couldn't have done it without my wingman - we'll just call him "guy in the green shorts" (because I have no clue what his name was, but he was my cover) and of course Darcy working the camera.
*Obviously dipping my tire in the Mississippi with my teammates and holding my bike above my head...UNREAL
*Riding down through Dubuque or any of the towns and seeing all of the people lining the streets supporting everyone!
*Arriving at Clark College and being with Team CoeBRAI before we all rode down to the river. Knowing that we had all made it!
*Just the overall experience of being a small part of something so huge.
*Finishing the 100 mile ride, jumping off my bike afterwards and grabbing a beer! :)
*Potter's Hill - if anyone is actually still reading...I know you're rolling your eyes. Seriously though, I learned a lot while walking up that hill. I promise to NEVER complain about ANY hill that I encounter EVER again while I'm out riding. I couldn't hardly WALK up that hill!
*Day one - I learned a lot that day. Thank you, Judy!
*Riding in the storm and that horrible head wind! I felt like I got hit by a truck after that ride!
That's about all I have for now, I'm sure I'll think of other additions after I post this!! The ending was truly bitter sweet... Happy to not have to get on the bike the next day, but extremely sad to leave all of my teammates. I hope everyone adds your thoughts or favorite memories! I know one thing is for sure...I'll never forget this experience and all of the wonderful people I've met!