Today was too beautiful of a day to not bicycle, but that turned it into a crazy day.
When I was awoken in the middle of the night Friday by a downpour, I was grateful that Friday was my day to drive from Oskaloosa to Fairfield. My legs were tired, and I did not want to ride in the rain. In the morning, I sent the rest of the team off on wet streets and took our RV on to the last overnight town. When I got there I set off to find the showers so I could direct the team when they got in. A volunteer on an ATV asked if I wanted a lift and tour of the fairgrounds and I hopped on.
“Just throwing this out there,” I said. “Do you know anyone going out of town who would drop me and my bike off along the route? I’d like to bike a few miles back into town.”
I expected him to say, “Sorry, can’t help you.” Instead he said, “I know exactly who you need to talk to.” And he took me to Paula, who was setting up tents. After she got her team set up, she was heading out to sit with her cousin who is an Iowa state trooper helping direct traffic.
I threw my bike in the back of her truck, and she drove my out on the back roads to Packwood, today’s last pass through town. From there, I rode 15 miles back into Fairfield. Only on RAGBRAI, does one get in a car with a complete stranger, drive on gravel roads, not completely sure where they’re going, and happen across 15,000 other cyclists.
Along the way, I talked to several people about the morning. Apparently, it was flat, there was no rain, and the temperature was just right. I’m sorry I missed most of the ride today but glad I in the miles I did and talked to the people taking the day a bit slower.
Also along the way, I met a man who is a mentor for the Dream Team, a Des Moines-based group that mentors teens about exercise and setting goals. They start training in the winter, and the program accumulates with the group completing RAGBRAI and getting the keep the equipment. Next week, this mentor starts a new job at a Des Moines YMCA, and I want to wish him good luck. It was clear he had tremendous pride in the Dream Team and was happy to tell me about it was we made our way into the last few miles into Fairfield.
A couple more things: Today’s evening activity was setting the Guinness World Record for most people wearing a fake mustache. I simply had to participate. The auditors will give an official count in the future, but I have a good feeling we clinched it.
Most of this blog has been about trying to explain about RAGBRAI to people who are not here. Today I took a shower in a 4-H hog building. It may be the best shower I’ve taken all week. I don’t know how to explain it except, you had to be there. Only on RAGBRAI…
— Beth Paul