Tuesday, July 31, 2007

RAGBRAI XXXV - Dyersville to Bellevue - Day 7

July 28th, Dyersville to Bellevue - 56.6 miles (closer to 60), 3196 feet of climb. Went through Dyersville, Worthington, Cascade, Garryowen, Bernard (Beernardia), LaMotte and Bellevue.

The last day! About day five, you're getting in great shape, but you're starting to wonder if it will ever be over. Five days seems like a fairly natural time to be biking. Seven days starts to seem like a long time. And the last day was hilly. You go up for a kilometer or so, then down for a kilometer or so, and the process repeated itself as the elevation climbed until right before you hit Bellevue when you dropped steeply into the river valley. There was some real work involved. Particularly, as all the spoke work on my bike (two at the same time the day before - for a total of seven) took its toll on my tube, and I got another slow flat. I pulled the tube off, grabbed the spare we had left between us...and it was a presta valve. Completely the wrong tube. When my Dad bought his bike, he asked the bike shop to fully equip him for RAGBRAI. Rack, pack, odometer, spare. So they had his bike right there - they were selling it to him, and they still gave him the wrong damn tube. Apparently they just comped him three tubes as an "oops" at the store today. Anyway, I rode the flat tire for the last thirty miles, riding mostly on the tire rubber and 20 pounds of air. Every five miles or so I'd hop off at the top of a hill and furiously pump it up with my mini pump hoping not to make the leak any worse, just so I could get some extra help on the uphills and not feel like I was riding a fat-tired motorcycle on the downhills. Serious exercise. Here's a picture of John at the crest of a hill where I was topping off.

Here's John in LaMotte. On the other side of town is a big hill that seems to go almost straight up. The guy biking next to me had his iPod set to play the Philadelphia Steeler's Run to the Superbowl song. It was inspiring and lasted all the way up the hill, and although I can't sympathize with their playoff desires, I appreciated the climbing music.

Me, at breakfast in Cascade showing a bit of scruff, looking a little more brown and a little more craggy than when I started RAGBRAI. You can see a PVC flag pole in the background.

Bernard, where they were selling t-shirts that said, "Beernardia". I don't think that quite qualifies as civic pride, but it was better than the town that had two big ball weights on the power line outside of town and were selling t-shirts that said, "I had a boyfriend like that once" and "I had a girlfriend like that once". I understand the boyfriend reference...but girlfriend? Yikes. The women in the green jerseys are the Fungus Among Us Team. A lot of the teams had their own jerseys - presumably a benefit of the ability to design and order things online in the internet age.

At the end of the ride, in Bellevue, you dip your tire in the river. You dip at the beginning as well, but we didn't, because I thought riding across the bridge that went over the river probably qualified. You're also supposed to lift your bike in the air over your head which seems foolish given the weight of my hybrid + bag and water bottles.

If you had a road bike, the over the head self-congratulatory bike wave was more practical.

And there were a lot of riders who wanted to dip their tires.

Here's a bit of video of the whole tire dipping event. Haha...your luggage is way up on this hill.

The end. Eryn and Pooteewheet picked us up on the far edge of town, where we'd hauled our baggage so they didn't have to deal with the traffic jam downtown. Wheels on your luggage - a very wise move. She and Eryn stayed in Independence, a 120 miles away the night before, so they didn't have to travel 350 miles by noon, and because it was the only place within 120 miles with a hotel room open.

I should point out that it wasn't the end of the ride for everyone. As Pooteewheet came into town, there was a guy who was crawling up the river valley with his luggage loaded onto a bike trailer behind him. We passed him again as we headed north toward Dubuque. Then we stopped for a long lunch. And passed him again on the river valley hill as we continued toward Dubuque. You have to assume he was climbing the 600' over many miles climb all the way to Dubuque, 20 miles away, where he probably lived. That is some dedication to the aluminum horse.


Steve Eck said...

Wow good work! I enjoyed reading the series of posts on RAGBRAI.

boringsahm said...

All I can say is: Wow, what an event! I've never heard of anything as big as this in Oz.

(Thanks again for your comments of the bike trailer)

LissyJo said...

Ah, yes...Job well done. Although, boringsahm, as you mentioned before: Riding across the state of iowa is not like riding across the state of NSW.

What state next?

Scooter said...

Thanks, Steve!

LissyJo - it was almost 500 miles, which is 800 kilometers, so it was like biking halfway across NSW. So if there's ever a Great 50% NSW Ride, I'm prepped.

Anonymous said...

I enjoyed the recap. What is the deal with all the broken spokes? No one should break that many spokes in a week. . . . or in the life of a wheel. It's weird.

Anonymous said...

I was happy seeing your photos as I am ill [but recovering] and its nice to see the outdoors from a bicycling 'view' - had no idea so many people are into it! Your family life pictures are nice, the little girl is adorable.
Happy riding!

Scooter said...

Glad you enjoyed the posts, Freehartz. And you hauled me back to a post with a comament I was looking for so I could find theboy's cycling blog.