Monday, July 30, 2007

RAGBRAI XXXV - Humboldt to Hampton - Day 3

July 24th, Humboldt to Hampton - 71 miles, 1491 feet of climb. Went through Humboldt, Dakota City, Thor, Eagle Grove, Clarion, Cornelia, Alexander, and Hampton.

After no real sleep in Humboldt, given the loud music and motorcycles and drunk revelers, my Dad was looking worn out on Tuesday. He was pretty good through Eagle Grove, a town of 3712 which had gone all out. They did a wonderful job welcoming everyone to the city with lots of entertainment on the street, greeters, old cars parked in driveways, a DJ taking requests to play in the street - it was particularly nice and actually made you think it might be a nice place to live. John liked it enough he felt it was a good place to use the bathroom.

Of course, it could have been that the gorilla scared the crap out of him.

The DJ was amusing and would sing along with the songs, overriding "Save a horse, ride a cowboy" with "Save a bike, ride a bike rider"...which was primarily funny because he was trying so hard to make the lyrics fit. I've sung the Smokey and the Bandit theme a few times for Eryn, so I was in high spirits when they played it as biking music.

Here's another "No Bikes" sign in Eagle Grove.

John really wasn't feeling well, and by the time we reached Clarion (about 34.6 miles into the ride) he was baked and took advantage of a RAGBRAI sag wagon to haul him and his bike to the anchor stop for the night. He felt really bad - but I was more concerned that he rest up and feel better. It's no good pushing yourself until you can't do any more of the ride at all. Once he left, I ratcheted up my speed to about 17 mph, and was only fifteen minutes or so behind him pulling in for the evening. But there was a lot to see on the way to Hampton...

Like the Kum & Go team bus in Clarion. I took this picture specifically for Brad because he and I both think the Kum & Go is pretty funny. You could Kum & Go all the way across Iowa if you wanted to - heck, I even had discounts. As you can see in the picture, they've Kum & Gone.

In Cornelia, only seven miles away, I blew another spoke. This is one of the places Lance may have blurred past me while I was pondering who would buy the plastic penis necklace for sale nearby. The mechanic charged me $16. A dollar more than the guys the two days before...I was sort of the opinion that I needed a frequent spoke buyer card.

WATCH OUT FOR THE TRAIN! WATCH OUT FOR THE TRAIN! It was activated. There was a woman standing on the tracks taking pictures of bikes as they cross with the train looking like it was rushing at them - that was probably a better picture.

Some of the farmers on the route had a good sense of humor and this was a pleasant surprise.

When I crossed I-35, I stopped at a small farmhouse to have a piece of pie as I was running low on energy. This is where I learned that well water, no matter how well intentioned (ahahahaha...ok...excuse me) can taste like crap on a hot day. But the pie...oh man...the pie. Rhubarb/Raspberry ala mode, and the pie wasn't oozing. It was just so damn delicious. I don't think I've ever had anything like it. I was hoping it wasn't atypical, and tried a number of pieces at other towns during the ride, but didn't have any luck finding anything even in the same league. The woman was a pie goddess. One of the riders had her bundle up three slices and they attached them to their bike so they could haul it to Hampton for friends, it was that good.

I also scored a bottle of Hilary (Clinton) water on the way into Hampton. A big cool bottle of water on a hot day after two hours at 17 mph, part of it with a broken spoke, could almost buy my vote. The only problem was it washed the pie taste and residual raspberry seeds out of my mouth, and that made me grumpy.

And I crossed paths with a trooper who had a clicker and was trying to count riders, mostly by estimating and clickly...quickly racking up an estimate. He said we were in the 2950 range, and the day before he had counted 15000. 15000! Day riders and registered riders. That doesn't include SAG support people or out of towners coming in to enjoy the festivities. That's five to ten times the size of some of the larger towns we stayed at - surreal.

John's experience on the SAG van (where he promptly got sick) imparted him with new information about RAGBRAI. One, they track your SAG usage of the official vehicle - they don't want you to just ride it across the state. Two, some people are dropped off by private SAG at the halfway point, including groups of drafting riders. They don't do the whole day. Three, the SAG vehicle might not get you to town any faster than biking (although with a lot less bonking).

It was a slow day for a lot of people, and there was still a lot of luggage unclaimed at 6:45 p.m., presumably because it was so hot and people were napping or drinking out the afternoon.

We ate a spaghetti dinner at the Catholic Church, noted the Obama and Hilary signs nearby (although they didn't ride...slackers. John Edwards rode...with Lance. And Joe Biden made his wife ride), watched the biplanes and ultralights flying around, and talked to other rides, including a mom who was sending her son to Hamline, a Thomas Cooley professor who noted that needs to have far fewer clicks - he prefers the Westlaw interface, and a '76 graduate of Augsburg whose daughter was a singer in Atlanta (he was pushing her CD to some radio guys downtown).

A piece of RAGBRAI advice - if you don't want to pack a ton of clothes, take the ones you do have in the shower and wash them. It's much easier than trying to wash them with detergent in a plastic bag. Don't wear cotton shirts, but find actual bike jerseys as they wash out easily, are cleaner than the cotton after you've used soap on them, and dry much faster. Remember to put them inside your tent before bed so they don't pick up dew.

Also...butt butter. No one wants to talk about it, but having something to lubricate your butt and fill in the seams and cracks in your bike shorts...worth its weight in gold. My Dad looked incredibly dubious when I filled a squeeze container for him before we left, and I'd never used it either, but he had blown through almost all of his by the last day of the ride.

And the train in Hampton that came by on the hour and blew his whistle every time. I curse suck...I don't care if you are carrying golden nutrition to the world.


LissyJo said...

Um, too much info re: my father and brothers' bicycling butt problems.

That gorilla should've died of heat exhaustion by the end of the day! Crap, that looks hot.

So, do they shame you the more you take the SAG wagon? I don't get it.

LissyJo said...

I forgot to ask...What makes "hilary water" so hilary-licious? Does she put a little piece of herself into each bottle?

Anonymous said...

I heard she bathes in tubs full of the water before it's drained into bottles and handed out to potential constituents...

Scooter said...

LissyJo - yes, they do shame you the more you take the SAG vehicle. John said they keep track so they can confront you and berate you for using it too much (literally) and for trying to do RAGBRAI when you didn't adequately prepare.

Kyle...nasty. But theoretically, no nastier than what her husband indulged in with women.

Anonymous said...

Maybe she just lets it run through her newly shown cleavage.....

I'm going back to the professor who said your websites had too many clicks - whatever. Tell him to try using an electronic medical record and see how many clicks that would be. He'd never complain about your website again!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps cookiequeen is correct - she just let the water flow between her bosom(s?) into a receptacle for further distribution to the masses. I'm not sure if she could supply enough water to the masses of thirsty bikers that way though.

Either way, you put it (the water that is) in your mouth and quenched your thirst eh.... try wrapping your head around that potential imagery. :)

Anonymous said...

I love the bike, but I prefer a scooter, especially if it has excellent scooter gas mileage. You can save a lot of cash without having to sweat too much.

Scooter said...

I think Ron Paul was campaigning as well - would you have rather I drank his water?