Monday, August 03, 2009

RAGBRAI: Greenfield to Indianola (77.1 miles, 4470 feet of climb)

Ah, Greenfield to Indianola. The one day my sister had to admit, that at least temporarily, as long as she was eating pancakes, she was an Oriental girl and that it had nothing to do with a rug.

Welcome to Macksburg. Home of Skillet Tossing. See the bottom for a somewhat grainy video. It involves tossing a skillet at a few scarecrows with balls for their heads. The big fence is designed to protect bystanders, but it is in no way foolproof and a few people almost ended up being brained.

It did rain for a chunk of the day. Not a torrential downpour, but a drizzling moisture that meant it was too hot for a rain jacket, and too cool for a t-shirt.

It doesn't rain on you inside the pancake barn. But it does drape cobwebs all over you and your pancakes. Strangely, pancakes don't seem to stick to cobwebs the way skin does. So if you're ever going into a dark cave full of unknown arachnids, I suggest putting on a suit made out of breakfast food. You should be safe.

Macksburg warns you to avoid the skillets.

A view of the overcast sky.

And wearing rain jackets in the water line.

By later in the day it was heating up. Somewhere after this point were Jagger girls, and before this point a pair of young women dressed up as cowgirls who were encouraging bicyclists to pay to have their photo taken with them. A big step up over the "Have your picture taken with my horse/cow" folks. I had an urge to have a picture snapped with them for Pooteewheet as they were showing a lot of midriff, but I knew I'd ask them to do something like a faux spanking, and then I'd have been arrested for corrupting what was probably a minor/s (actually, I'm not sure what the age of a minor is in Iowa). So, lost opportunity, but a safe completion of the ride with no time in the hoosegow.

Ah. Corn. Bicycles. Riders. Thus was RAGBRAI.

A train that doubled as a smoker. Or a smoker that doubled as a train. Smoked meat was a staple of RAGBRAI. Just don't try to order the Texas potato - I stood there for 15 minutes and they finished one for the person ahead of me. Nothing at RAGBRAI is worth a 15 minute wait except the kybo, and even that is negotiable if you're not afraid of the one behind the rows.

At the end of the day, I was exhausted as we pulled into Indianola. I was a bit surprised at just how much energy I'd used up. My Dad seemed a little worse for the wear comparatively, which was fine, it was the end of the ride. And then we realized Indianola had directed us up what appeared to be a mountain in the middle of town. Followed closely by a much steeper mountain. I think John was almost angry at Indianola for betraying his sense of daily completion. When I directed us down various side streets toward our host family for the evening, he doubted me several times, concerned that I was leading him toward lost-dom and several more hills. Now I know how Jesus felt about Thomas.

A bevy of video:
Skillet tossing in action:

Elvis lives!

The queen of hearts. I didn't mind old music. I did mind Christian music. Ugh. It was about the only thing that destroys my bicycling experience and, as previously noted, I listed to O-Town and Hannah Montana. I also heard Insane Clown Posse (the song told me who was singing it and involved the riff from The Little Mermaid), show toons (Chicago ahead of me, New York behind me. Completely backwards), and strange syntho-techno-pop that almost threw my rhythm off.

A video that captures a little of the crowd that inhabited every meeting town. In this case, St. Charles.

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