Sioux Center to Cherokee, Iowa: July 22, 2012

First day of RAGBRAI:  My Garmin is programmed for the ride.  I got up about 5:30 and went for coffee to get me going.  After all the morning routine was finished, I was ready to ride about 6:45 a.m.  Big mistake!  I should have headed out much earlier.  It was hot and destined to get hotter.  Fortunately, the ride was only 57 miles long.  Isn’t it ridiculous that one can refer to a 57-mile bike ride as “only…”  However, measured against 85 miles, it is an “only.”

Many of you know me to be detailed oriented.  I blame it on my accounting background, but I am obsessive about making sure I don’t forget to do something or to be late for wherever I am supposed to be.  To aide my memory, I make a spreadsheet with everything…and I really do mean everything.  For example is this is my entry for leaving Cincinnati for Clinton:





Fri 07/20/12

8:00 AM

Drive to Clinton, IA

1219 S. 2nd Street

Across from Clausen Company

Near 2nd St. & 13th Ave.

Load Bicycle on Truck between 4 and 7:30 p.m.

Get handlebar tag for ID’g my bike.  Put pipe insulation pieces on bike and give bike to PBV for transporting

Drive to Country Inn, Clinton, IA Country Inn: 2224 Lincolnway Street

Phone:  (563) 244-9922


6:45 AM

Drive to Bus Staging Area Drop Off Bags for Bus 6

Following the 6:45 a.m. entry, I had an separate line for 7:00, another for 7:15, and 7:30, and 8:00, and “Early Afternoon.”  I gave myself a little break for the afternoon, but only because I didn’t know what time we would arrive in Clinton.  You get the idea, right?  Some entries were important enough that I even highlighted them with a yellow felt-tipped pen.  Then after I had completed the sheet, I reread the information that had been provided us by Pork Belly Ventures (PBV) and they said the tent flaps needed to be left unzipped for them to be able to get the bags out of the tent.  I thought this was an important thing to remember and I didn’t want to re-print, yet again, my table of dates and times so I found a space large enough that I could write in yellow-highlighted large letters:  LEAVE FLY UNZIPPED.  I had to laugh out loud when I read that entry when I was reviewing my sheet the next morning.  I guess it would be okay for me to follow those instructions because isn’t that what “old men” do?

I’m finally ready to go even though most riders have already left.  This is the “start line” after the crowd is gone.  Actually there isn’t a mass departure, well, actually there IS a mass departure, but not in the sense of someone saying, “Ready, Set, Go!”  A mass of people just get up and go…earlier than I did!

I may have already mentioned that some refer to RAGBRAI as a 500-mile buffet line.  In every town of any size, at least a dozen and usually more booths sell every kind of food imaginable.  Riding in RAGBRAI is not the thing to do on a diet.  Many riders actually gain weight even though they are burning so many calories on the ride.  Oops, that’s me guiltily raising my hand…I was one of those people!

The first stop I made about 15 miles into the ride was no exception except Alton was big enough to have more than just booths; they had a wonderful bakery, Dutch Bakery.  Another line, but it was worth the wait.

On the ride, I met Janice at one of the stops, the town of Marcus, I think.

I made three stops for food and water on today’s 57-mile ride. I was hot and tired but happy to have made the first day.  Later I was talking with a couple of guys and mentioned that I may have gotten a little dehydrated in that heat today.  One of them lectured me on drinking lots of water.  He said you are supposed to drink a 24-oz. bottle of water every 15 minutes and that he had drunk 32 bottles of water on today’s ride.  I told him I had always heard you should drink a bottle of water every hour.  I should have done a little simple math.  I would be waterlogged if I drank that much water.  I wondered where he was able to find that much water on today’s ride without stopping at a lot of farm houses.

We were not allowed into “tent city” until after 1:00, so when I started down the row of tents looking for mine, I was quickly reminded by a staffer, “You can’t go in there yet; if we let you go in, everyone will want to go.”  I wasn’t looking for special treatment; I had forgotten (I even forgot to enter that on my schedule!).  I made a hasty retreat and looked for a tree under which to lie down.  Found one.  Took a nap.  Just as i was going to sleep, I felt this big “plop” on my face…no it wasn’t that!  It was someone’s bike shorts.  I was sleeping close to a tent so I yelled toward the front of the tent, “Hey, there’s someone out here – don’t throw things outside without looking.”  No reply.  Janet who had come up a few minutes before I went to sleep, told me they had fallen out of the tree!  At that point, I was hoping they were wet from being washed!

A nice relaxing afternoon after a shower; of course, there was a very long line waiting for the shower.  The line was snaking all over the place – in the sun, until I saw some shade and coaxed and appealed to everyone to move over to the shade.  The only problem then was the line came tantalizingly close to the front of the line…so near, but yet so far; however, the shade made it more tolerable except for the standing for 30-40 minutes.  A lesson learned:  From now on, I will take my shower as soon as possible after getting in from my ride.


About SteveVarnum

I am 81 years old. I started riding a bicycle at age 70 and like most avid cyclists, fell "in love" with it. For a Grand Adventure, I decided to ride at least 100 miles in every state. I completed all 50 states. I did the 48 contiguous states in May - November 2010 (73) and Hawaii and Alaska 2011 (74). I have ridden > 36,000 miles in past 11 years and at 81, I still am still riding.
This entry was posted in Adventure, Bicycles, Bicycling, Exercise, Friends, Iowa, United States and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Sioux Center to Cherokee, Iowa: July 22, 2012

  1. Candy Fiddes says:

    Things going along real well here glad to see you’re out there having some fun too. All those experienced things we learn by being there and in stuff. simple stuff like showere immediately. Danes growing like trees now all the neighbors stuff and greet them. Peace and ride on…..

  2. Candy Fiddes says:

    stop by and see them, need to keep my glasses on. oh and I now see shower has an extra e – Simple should of been Capitalized 😥

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