16
Mar
09

The Dream Begins: RAGBRAI 2009

the 2009 RAGBRAI route

the 2009 RAGBRAI route

Goals are a good thing, especially for bicyclists. Spending hours on a trainer during the winter months, spinning fruitlessly, has its way of messing with the mind. Sure, you can focus on your pedal stroke or pour yourself into intervals, but even the strictest training regimen has its recovery days, where you are explicitly to do nothing. To just spin. And think.

Those are the days when boredom inevitably creeps in, when you start to question your very dedication to the sport and just why, exactly, you’re wearing fucking spandex and lycra. It can be a tough, existential battle for cyclists trying to make it to the spring, and Lord only knows how many good people we’ve lost to the mental abuse of it all.

So goals are definitely a good thing. They keep us moving forward, looking ahead, and it has the effect of helping us to forget the monotony of the moment. As a proud and cornfed Iowan, every year brings with it a sort of built-in goal: RAGBRAI.

If you’re not familiar with RAGBRAI, it’s short for the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, and it’s essentially a week of two-wheeled commraderie that works its way from the Western-most side of Iowa all the way to the mighty Mississippi in the East. It’s seven days, well over 400 miles and one hell of a good time. It’s technically still the largest organized ride in the world, with 10,000 registered riders participating and countless more hopping on along the way.

I’ve done the complete ride only once, back in 2003, which took myself and a handful of friends (riding under the team name “Pollo Irato” — or “Angry Chickens”) across a similar Southern route. I did it on the back of my trusty Cannondale R300, and survived what was called the “8th hilliest route in RAGBRAI history” (which, at the time, seemed like something of an understatement). Since then, I’ve jumped on the route for a few days here and there, but I’ve never had the opportunity or gumption to do it again.

Until now that is. This year, along with my amazing girlfriend, Brittany, and wheelman extrodinaire, Andy E., I’m dedicating myself to accomplishing the entire route again. Of course, Coach David Ertl recommends putting in 1000 miles beforehand, so I’ve got my work cut out for me. I’ll keep you updated on the (lack of) progress as we go.

– Adam

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