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Kraggh's Great Iowan Bike Trip

Posted by Kragghle , in Life May 31 2013 · 112 views

Iowa
:kaukau: There's this thing called the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI for short.  It will start next July on the 21st, so last Wednesday I decided to prepare for it.
 
So here's what I did: for fifty miles, I biked from my home to Sioux City.  I was surprised to find myself getting sore the first few miles out.  The bike also broke down at least half a dozen times for the first half of the ride alone.  The bike wasn't the only technical problem.  In my backpack, I had a bunch of supplies that I deemed useful for such a trip, although the downside was that they weighed down on my shoulders and strained my neck muscles the whole way.  My entire back got pretty sore by the end, and that's to say nothing of how exhausted my knees were.
 
Worse yet, there were winds.  I mean, seriously, there were winds.  They were so bad that going downhill was an uphill battle, which is about as literal as that phrase gets.  I even experimented and tried turning around, tucking in my shoulders, and making myself nice and streamline, and the wind was so strong that it blew me along at ten miles per hour.  There were times when I even got down off my bike and walked it along, and it was difficult to even walk against that wind.
 
Furthermore, there were hills, and the shoulders for the first half were narrow.  I also knew ahead of time that there was going to be a thunder storm.  Fifteen miles away from my destination, it began pouring.  It would have been nice, in a way, since rain can be a comfort when you've been in the sun for too long, but it was a thunderstorm, and the rain was heavily ionized and tasted more bitter than my own sweat.    Furthermore, there were points where, once I reached Sioux City, I got lost.
 
However, after ten hours of biking in wretched conditions, I finally came to the praise group I said I would visit, shivering and suffering from hypothermia.  Someone fetched a blanket from her car for me to wrap around  my shoulders.
 
I had a friend there, who I could have called at any time but decided to surprise.  He thought it was incredibly cool.  There was another friend there, who's in the Air National Guard.  She was the person who constantly told me to go for it, even when my family had momentarily talked me out of it.  A little bit of encouragement goes a long way.  Fifty miles, to be exact.  I also brought her a birthday present, which was highly rewarding for me because normally my presents for people go unappreciated, but she loved it and even gave me a hug.  There was another friend I made, and she majored in art, so I showed her my most recent portrait, which I had completed the day before (and had fortunately been safe inside a waterproof container during my bike ride).  Then several friends helped get me and my bike over to a friend's house where I could sleep over.  It was a great time, and I will definitely do it again.
 
Unfortunately, I did not have the energy to bike back the next day, so I called up a ride to pick me up.  Before that came, however, I spend a couple of hours volunteering to move furniture, helping clean up my friend's house, and doing some plumbing for him.
 
Then my father arrived in his pickup truck.  I wish I can say that I did a job well done, but he didn't have any praise for me.  I'm used to it by now.  At least I proved to myself that I can do it.  And I'm going to do this again, and again.
 
You can talk about something a lot, and dream of doing it, but eventually you have to get out on the open road and stop thinking, and just make it your life.
 

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That is incredible. I would like to do something like that someday. 

 

Curious though, what did the bike breakdowns consist of? Flat tires? Seems like they were easily fixed, considering that you were able to keep going. 

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:kaukau: The chain kept coming off.  It happened at least a dozen times throughout the trip.  Fortunately, that's a lot easier to fix than flat tires.  If that had happened, I would have used a lifeline and called a friend.  Which is why I packed a phone, really.

 

I also found out later, upon arriving at my destination, that there was a tornado warning.  That explained a lot.

 

Next weekend, I might try this again, and see if I can even make the trip back the next day.  It's definitely a worthwhile experience.

 

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SkyLandOceAnna
Jun 18 2013 02:19 AM

You seem very determined. It is incredible what you were able to accompllish and that you fought through it all and made it safely to your friend's house. Congratulations! I would not have been able to go 50 miles and then help move furniture the next day. Thank you!

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Username: Emperor Kraggh
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Age: 20
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