RAGBRAI – Day 6, Post 4
I Ride For: Janice
I am now sitting in front of my tent for the last evening of this trip. All my “work” for the day/night are done. Bike is ready for tomorrow. Bed is ready for tonight. I am clean. And my super-secret clean clothes for the bus ride home are on the top of my pile. The LiveSTRONG staff is cooking hamburgers for dinner, which means I do not have to bike again until tomorrow.
The setting for tonight’s camp is awesome. We are literally camping on the runway of the local airport. We are on the top of a hill and can see for miles in three directions. From where I’m sitting I can see corn, bean, and wheat fields. I can see trees in between the fields and most likely creeks. It is sunny and warm with a perfect breeze keeping things cool and dry. It is super peaceful.
I looked for places like this all day to write exactly this message to Janice. She has had little peace in her life in the last 15 years. Hers was one of the thousands of homes destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. Then as they were trying to recover, cancer dug in. It has been one thing or another ever sense. Very little peace and quiet even for a moment.
Today I found a park that was empty, but by the time I had gone to get a bottle of water it was packed. I was biking along with lots of others, but it was pretty quiet and then one bike after another came by with loud music. Seems like wherever I turned, there was a distraction. Until this evening.
Now it is peaceful. I am so lucky to be in this camp with these people. I hope/wish Janice can find her peace wherever and whenever it reveals itself.
The Road Rider
RAGBRAI – Day 6, Post 3
I Ride For: Anne
It is 1:30 pm and I am sitting at a Hardee’s about 2 miles from our camp site. I am here because there is shade and air conditioning, they have food and ICE, and they have Wi-Fi that is not yet overloaded. The little towns like this one will be completely swamped by cell and Wi-Fi by 6pm. There is one more reason why I’m here now instead of later: while my butt is always a little sore by this time in a ride, I actually have a saddle sore. I will not go into any more details here (one R rated post per trip is enough). I am NOT sitting on my bike seat to bike the two miles back here later.
So in the last 6 days, I have been able to sample a double cheeseburger at McDonalds, A&W, and Hardee’s. (All in the name of finding free Wi-Fi of course. Ha!) In highly educated opinion, A&W was the best. This may have been influenced by the root beer. I guzzled the first ice cold frosty mug. It was great. AND IT WAS A GLASS – GLASS. No plastic bottle.
So how can I spin free Wi-Fi, saddle sores, fast food, and root beer into an I Ride For:? I cannot really do it. Anne is a best friend of Margo. Margo is the mother of Jimmy. Jimmy ran out of time a couple years ago, but not before he and his sister were the first cancer story I ever heard 20 years ago and got me really started at LiveSTRONG. Their Dad (Margo’s husband) is Dan, who I would like to get on RAGBRAI someday. And I bet Dan would appreciate the air conditioning and Wi-Fi if he were here. It’s a stretch but the best I can do.
Anne, from what Margo wrote me, you are a care-giving machine. I bet this makes it tough to be on the other end. My Mom does a weekly radio program called “Wisdom of the Wounded” and her advice is, you will actually be helping others to let them help you. If you can, give them a job. There is always vacuuming to be done, lawns to mow, cars to wash, food to be bought or prepared. At a minimum, tell Dan that it would really help you if he did RAGBRAI in 2018 with that weirdo from Michigan that sent you the flag.
The Road Rider
RAGBRAI 2017: Day 6, Post 2
I Ride For: Paul
Mind games. The last two days have gone mentally fast for me. This means I have not had to play many mind games. The day of the wind, however, required a few. Music was a big help if for no other reason than it covered up the sound of the wind. Other games I play are; a drink every mile; standing for 30 seconds at the start of every song; and counting pedal strokes to 1,000.
Before Paul ran out of time last month, he played his own mind games. I don’t know if it was on purpose the first time or a mistake, but he wore mismatched socks to a chemo treatment. Someone noticed and a tradition was born. Paul and others would show up at their next appointment with crazier and crazier socks. Their moto became “Sock it to cancer.”
Whatever it takes to get you through. Even better if it can be fun along the way.
The Road Rider
RAGBRAI 2017: Day 6, Post 1
I Ride For: Kathy
Routine. That’s what it is all about for me. As I sit on the curb typing and watching the rest of Team LiveSTRONG camp de-camp, it is interesting to see other’s routines. When I get out of my tent in the morning, I am 100% ready to go. My bags are packed, I’m dressed, sunblock is on, and all I need to do is take the tent down. Others get up, wander, get some coffee, go back in, come out half dressed, head to the bathrooms. I do very little (maybe) nothing at random or spur-of-the-moment.
When I got the flag request for Kathy, her willingness to just go on a moment’s notice caught my eye first. I have vacations planned months in advance. When she starts to feel better in-between chemo treatments, she finds a good deal on a vacation destination and goes. Wow! That would be cool to do. I will never be comfortable doing that.
So on this first section of the ride this morning, I threw my plan to the wind. I spent a great first hour talking to Gene about biking, and sailing, and generally solving the problems of the world. When the climbing started, I took pictures of socks. (Next post) And once in town, I ate Ham Balls. What a great morning.
The Road Rider