I Ride For: Emerson
My name is Jeff. I am the Dad of a friend of your Mom’s. I am 51 years old, have 4 kids, and 4 Grandkids (the oldest is only 2 years younger than you). And today I am riding my bicycle across part of Iowa for you.
Why would I do this, you may wonder? Well, it’s a long story, but the line to go to the bathroom is about 15 minutes long so I will give it a shot.
The first answer is, “I’m crazy.” I could be sitting by a pool somewhere or even at the beach. Instead I am standing in line. To go to the bathroom! There is no ride at the end of this line. And it is not even a real bathroom. It is a port-a-potty like you may have seen at the fair. Yep, I am crazy.
The second reason is because I get to hang out with really cool people. These people look to make other’s lives better every day. This morning for example, all 60 of us waited at camp until everyone was ready to take a picture in a special jersey. One of our team member’s Dad died last year, so today we gave him a big “hug” so he would be less sad.
And third, I ride for you because at least for now you cannot. I saw a picture of you playing softball which was really cool. But I bet your Mom and Dad would not let you pack up your bags and ride across Iowa. 😜 So I am doing it for you.
Ok, so my turn to go to the bathroom is almost here. (It is a good thing or I might have an accident!) I hope your day is going well. I’ll be thinking of you.
Jeff “The Road Rider” Mulder
I have a confession to make. If the word “never” is defined as 100% of the time, then I “never” relax. (The exception may be when I’m sleeping, but I’m not quite sure.) So not counting when I’m sleeping, I never relax. I am always (again defined as 100% of the time) thinking at least one step ahead.
I tried to “relax” once. For 6 months I attempted to journal my daily attempt to “smell the roses”. I really tried, and Jeri has the journal to prove it. Granted, I have had a super blessed life, but this was the most miserable 6 months of my life. I don’t give two craps about roses. I don’t want to live in the moment. And after 6 months, I quit. The rest of the journal that year for Jeri reverted to me writing about what I got done on my to-do list and of course, what I was going to do tomorrow.
I like to dream of relaxing like I did in yesterday’s post. I like to live vicariously through my kids and my wife who have this gift of being able to be ok with today. But I know I will never have it.
Today was “relaxing” in that I was finally done packing. But my mind was on the next flag post, putting on extra sun screen, making sure I was drinking 20oz an hour, and scheming on where to hide when I got back to camp.
I ended up riding 64 miles, climbed 3,200’, and was on my bike for 4 hours and 47 minutes. The gravel section was way harder than previous years. At one point, my computer read 13% grade and my back tire was slipping a quarter turn with every pedal stroke. And even then I was thinking about the next corner and where I was going to go for dinner.
Tomorrow is supposed to be 71 miles and 2,500’. I’ll be out early again. And will try to relax. Ha! That’s a lie! From the moment I get on the bike, I will be thinking of the next town, the next flag, the next place to take a shower.
The Road Rider
PS. I found a semi-air conditioned gym to sit in after I set up my tent, packed for tomorrow, took a shower, got something to eat, and set up my bike computer to charge. I tried to lay down like the guy next to me, but after 90 seconds (ok maybe it was 60) it felt like a waste of time so I got up and started working.
I had a great day. I got going early. I used up both bags of Scratch (sports mix) before 10 am. Ate some good food – Whisky Brownie, Fried Tofu, and pie. My riding average was 16 mph. And for the last 30 miles, I rode to tunes from The Irish Rovers, AC/DC, Guns and Roses, and John Denver. I was to camp by 12:30 pm. I set up tent, packed for tomorrow, started everything charging, and headed for the showers by 1:30pm. It was great!
THIS IS NOT HOW RAGBRAI IS SUPPOSED TO BE DONE!
It is now 5 pm and most of the rest of the team is just rolling in. They likely hit the road at 8 am instead of 6:20 am. They spent time in all the different towns scoping out the local stuff, and hung out in the beer gardens chatting. Almost everyone rolls in with 2-5 others. RAGBRAI is about the social experience with a 450 mile bike ride thrown in.
I have never done RAGBRAI right, but this year I’m worse than normal. The good news is, I know what I’m missing. The bad news is, I’ll keep going tomorrow just like I did today. Two reasons for this:
Today was a great day for me. BUT if you are reading this post and thinking of doing RAGBRAI sometime in the future, please don’t follow my lead. If you come, plan on taking 10 hours to do a 60 mile ride. Ride with people like my son Cole, or Gene, or Tina, or Barb and any of the others. These people know how to do RAGBRAI.
The Road Rider
I Ride For: Gary
Tomorrow morning the LiveSTRONG team will all leave camp with our annual tribute jersey on. This year we will be remembering Jeff Webb. He was my first RAGBRAI contact and ran out of time last year.
Gary also ran out of time – 2 1/2 years ago.
Why do we say, “ran out of time” instead of “lost his battle”? It’s because the cures that work today did not exist 2 months ago, or 2 years ago, or 20 years ago. I’m a great example. I do not have cancer and never have, but only because of a test developed in 1969 – the colonoscopy. Without this test I would for sure have cancer and would likely be dead. I have had 3 of these tests so far and had polyps at every one.
Gary had a super rare cancer. He was only 1 of 100 people in the US to have it. There was not cure, and actually very little knowledge of his form of cancer. It is not that Gary lost his battle, he ran out of time. Because surely at some time in the future the knowledge gained from studying Gary will help someone else survive.
Thank you Gary for the family you left behind and for the contribution you made to the cancer community. I wish you had more time!
The Road Rider
I Ride For: Ann
Since I ate Whisky Brownies for Carrie, I thought I better eat something different for Ann. Just before I started her flag I had a bowl of noodles with vegetables and tofu. Tofu is a little risky. It either turns out really good (like today) or it is bland and gross. When I got back on the road I was happy with my choice. Although it felt a bit cannibalistic since we rode for miles and miles through soy bean fields.
I almost skipped the last town and then I heard someone call out “Pie”. I slammed on the breaks (I was going all of 5mph) and went back. Ann’s son-in-law is riding with us this year, but he does not eat pie. SEE! I told you there were weirder people than me. So I took one for the team and choked down a piece of rhubarb pie. (The things I do for you, Scot.)
Ann, I know you are having a tough time. There will be pie tomorrow, and on Wednesday, and on Thursday, and on Friday, and on Saturday. If you tell me (or let Scot know) your favorite kind, I’ll eat that kind for you. It is the least I can do since Scot won’t do it. Ha!
The Road Rider