Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Lots of Drafts

I've been silent for a long time. Lots of drafts, but find too much negative in sharing my thoughts. Sticking with the theme of silence being the new scream, I've been quiet and left drafts to languish.

I couldn’t come up with enough words to effectively describe all of the experiences that I’ve had over the years on RAGBRAI. I did my first one when I was 14 and missed last year for the first time since. I had my doubts about attending this year. As fate would have it, I was able to attend with my good friend Scott for 2 days of the actual RAGBRAI event sandwiched between 2 days of riding to and from.

This was my first opportunity to try out my Atlantis in full touring garb. I mounted my Rivendell Nitto front and rear racks with Arkel panniers full of gear for a quick 4 day self-contained bike vacation.

Weight using the “bathroom scale:” Bike loaded with gear, camping equipment, and food weighed in at 87.5 pounds, more when loaded with a full cooler, ice, and “adult beverages.” Bike with racks and empty baggage was 47.5 pounds. Quick math tells me that I was carrying 40 pounds of clothing, toiletries, camping gear, etc. It doesn’t really matter much to me, I was traveling in style and over the period of 15 years of traveling self-contained I am willing to accept the fact that I sometimes over-pack. I’ve got the list fairly well figured out:

We drove down on Tuesday to leave a car and Knoxville, IA to make approximately a 30 mile ride to the Tuesday overnight town of Indianola.
The route was loosely “planned” and quickly turned into an adventure. The sign said it all, but not one content to accept things as stated we had to find out on our own.

The riding quickly turned into hike-a-bike.

From what I was able to determine as the midway point using GPS and the maps application on my iPhone, we questioned our senses. We pushed on to find indeed that the road was closed.
We managed to cross the "bridge" and once back on regular gravel, both Scott and I had to take wheels off of bikes to get the mud out of the fenders so that the wheels would roll again.
Once under way, we had smooth sailing and primo gravel conditions for the balance of the day’s ride.
Too much fun was had during the following few days for me to take many photos. The only on-route shots that I got were of this stop for “free beer.”
We wrapped up our adventure with a peaceful and hilly ride from Ottumwa to Knoxville to make for something in the order of 250 miles in 4 days. Low in comparison to my historical mega-mileage tours of RAGBRAI in years past. I hope to be back in condition for next year and to resume my “normal” ride to Iowa, across, and back home. Though, I will likely never repeat the year where I rode 1,151 miles in 12 days. That was the year that my lovely spouse Anika summed up with her comment when I returned: “You look like a burnt raisin.”


Joe said...

Hey Ken! It was great running into you twice on RAGBRAI! You were definately travelling in style compared to my dirt-bagging it.

Joe in Iowa

Monte said...

ken, I saw your bike but never you...I think I would have recognized you from the blog. I rode down to Indinola from MPLS and finished in Muscatine, IA 600 miles 7 days. Glad you enjoyed the few days...beautiful bike.

Reflector Collector said...

Joe, it was really fun to run into you! We did see another Karate Monkey not but a couple of hours after you stated that you hadn't seen another one... Go figure.

Reflector Collector said...

Monte, your adventure sounds like a good one. For several years I've ridden down to the start of RAGBRAI from the Twin Cities. It's the best "riding" part of the event...

When you saw my bicycle, I was likely off in a city park watching people. Perhaps I'll see you 'round.

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