That being said, I do drive 27 hours across the country (one way) every year to ride my bike across Iowa.
You see, I met this cute boy and he loved riding bikes... So I lied.
Next thing you know, he's online, signing us up to enter the lottery for the Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). Through the smile, I secretly prayed we would NOT make the lottery. Shucks...
For months, I dreaded the date we would be told our fortune (he didn't know any of this).
Then, the phone call came in...
"Hi, yes may I please speak to the lucky participant who has been chosen as one of the fortunate few to rider her bike across the wonderful state of iowa????" (He's kind of a jokester/radio personality type)
"Get ready to have the time of your life ANNNEEE!"
My heart sank. He had already arranged to have me borrow my friends bike, helmet, etc. and our tickets were booked. Not a minute later he was rambling on about which tent to bring and Thermarests, fans, bike jerseys, tire pumps, butt buttr, Cliff bars....
Excuse me... butt buttr???
I was torn. I really liked this guy, and I hate to suck at things, but... buttering my butt that first morning, falling asleep in a lawn chair almost immediately upon arrival at camp that night, heat rash on my thighs when I awoke the next morning and a cold shower at a high school... wasn't exactly the "bonding", "let's get to know each other" experience I was hoping for.
Too late. Day two was 86 miles and 5,000 feet of climbing. Fear and an eagerness to impress were the ONLY things making this "vacation" possible. All those "pie" and "frozen snickers" and "slip n slide" signs were just cruel. Were they mocking me?
I was afraid I wouldn't make it 86 miles in one day already... let alone if I stopped every coupla' miles and ate candy bars!
What had I gotten myself into... Each day that year, I rode more than I ever had in my whole life. I was scared to death to drink a beer like the other 30,000 people because.... what if I died??
You can tell that I knew NOTHING about anything... really. Thankfully I don't like to sound stupid so I actually listened to this cute boy and diligently heeded his advice.
Drink all your water in between towns.
Drink this gatorade.
Eat a piece of pie, and make sure you get ice cream, you need the calories.
Take a video of this slip n' slide, it's going to be a great marketing tool for our friends...
Marketing tool?? I swear, one hour, into day one, he was already planning his strategy to get our friends to Iowa for this ridiculous bike ride...
4 years later... There is now a painted "short" school bus on the team, an english bulldog (who doesn't do well in the Iowa heat) as the mascot, a roof rack capable of carrying 20 or more bikes, a 65 year old Special Ed teacher lady as the driver, and any crazy we can talk into joining us. Sounds nuts right?
Throw in a tandem. A bicycle built for two. Sounds romantic right?
Well let me tell you that what isn't advertised in that cute little photo... a tandem bicycle requires constant communication. Good communication. Oh we both talk a lot... but that isn't good enough.
We've since then talked to a lot of tandem bicycle duos and most of them put in hundreds of training miles before RAGBRAI to make sure their "communication" is good enough to get them through a week of 90+ weather, 60% humidity, hills, and camping - without killing each other.
We showed up with our brand new tandem with 0 miles ridden together.
There should be a group called "Tandems anonymous"...
Year one on the tandem... went ok.
Year two as a tandem... went ok, with one MAJOR improvement - in our communication :)
that my friends is a homemade solar powered stereo, wired up to my iPod, conveniently located on my handlebars. Talk about ingenuity, creativity, resourcefulness... and a MIRACLE :)
Someone a little sore and tired in the morning?
- switch on a little Coldplay, some Chris Brown and suddenly the group is pedaling together, and even the crowd is thanking us for bringing a little motivation.
Someone gets a little mouthy up front...
crank up Rihanna and the next thing you know, you don't hear a thing.
The hills, yes HILLS in Iowa, kickin your butt?
some Thunderstruck from AC/DC gets your head banging, and the next thing you know, you're at the top enjoying some free watermelon.
I've heard him explain how he made it, but I still don't completely understand. Does every guy just know how to make stereos from nothing?
And in case you were wondering... it's not a laptop on the back... that's the solar panel :)
One of the greatest gifts to a tandem - a communication blocker outer! ha