Saturday, July 19, 2008
RAGBRAI -- Day Minus 1 -- Jerry Phelps
Caught the bus to Mo Valley today and was instantly caught up in the spectacle and magic of RAGBRAI. I had no more than gotten off the bus and started to set up my tent, when I recognized the cyclist next to me pitching his as well. He was no other than Scott Dickson of PBP fame and RAGBRAI royalty, having ridden all 35 previous RAGBRAIs.
I introduced myself, after genuflecting a half a dozen times, and he instantly made me feel a part of the team and welcomed. Scott saw my BMB shirt and asked me about that ride and then asked if I rode PBP 2007. Here's the guy who literally set the standard at PBP for Americans and he is genuinely interested in my experience. What a guy! And to think that out of all the gin joints in Iowa, we happen to be on the same team. Scott has graciously agreed to a Q&A during RAGBRAI so stay tuned for something later in the week.
OK--a misconception cleared up already--Iowa is NOT flat. We will be challenged with hills tomorrow as we climb out of the Missouri River valley. Monday will be no easier and much longer (57 and 100 miles respectively). It is also pretty hot and humid here at 7:30 PM CST. I am looking forward to a nice cool dip in the municipal pool and a shower a little later in the evening.
The Bike Expo is awesome with about every major bike manufacturer displaying their latest and even offering test rides for an entire day of RAGBRAI. I may just take someone up on the offer on at least one day.
A little more about Team Skunk--they (we) are recognized as one of the oldest and largest teams at RAGBRAI. John Karras, one of the two RAGBRAI founders is on the team, so I feel a big obligation to represent the team well. In fact, during our initiation and information session this afternoon, we were told that if we feel compelled to do something silly, like mooning some of the spectators, make sure we do it wearing another team's jersey!!
Sorry no pictures, but I will update this blog tomorrow with pictures and my impressions of the first day. Thanks for reading and for all the good wishes.