#Ragbrai and Beyond

This year, I’ll be participating in my 3rd Ragbrai. It’s the largest and oldest bicycle rally in the US, which takes cyclists from the Missouri River (or close to it) to the Mississippi River in Iowa. When I explain it to people, I generally describe it as a rolling carnival. For seven days, you bicycle and camp and eat and drink and be merry!

My first year, a friend announced she was going to do it to cross it off her bucket list. I fantasized about going along, because I rarely get to spend time with her anymore. It had, at the time, been several years since I’d actually ridden my bike farther than a few miles, so I knew I couldn’t ride it myself. I kept seeing her FB posts about it, though, and kept thinking about it and thinking about it and thinking about it. Then, one day, on a lark, I signed up as a full week rider, figuring I could ride part of it and drive her group’s vehicle part of the time.

I started out on the first day, and rode the whole way. I felt pretty good, even the next morning. My physical endurance has always been pretty good – speed and power, not so much, but endurance, yeah. Cutting to the chase, although I could handle the ride overall (let’s not discuss the saddle sores, please), my knees couldn’t. I had a nonsurgical knee thing in college, which was *mumble* years ago, and it likes to come out and rawr anytime I stress it. Had I remembered that (I hadn’t stressed it in a long time), I might have thought to wear knee braces from the beginning. Since I didn’t, I managed to complete about 25% of the mileage for the rally that year due to my knee screaming in pain.

My new  (at the time) bike with my not-new car

My new (at the time) bike with my not-new car

After that defeat, I bought a new bike and an indoor trainer, and took the whole thing seriously. Because even though my knee gave me the finger, I still had a great time. Last year, I was able to get out on my bike for several long rides, and I rocked the Ragbrai. On the one hill everyone whined about for being soooooo steep, I laughed and made it to the top, because Worcester (where I live) isn’t called the City of Seven Hills for no reason. I wasn’t fast, but I did not get off my fricking bike for any fricking hill – unlike a reported ~75% of other riders who let that hill defeat them.

This year, I haven’t been able to get out for long rides much, but when I have, I felt pretty good, so I’m not concerned about completing it, or even about completing it well. It runs from 7/20-28, and there will be nothing from me during it. Although the idea of blogging it amuses me, I won’t have anything but my Kindle, and I already know I have trouble stringing words together coherently after riding 60 miles. I may try anyway. If I do, you’ll know why they’re loopy.

Of course, I haven’t exactly been my usual chatty/writey self lately, and I haven’t even left yet. That’s because I’m also moving across the country this summer. After Ragbrai, I’ll be continuing on to the Left Coast and my new home in Washington State. As it turns out, doing a cross-country move (as a divorced mom of two, no less, and out of house I’ve been living in for more than a decade) is a lot of work. Most of it is physical work, which wipes me out too much for brain work. So, I’m way behind on The Baker of Brennan, my two next book projects, formatting Damsel In Distress for Smashwords, and working on the release whatnot for The Greatest Sin #2. Way, waaaaaay behind.

I’ll be moved and settled in early August. Until then, I’ll continue to be spotty and erratic. Bear with me, folks. I’ll be back.

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