- Aug 13, 2010
- RAGBRAI 2010: A Seven-Day Journal
TEAM CLIF BAR had such great success at RAGBRAI in 2009, that we decided to come back to Ragbrai in 2010, bigger and better. If you're new to RAGBRAI, it's an annual seven-day ride across Iowa, beginning near Iowa's western border and ending along the eastern border at the Mississippi River. One of our TCB riders, Sean Piper, was cool enough to jot down a recount of each day of his seven-day adventure. Below are the first three days, and head back
MondayWednesday for the rest. Enjoy! Day: 1 - Bring the Noise (on a bike trailer)
I awoke this morning in Sioux City, Iowa bestowed with an unusual sense of energy and fluidity. For today I know, Team Clif Bar begins the great adventure of RAGBRAI: a 442 mile bike trek across the state of Iowa. Upbeat, psyched, excited, geeked was my demeanor at 7 a.m. on a Sunday morning, amazingly without a single drop of coffee having yet passed my lips. I felt all this and more as I magnanimously bade farewell to the modern comforts our hotel rooms had afforded us the past evening. "So long Big Fluffy Hotel Bed." "See ya later Hot & Cold Running Water." "It's been real Four Walls and a Dry Roof". I am off to discover the great state of Iowa on a bicycle. I suit up in my Clif Bar duds and exit the sliding glass doors with all the swagger of an arctic explorer. Sir Edmund Hillary in spandex. But I won't be hitching my bike up to a sled for this journey; instead I'll be towing the Beat Wagon...a two-wheeled trailer of custom-built soundsation. We mount our rides and roll out to M.I.A.'s "Paper Planes," subconsciously pedaling to the rhythm of the song. As I meditate on the 440+ miles that lie ahead for the week, I get an image of Sir Hillary scaling Everest back in the 50's with a record player strapped to his back, hosting a dance-party on the summit. Day: 2 - Centurion
So there we were, 7 a.m in Storm Lake, Iowa and Kings of Leon are playing a live performance, mere feet away from our dewy tents. At least this is what most of us are likely thinking as we slither out of our tent holes. However, we soon realize that the Followill brothers aren't rocking out in person; instead, Aily our fearless and punctual leader has turned the Beat Wagon into a super-charged radio alarm clock, and apparently it has no snooze button. It's just as well because we will need every minute of the day to complete today's route, the much-talked-about Century Ride. TEAM CLIF's strategy for the day will be a two-pronged attack. Clif Bar "Alpha" Team including our stud rider Mark, Cole a.k.a "Coltrain", and myself will pull an armada of bike trailers, distributing treats and tunes for the first sixty miles until we rendezvous with our other teammates to complete the remaining mileage. Clif Bar "Bravo" Team, composed of Adam, Aily, Andy, Chris, and Eric will zoom ahead in the Clif truck to the town of Rolfe, to distribute goodies to riders braving the full 100-mile route. Aside from The Coltrain being briefly derailed into a ditch by an errant rider, the plan is implemented with sledgehammer like precision. Along the way Clif "Alpha" Team allocates pancake & syrup supplies at the legendary Chris's Cakes and discovers a meal between breakfast and brunch. Meanwhile Clif "Bravo" Team achieves its' objective of distributing copious snackage. The local townspeople applaud them for their efforts and commission a statue made of cinnamon roles in their honor. Victorious, we ride the rest of the way together and along the route are treated to the rocky wonders of the "Grotto", the world's largest lawn ornament. We finish our journey at a public pool where Team Clif Bar makes the biggest splash of the day. Day: 3 - The Prodigal Son Returns
Britt, Iowa is famous for two things: It's the self-proclaimed Hobo Capital of the World and also the nations' sole producer and exporter of Coltrain Kopacek. For some time leading up to RAGBRAI Cole had bubbled with excitement at the inclusion of his hometown on the 2010 route. He had such enthusiasm for this part of the trip that some of us began to anticipate a ticker-tape parade being held in his honor and the local high-school band playing "For He's a Jolly Good Fellow". Although there was no parade or theme-music awaiting Cole and Team Clif Bar, we were welcomed with a warmth and generosity that is rarely encountered. Apparently, Britt is also known as the "Nice and Friendly People Capital of the World". Cole's parents were some of these people and happened to be working the downtown festivities that day, treating us to a round of hugs, handshakes, and root beer floats. Although they were incredibly nice, I think some of us were secretly disappointed to hear they were retired farmers and not in fact hobos. Britt, as expected, did not disappoint. Thank you for your small-town hospitality and educating us on what means exactly to be a hobo...apparently there are many imposters out there in this world.
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