How I’m spending my Summer vacation


So, this summer I’ll be riding my bike across the great state of Iowa.  The one with all the corn, pigs, and farms, smooshed between Nebraska and Illinois, Minnesota and Missouri.  You know… the state you’d ride your bike across if you were into stuff like that.  Like, apparently, I am.

It’s my first time participating in this thing called RAGBRAI, which stands for the (Des Moines) Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  About 10,000 cyclists gather at one end of Iowa, ride through all sorts of little towns, and eventually find themselves on the other end, tired as all get-out.  This year, the route is about 460 miles to cover in 7 days on a bike, with camping at night.  It’s one of the shortest in RAGBRAI history.  Each day I’ll ride between 50 and 85 miles or so. Since I’m a RAGBRAI rookie, I’ve been reading up a lot on how to train and get in shape for riding that much in a row.  My research tells me that there are really two ways to train for such an event:  1) ride your bike an awful lot, or  2) practice your pie-eating and beer-drinking skills until you feel ready to face the week (and its endless supply of pie and beer) head-on.  The event is the last week of July – arguably the hottest, muggiest week of the year!  Double Yay!

In addition to ample pie and beer, there appears to be no lack of 90s rock band entertainment to keep us pedaling in style.  So far, the Spin Doctors and Smashmouth are booked along the way.  Woo!

If you’re like other people I’ve been foolish enough to mention this little adventure to, you probably want to know why.  Why I’m doing this, why Iowa, why wouldn’t I spend my 2 weeks off in July in a more sane place, like the beach or by a lake?  First off, let’s clarify about the beach and the lake.  I dislike the beach.  Sand and grit get everywhere and I can’t sit still and don’t really enjoy swimming or boats or the ocean or really lakes, either. (Although today and yesterday were excruciatingly hot days here in MA, and I did find myself daydreaming about swimming in a lake.  Don’t tell.)

Anyway, I went to college in Iowa, in a lovely little town called Grinnell, and I’m riding with my alumni association.  It’s their second time gathering folks to do this.  It should be fun!

Things I’m a little nervous about:  I don’t know anyone else.  Not another soul.  Also?  I’m driving from Massachusetts to Iowa and back, alone.  And I’m not sure how I’m not going to overpack.  (There are people that will drive my stuff from one town to another, so I don’t have to ride with it on my bike, but there’s still a limit to what’s reasonable to take with me.)

Things I’m not so nervous about:  I think I’m in shape (cross fingers), including in the ways of pie-eating (for sure that).  Grinnell folk are friendly.  Not knowing anyone shouldn’t last too long.  I’ll probably get to see the lovely Melinda and her brand new baby on the way there or back.  Yay!  And also – two weeks off of work!

So anyway, if you’ve been wondering why my blog’s been a little on the quiet side, I’ve been riding my bike a lot.  This makes me tired and sleepy and a lot less crafty than I’d like… I hope to have a craft resurgence soon and am now scheming about interesting bike accessories I should make for the trip!


Posted by robyn on July 5th, 2010 under random

7 Responses to “How I’m spending my Summer vacation”

  1. Krystyn Says:

    That sounds like a ton of fun…seriously!!! What a great time & neat opportunity!! Have fun!!
    .-= Krystyn´s last blog ..month in review =-.

  2. Jabba Says:

    I bet you that since you’re going solo you will meet so many fun people and have a complete blast! Soak up the sun and enjoy those small towns. (I grew up on the prairies so I know what you’re talking about.)
    .-= Jabba´s last blog ..Mystery Plant- Parsley and Summer Reading =-.

  3. robyn Says:

    Thanks, Krystyn! I’m having minor freakouts every now and again about it, but all in all, it will be a blast!

  4. robyn Says:

    Jabba, I like the way you think. I need to adopt that attitude! I am terrified I’ll be riding with 10,000 people but totally alone. There’s gotta be at least one crafty biker chick among the 10K, right? 🙂

  5. Bobbi Heath Says:

    Hey, Robyn, very best of luck on your bicycle journey! I know you will have a lot of fun and meet some great people. – Bobbi
    .-= Bobbi Heath´s last blog ..Summer Heat =-.

  6. Jeannette McLaughlin Says:

    Robyn, have a load of fun. I just did a long, long drive from far northern California to southern California by myself and, after much freaking out beforehand, ended up enjoying the drive. I could stop when and where I wanted, listen to “Books On Tape,” and just generally enjoy the roadtrip.

  7. Kim Says:

    I’m excited for you and can’t wait to hear about this trip. I’m sure you’ve found the optimal pie/practice balance.

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I'm Robyn. Thanks for stopping by! This is my craft blog.

Contact me at robyn [at] dognamedbanjo [dot] com.

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