Friday, July 27, 2012

Livestrong for Jake


I had wanted to ride with Scott Scudamore and his friends although they constantly stroked my ego by telling me how much stronger and faster I was. Today would be the day. I would stay with them no matter what.

We stayed together nine miles.

We camped on the outskirts of Cedar Rapids and rode to the downtown area. When we came to Czech Village they had "Breakfast on the Bridge" which was very nice. But it also meant confusion in walking across the long bridge over the Cedar River. I found two riders of Scott's group on a tandem, Nancy DeVore and Coroleen Bean and stayed with them for a couple of blocks as they tried to get the front wheel of their recumbent fixed. And did.

On the bridge crossing the Cedar River

After the repair I slipped into the Chrome Horse Saloon for an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet ($8) and never saw anyone from the group the rest of the day. I honestly tried to stay with them. No matter what.

Chrome Horse Saloon, Cedar Rapids

There were a couple of climbs coming out of Cedar Rapids which slowed many riders. I passed a rider from LIVESTRONG but kept going. At the top of the climb I decided to wait. After a few minutes and thinking I had missed her, I jumped on the bike then more LIVESTRONG riders passed including this one.

One of my favorite team buses - self-deprecating humor

This time I did not miss my opportunity. She was riding in Honor of "Normal" so I asked Eliza Hanson what Normal was. Then I told her I wanted to write on her back. I wanted her to ride for Jake. And she let me. I wrote "Jake The Hero Grecco" on her back and then left.

Eliza Hanson, Livestrong
Riding for Jake

I was surprised with the ease and my interest in riding with the cycling cancer community at RAGBRAI. Four years ago I wouldn't have wanted to ride with them and now I found myself seeking them out.

On the ride it was college spirit day. Riders were asked to wear their alma mater or favorite college jersey. With the NCAA sanctions against Penn State coming down, it wasn't a good time to be a Nittany Lion. I wore the sweater of the Pittsburgh Penguins. Arriving Mt. Vernon I suspect that every college in Iowa had a booth on the side of the streets and this was one you absolutely had to walk through. Slowly.

Mount Vernon is a beautiful town and home to Cornell College.

Camping at the Funeral Home

I arrived in Anamosa, pitched my tent next to the swimming pool -- a bad idea -- and then -- went for a ride. I had promised myself to rest some and not do a fifth straight century ride. I had a feeling that might not be good for my body. Today's ride was listed at 42 miles although we seemed to be six miles from the start point so we were at 48 by the end.

The Penitentiary

I set out to explore Anamosa. I found a penitentiary, then Riverside Cemetery, burial place of the painter, Grant Wood

And I found people camping in the cemetery of the burial place of Grant Wood. With RAGBRAI, anything's acceptable. And I assume this was a RAGBRAI camp site.

RAGBRAI Camping at Riverside Cemetery

Although I wasn't tired, or overly tired, I had promised myself that I would not turn a 42 mile ride into my fifth straight century ride. But my mileage of 75 gave me 500 for five days. Not too bad.

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