Skip to main content

RAGBRAI 2015: Sioux City

Sunset on the Missouri River

As a kid in Iowa whose childhood freedom was viewed over bicycle handlebars, I always wanted to ride RAGBRAI, the [Des Moines] Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. It might have taken me a while to get here, but I'm writing this from my tent just feet away from the banks of the Missouri River in Sioux City. Tomorrow I pedal.

I bought a new bicycle in January of 2013. I don't remember why I thought I needed a new one, exactly. My 1990 Bianchi Osprey mountain bike was (and still is) serving me pretty well as a commuter bike back and forth from campus. But Boulder is a bike-crazy town, and a trip to one of Boulder's many bike shops (which outnumber coffee shops, to give you an idea of their number) turned into a shiny new Fuji cyclocross bike. I'd never ridden cyclocross, but I liked the bike's versatility and robustness over a regular road bike.

Since then, I've put many a mile on my new bike, much of it on the roads north of Boulder. It's a spectacular place to ride. I also put in a lot of miles on a cheap Schwinn indoor stationary bike, which gets put to good use on bad-weather days or when I work late and want to squeeze in an hour of pedaling before bedtime. All that biking has added up, so when I looked at this year's RAGBRAI route and the couple thousand miles I had on my legs this year by April, I figured now's the time to head to Iowa and bike across the state.

Sioux City is a great starting town for me. I visited here often in the mid-1990s after my sister moved here. My nephew was born here now almost 21 years ago, and I still remember my sister's house in South Sioux City, Nebraska where we once celebrated our family Christmas. (My sister gave me a Sony Discman!) Later my sister moved to Moville, a small town to the east, but still worked in Sioux City, and I remember passing through in June of 2000 as my sister, nephew, and I headed to Oregon to visit family (and for me to climb Mt. Hood).

Tomorrow's ride is the toughest day of RAGBRAI this year, probably by a good margin barring strong headwinds later this week. It's a little over 70 miles with over 4000 feet of elevation gain. I've done comparable vertical, most recently on a ride from Boulder to Ward up Lefthand Canyon. But that kind of climb in Colorado is mostly one big effort up, followed by one long descent back home. Tomorrow will be up, down, up, down, and with considerably warmer and more humid weather than my long cycling days in Colorado.

Comments

  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Hibernation

It's the last half-hour of 2017 and I'm pushing out a post to keep my blogging streak alive. I can't imagine this is interesting to anyone else, but that's never really been what this blog is for. I could write more, and maybe I should write more, but the only goal I've had for this blog for a while is to write at least once a year.

The last week of the year has become what I call my period of "hibernation." Between Christmas and the New Year, I stay home, do whatever I want on whatever schedule I want. This year, that meant a lot of nights staying up until 4 am and sleeping until 10 or 11. Other than trips to get food, I pretty much had no social interaction for the week. I don't know that I purposely take this time as a mental vacation, but that's sort of what it is.
I had several goals for this year's hibernation, but the one I've done best to stick to is physical: pedaling my stationary bike 40 miles each day. There is a Strava challe…

Last.fm and Ten Years of Web 2.0

Ten years ago yesterday I scrobbled my first tracks to last.fm. What's scrobbling? On last.fm, scrobbling refers to automatic music track logging to the internet. For me, uploading a record of my music listening habits was my first real experience with "Web 2.0." Remember Web 2.0? It referred to websites of user-generated content that enabled virtual communities and interoperability. Now such sites are too ubiquitous on the web to warrant a special designation — they're just the web. But that wasn't true in 2006, and even though I'd been putting content on the internet since 1996, at the time it was enough to make me a little nervous. What did these strangers want with my data, and what was in it for me?

Ten years and 24,941 scrobbles later, I have my answer: I have a really cool record of all the music I've listened to the past 10 years! Well, not "all," technically: I've certainly listened to music in places and on devices that didn't …

The 15-Year Blogoversary

15 years and 1,213 posts! My first experience with the World Wide Web came in 1995, and by 1997 I had my own web page. The first web authoring tool I remember using was Composer, an HTML editor built into the Netscape Communicator suite. That helped me learn some HTML, and later I used Microsoft Word 97 and then FrontPage 98 and later Macromedia Dreamweaver to design more elaborate pages. Some of my FrontPage-built sites are still on the web. As I learned more about HTML standards and validation I wrote more HTML by hand, but I still wanted a way to make publishing to the web easier.

By 2001 I understood that (a) sites should be updated regularly and (b) FTP'ing sites and pages from my desktop to a server was a bit of a pain. I had heard about some early blogging platforms and chose one, Blogger, to try out. As you can see, I'm still here.
My first post using Blogger came on December 8, 2001. A few months later I paid for Blogger Pro, which offered additional authoring tools, l…