Saturday, March 28, 2015

104 MoN: The Tallying

One-Oh-Four Baby!
We were finally done. DONE! We packed up all the crap and headed inside to add up all the donations.

I took the previously donated money, plus the cash and checks from the day. We had raised a little over $2,800! I cackled to myself knowing that now we wouldn't have to get tattoos. I think at some point Normie randomly blogged that we would get tattoos if we got to three grand. I had no idea we would come so close, but was very relieved to see that we came in just shy.

Before I announced the total, Russ blurted out "oh, wait. Grandma told me she wanted to donate, but I don't have her check. She is going to send $200 to Heather."

I groaned. Russ assumed it was because he had messed up my math/check writing. I apologetically chuckled and said, "No, I am groaning because that put us over the tattoo mark.."

Three Thousand and Twenty-Six Dollars and Forty One Cents!

We wrote out the novelty check and posed for pictures with the H-Bomb and the girls.



We hugged our goodbyes and headed back towards Des Moines. Normie, regrettably, forgot her large chocolate milkshake on the curb. We added air to Normie's slowly leaking tire, grabbed some fast food for me for the road, and headed south on I-35.

We got back to my mom's house and I convinced Normie to have one last Coors Light before she left.



I got up at the butt crack of dawn the next morning to fly back to Colorado with squishy baby.


I was gone less than 40 hours. Forty hours, three thousand dollars, countless smiles. Thanks, H-Bomb, for being the guest of honor for our amazing adventure.

Oh...and the tattoo happened. Just not on my skin. I will let Normie tell that story one day.

Sunday, March 15, 2015

104 MoN: This is the Ride that Never Ends

I last left you at Mile 95.

It was dark. And Cold. And I finally...FINALLY had crawled out of the dark place. Just in time for Normie to plunge into it. I mean, she had been wrangling me and story-telling for miles and miles. She sorta deserved some dark place action if she felt like it. We put our lights back on and settled in for our last 8 miles -- at this point the ride was now up to 103 miles because of three $200 donations.

But, wait. We didn't really only have 8 miles left. You see, early in the day there was a discrepancy in bike computers. Mine was reading two miles less than Normie's (starting around Mile 25). I tried to keep doing the math to figure out the difference and keep track of it. Around Mile 50, I just gave up and let Normie's reading become the "official" reading for all of our stops and pics and fundraising shenanigans. I didn't mention it to Normie until Mile 95 and braced myself for the hurricane. I broke the news to Normie and told her that I would be riding until my computer read 103 -- after an initial reaction of hilarious backlash, she agreed to go by my computer. So, in a twilight zone of Miles of Nowhere, we halted all fundraising milestones for 2 miles and took care of the discrepancy. Two miles later, we pretended like we were at 95 for the first time.



Finally, Mile 100! Ian was back with his diddley-bop-bop-trail-a-bike and we (including Russ!) were slowly ticking our way to Mile 103.


There were still 8-10 spectators who were counting down. Three more laps! Two more laps! One more lap! Everyone was cheering and clapping...it was awesome.




We rounded the corner to head home and finish Mile 103 and there was a cop car. Oh no!

We instantly got nervous -- we had blown through two stop signs about 367 times. And there were people enjoying brews. And it was night time and pretty dark for cycling shenanigans. But then we saw the police tape running across the street for our big finish.


We found out later that the cop stopped out of curiosity and he ended up being an acquaintance of Leanne. So, she convinced him to stay -- but couldn't convince him to turn on his lights/sirens. Best bike shop manager...ev-ah!

We finished our ride, threw down our bikes, and quickly sat in the cop car for some fun photo ops with Lt. Brinkley.



Then, I did something really stupid. I got out her phone to snap a quick pic of the final mileage on her odometer. I had an email.

From Paypal.

For another $200 donation.

That's right -- after schlepping our asses in circles for 14 hours (including stops) and 103 miles -- we had another donation to ride.another.effing.mile.

So. We did. Of course we did! This was not about us. This was about Heather and her journey...and we were going to ride every damn mile for our supports. We saddle up and finished strong.


Once we had packed up all the schtuff and changed out of spandex (oh, sweet baby Jesus, that part was awesome), we headed inside for final tallying of donations.

That is when things got really fun!

Saturday, March 7, 2015

104 MoN: The Dark Place

Around 40 miles, the novelty of this crazy ride completely wore off. At this point, Leanne from Bike World (best bike shop ever!) was riding with us and I casually commented that my bike wasn't shifting quite right. Basically, I would use the shifters and nothing would happen until I clicked again. A few laps later, I noticed that Leanne had pulled off for a break. In reality, she was calling the mechanic at the shop...to do a house call. Love that Lady!
 
I was counting down the miles to 50 when we were halfway there (!) and we could stop for lunch. The Emily Show had ordered me Jimmy John's and I inhaled that sandwich as well as a bit of potato soup...all while watching Mike/Dennis/Mark/Dave (I don't remember his name) work on my bike. Funny story -- he was brothers with the guy that fixed Normie's bike on RAGBRAI. A cable and a lube job (heh.) was all Geronimo needed and I was ready to roll.

Love me some Bike World!

Supervising.

Supervising with Style.

This is when the dark place started for me. My hips hurt from the constant turns and my mind suffered from the monotony. I found myself stopping lots and taking on an overall grump factor.







Around Mile 60, a whole bunch of people started showing up -- friends, neighbors, former high school teachers, sisters, nephews, sister-in-laws, sons of bike shop managers (with tattoos...or maybe he showed up earlier?) -- it was quickly becoming a party. Of which we only got to enjoy 10 second snippets out of every 100-ish seconds. Nevertheless, those 10 second snippets showed us something pretty amazing -- Carnation Nation, at its finest.

Super Slow Paceline




H Bomb's husband, Ian, did a lot of riding while alternating girls on the trail-a-bike. He was singing the most catching bike-riding-blues song we have ever hear. "Hey, Ho, Diddley, Bop Bop. Ridin' my Bike Around the Block Block." That tune is a keeper for sure.
 
We finally hobbled our way to 75 miles. Normie was going strong and I was still fading. Normie definitely assumed the Beaver Wrangler role to get me back on the bike after every stop. Taylor left us at Mile 76, and we had a much smaller group -- basically, it was me, Normie, and Russ. Yup, Heather's Dad was still riding with us.

Ground Zero for H-Bomb Par-tay!

 
 





This is right around the time that we stopped (again!) and I realized my problem. I was behind the caloric 8 ball...in a bad way. I ate pizza, fun size snickers, and other snacks...and drank a Gatorade. I was **finally** feeling better. I don't think my Hanger was the only reason I suffered from Mile 40-80...but, I think it was a main contender.
 
It was starting to get a bit darker as we headed out. Our goal was to get cookin' for a bunch of miles to try to beat the dark a bit. Normie had alluded to an epic story earlier in the day. She said she would save it for later in the ride. She pulled that bad boy out of her pocket and the miles started flying by. Stories told on the road, stay on the road -- but just know it provided entertainment for TWO 10 mile stretches -- our longest stretches of the day. It also helped that most of our donations between miles 75 and 95 were $20, which meant we didn't have to stop much.








 


The next 7 miles would feel like 12...because the next 7 miles were actually 12 miles. But, that is a story for next time.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

104 MoN: Good Morning!

If you haven't heard -- I am retelling the teeny-tiny-circle ride over the course of an eon. Join me :) You should probably start at the beginning.

My alarm went off at 5 and I slowly started moving. I put on my base layers -- shorts, sports bra, arm warmers, knee warmers, and socks. I threw on my zip up for warmth and headed out into the cold and crisp October air to load some things in the car. Normie ambled upstairs and did the same thing. My mom was up and trying to figure out her coffee maker to try to make Normie a cup of coffee. Caffeinated Normie is a happy Normie -- a fact that I respect and recognize as a very important part of riding with Normie in the morning.

For some reason I grabbed my toothbrush for the road (?) and we hit the highway. We made a quick stop at the QuikTrip on the way out of town so Normie could get more coffee and I could grab some Diet Coke and some granola bars for Breakfast #1.

We got to Ames around 6:30 and parked outside what we were **pretty** sure was H-Bomb's house. H-Bomb said she would be up early, but I don't think she expected us to start that early. Hell, Normie didn't even expect us to be ready that early.

We unloaded our bikes and threw all of our gear on Heather's Lawn. Normie moved her car off the route and we started riding. It was cold! I don't do much cold weather riding, so this was new for me. I took the "inside" line and Normie took the outside. Our goal was to get in at least 20 miles before a big stop.

Wait. First. I gotta take a Selfie.
After a few quick gear add-on stops (my head was cold so I borrowed Normie's head koozie thing), we were really moving...well, as fast as you can move when you turn right 4 times every 2.5 minutes.

The route wasn't too bad. We only had to blow through 2 stop signs and go through one stop-signless corner -- but that one was 1 block west of construction, so there wasn't much traffic. The crappy part of the route was the gravel/leaves on the corners. There was lots of slowing down and accelerating and it didn't take long for my hips to start aching a bit since I was riding the inside line.

We quickly realized a few things -- first, any wardrobe changes have a 5 lap grace period. Meaning, if you remove or add any clothing, you gotta give it 5 laps to adjust before you change your mind. Second, there was some tall grass on one corner that was fun to try to graze on the way past -- well, maybe I just realized that since I was running the inside line.
 
Pokey arrived by Mile 5 or 6. She started taking pics and organizing things...in true Pokey fashion. At this point we were still counting laps.
 
 
 
I have no idea what I am going for here.
 
 
We rode about 20 miles before we stopped for breakfast. H-bomb was up, making pancakes and breakfast casseroles, so we went inside to eat. Big mistake. The house was so warm and cozy and Saturday-morningy, we didn’t want to go back out in the cold.
 
Masinga and H-bomb’s family started to arrive. Her dad, Russ, brought his bike, thinking he might, “ride a few miles” with us. He started with us at mile 20. Little did he know, he was in for a long day. We headed back out and started logging more miles. Leanne and Steve from Bike World showed up and set up a pop up tent on Heather’s lawn. That is when things started feeling a bit bigger. Bigger than we expected.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
video
 
 
 
 
Neighbors started showing up, inquiring, and donating. Facebook drew a few friends/supporters and we kept rolling along. We had a few Coors that were sponsored by $40 donors and things got a bit hectic from miles 30-40. Pokey and Masinga were doing a great job managing the binder with all the mile assignments. A few members of my old RAGBRAI team, Buttice, showed up and sponsored a couple miles.
 
Soon, my mom and cousin showed up and the miles started ticking by a lot faster. There were jersey changes, helmet donning, yee-hawing, and Coors-drinking.
 
 
 
 
 
 
Ian and one of the girls on one of their MANY lists.
 
She brought us treats. I don't remember her name...but I DO remember that the treats were amazing.
 
Let the Coors begin.
 
Sometimes you have so many Coors to drink that you take em on the road.
 
 
 
Normie's chin stuck out the bottom of the helmet. I giggled the entire way around the loop.
 
 
 
 
 Tay showed up with his fat bike around Mile 30 and things really started to get fun!
 
 
 
 Unfortunately, around Mile 40...things started getting a bit darker for me. Next time.
 

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