It's two days from the start of RAGBRAI, and the same thoughts trickle through my head now as every other year: What did I get myself into?
If you are unfamiliar, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, dubbed RAGBRAI, is a seven-day group bike ride with 10,000-plus people a day biking from one side of the state to the other. Sunday will kick off the 40th anniversary of the ride.
I should have trained more and people who probably shouldn't be allowed on a bike will be passing me by. But, it's not the riding that concerns me. I enjoy spending the week on the bike. Plus, I stop a lot.
No. The issue is I am a glutton for punishment. Unlike most other participants who will use vacation, I write my way across the state.
Want to see your RAGBRAI 2012 photos on Patch.com? Email them to email@example.com.
I'm not going to lie: They are some exhausting, long days, and generally I wake up in my tent to a root in my back or people who want to get a head start on the day.
But, I also love it this way.
If I wasn't approaching random strangers that catch my eye or trying port-o-potty routlette just to try it, I wouldn't have an archive of such great memories.
So, even though my brain is fried from planning all the logistics, and it'll be fried when I lay my head down each night, I know it will be all worth it on the road.
This year, my first with Patch.com, you can expect another week of stories, photos and tweets.
I am traveling with a group from Ames, called Team Cockroach. They don't resemble cockroaches, although cockroaches are on the custom shirt. They've been around for 25 years and have a distinct pink and dark blue bus. See the attached pictures. Unfortunately, Fish, the fellow with the ZZ Top beard, isn't going to make it this year.
While I am biking, my colleagues at Patch are driving a giant Patch RV, wrapped in green with a big Patch logo. They plan to park in the meeting towns during the day. Stop by and see them and get a free t-shirt or water bottle, upload pictures to Patch and charge your electronics.
At night, we will be connecting with different bike clubs, including the Bicyclists of Iowa City, Marion Road Hogs and the Cedar Valley Cyclists.
As a special feature this year, we have a project in which we will feature photos from riders. About 30 people have agreed to take part, but anyone can include their own pictures, by emailing them to firstname.lastname@example.org, and uploading them directly to the website.
Have fun out there.