You know, it's hard, really hard, to not be cynical about the cycling masses here in Iowa once you've been exposed to their numbskull antics! Today's R.A.S.H. Ride III was just such an exercise for me. Billed as a "ragbrai tune-up" type of ride, I really shouldn't expect the knowledgable, experienced cyclist to show up. Cycling is just a secondary evil necessity for the real reason the people are here. That is, to consume mass quantities of beer, cigarettes, and booze. All while doing incredibly dangerous, and inane things while riding a bicycle on Iowa's secondary, and county roads. So, I shouldn't be surprised......right? RRRRiiiigggghhhtttt.
I could write a small treatise on today's events, but I'll just grieve you with some highlights.
1. Most riders were helmetless! One guy said the only time he wore a helmet was on ragbrai!
2. At least one third of the bikes today were department store mountainbikes! With knobbies!
3. At least 2/3rds of the riders I saw maintained a wobbly cadence of probably 30 or less.
4. I never saw any drafting into a long stretch of 25-35mph. headwind. (Come to think of it, that probably was a good thing!)
5. Riders were spread clear across the right lane, riding two and three abreast, even up hills!
6. I saw a woman late into the day, that apparently had a little too much to drink, judging from her swerving from the white line clear into the left lane! The look on her face was priceless!
7. The first bar stop was a mile and a half into the ride. There were a total of seven "oasis" and bar stops on the 50 mile route. That's about one stop every seven miles, and I still saw people stopping along side the road to drink!
They are flirting with disaster out there, folks, and in fact, it struck one poor fellow. Apparently, he endo'ed, and snapped his left arm in two! I hope he's doing okay, but this doesn't surprise me. In fact, I really wouldn't be surprised if someone doesn't get killed on this ride someday! Oh well, I hope I'm wrong about that!
Below, are some pics for your veiwing pleasure! I didn't have a whole lot of time, as they kept me busy today!