Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Touring Tuesdays: Backing Up A Bit

Okay folks, I have to back up a hair on this touring story a little. One thing that I knew was my "ace up my sleeve" on this idea was that I had written a rough draft of about half of the trip in story form right after I returned in 1994. Well, after a little digging around, I found it. 27 pages front and back!

So, this is a bit of a treasure trove on this tour's story since I was pretty detailed in my story telling. I read through the first few pages and I'm telling you, I forgot a ton! So, with that in mind, here is the "Legend" for how you can decipher this and future blog posts where I will draw directly from my earlier text. The original story will be in italics. Anytime you see that, it was written in 1994. Anything else is commentary from today- 2008.

So here is a back round to the "Beg, Borrow, and Bastard" tour story from 1994 as I wrote it then. The people in the story are myself, Troy, and Steve, who went on the tour. On with the story.......

Late one evening, I do not recall exactly when, Troy was longing for a vacation. A much needed respite from the daily grind of the bike shop at which he and I were employed. This vacation, ironically, must include cycling. This was Troy's only stipulation. A vacation mounted on a two wheeled steel horse off to anywhere. Wind in your face, freedom from daily drudgery.

The easy solution was RAGBRAI. Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, that's what it stands for, you know. A week long extravaganza spanning the state from West to East taking in a great number of small villages and towns along the way. Its reputation is well known nationwide. Drinking and dancing along the way. A veritable bacchanalian bike ride for the behaviourally challenged. This is; however, NOT Troy's idea of a bicycle vacation.

Troy was on RAGBRAI once. Once. He did not relish the experience. Troy hated it then and I know he really hates it now. Not just because the weeks before RAGBRAI are insane at our bike shop. No, he also dislikes the attitude of people associated with it. It reminds me of the day a cyclist came into the bike shop and says," Don't you go on RAGBRAI?" To which Troy flatly replied, "No." Then this man retorts back with, "Well, do you race any other time of the year?"

This boiled Troy's blood. You see, Troy is an accomplished racer by all accounts. Therefore and here after, Troy has dubbed RAGBRAI as the "bike ride from which all cyclists are judged." I suppose that this sarcastic description is what I think as well.

Since RAGBRAI was now out of the question, Troy declared that this vacation must be something epic. A trip that would be understood by even the simplest of cycling fools as a great challenge. No beer sodden ride through Iowa pasture land for Troy! He must make a fully self supported effort. Full bagged and loaded type touring.

A worthy destination was needed. How about Canada? Could Canada be reached within a week? Some muddled late night computations were done in our minds. The answer? Hell yes! But with whom? Troy was not willing to go it alone.

I did not offer up myself as a companion, as I did not have the bike or the base miles to do such a thing. I instead offered up the name of Steve. I knew him as a touring nut and a RAGBRAI trooper. Troy was stoked and when he asked Steve a couple of days later he said "Yes"! The trip was on!

Okay, that's it for today's installment. Check back next week when I reveal a little twist in the plot and lay out some more back round for this tour story.

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