Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Invading Forces

Today is the day.

RAGBRAI comes to town today. I'm really glad that today is here. Here's why......

#1. It means all the build up and hype is finally over. No more Lance Armstrong commercials, no more inane questions about tire rolling resistance, no more questions about my not going on the ride for a few days.

#2. It means that I will get to see desperate customers asking, nay.....demanding that I fix their bikes so that they can continue right now. I will probably not be able to do so since 99% of those requests fall to me after they have run out of luck with the on site repair folks and are requests for stuff we don't normally stock or are out of stock on due to the high demand from RAGBRAI. It's entertainment. It has to be, or otherwise it would be unbearably irritating.

I'll be glad when it's gone and done with. It's been a good four weeks of RAGBRAI hype and chit chat and I'm tired of it all. Yes, it's good for the business and ultimately for me, but it's really not that big of a deal folks. People need to get over the "RAGBRAI as Life" philosophy. It's skewed and bypasses a greater truth that most folks are missing out on in regards to cycling.

I'd wager most folks on the ride every year hang up the bike afterwards until preparations get underway for another late July assault on the Iowa secondary roads. That's sad. The thing is, they are not seeing any other possibilities for cycling other than RAGBRAI. They are in a vicious cycle, (pun intended) and they eventually burn out. I've seen it happen. They just never get that you can ride a bike separate from that event.

Then there is the "happy go lucky" facade that the sponsoring newspaper and other media like to paste over the slimy underbelly of this event. Anyone that has been on the ride knows exactly what I mean. The drunken debauchery, the crashes, broken relationships, and death and injury. Stuff you'll never see in the "official news" regarding RAGBRAI, at least not prominently displayed alongside all the stories of characters, marriages, and "feats of cycling prowess" that usually grace the pages of the papers this week.

So a lot of people have fun, and maybe a lot of folks get hooked on cycling through this craziness. Certainly there is a lot of cashola exchanged during the week and weeks prior to the event. There is benefit to RAGBRAI, yes. However; it's not all a bed of roses, and that's the part you don't hear about. That and the "fact" (read- myth amongst the common populace) that you can't possibly be a cyclist and not ride RAGBRAI. Which leads to the next "fact" that states that all cycling events anywhere must be measured against RAGBRAI, and usually can not compare. (I mean, "doping in cycling" has been a RAGBRAI staple for 35 years. What's the big deal with the Tour de France guys? Anybody wanna go for another round of beers?)

The "invasion" is here today and gone tomorrow. Life will go on unabated. I'll get on with my normal cycling routine and forget about this morass that awaits me at work today. It's going to pass.

Yep! Today is the day...............

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