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Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Training in the Heat

I'm in Illinois, just days away from leaving for the RAGBRAI and the weather forecast is not looking good in terms of the heat.  Today it is 94 degrees and when you factor in the heat index, it feels like 111 and unfortunately there is no break in sight.  It feels like a humid jungle with chirping crickets instead of tropical birds.

Yesterday, I rode my bike with my dad to try and get acclimated to riding in the heat and we road for 28 miles on roads bubbling with tar.   The key is to keep pedaling and to take few breaks.  When you stop the oppressive heat makes you want to quit for good.  But once you start up again, the breeze you create keeps you surprisingly cool and it doesn't seem all that bad.

As we rode he gave me the low down on what to expect during our ride across Iowa.  I heard about the terms used to warn fellow cyclists of approaching cars, "car up" & "car back", how the speed bumps are called "rumbles" and how they actually carpet the railroad tracks to make for a smoother ride.

My dad told me of the delicacies that await from the Pancake Man, the Pastafari truck, and the guy who churns ice cream on the side of the road.  He said that to cool off they will often jump in nearby lakes or that they will watch double features at the local movie house just to sit in the air conditioning and take a nap.   We laughed when he talked about the riders who like to make the ride a bit of a pub crawl and how they always straggle in late.  Note to self:  Have the celebratory beer at the end of the day, not in the middle.

I have to say, that hearing these tales has me excited about our upcoming adventure.  So what if it is ridiculously hot, it will only add to the stories that I'll be able to tell about eating pork chops on a stick, jumping in lakes fully clothed, and clinking beers with my dad.

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