Monday, July 31, 2006

Ragbrai Pics & the Lance Glance

Jay, Todd, Kurt, and I stopped for some refreshments at a bar Thursday morning. They were playing some really nice Phish and Dead tunes, and I had a couple of bloody marys while groovin’. On our way out the door, the Flashback folks that stopped at the VFW in Newton for grub were just pulling up. Back to the bar we go. More tunes and 2 more marys and I was primed for the morning. We all head out.
Going out of town was a bit of a brute with a long climb out of the river valley. On the way up the hill from behind me, I hear Uncle Terry yell “LANCE”. I look back to find Mr. 7 Time Tour de France champ chuggin’ up the hill with his crew in tow. FAST. As quickly as any mind floating in vodka and tomato juice could, I made the decision to pull over and grab the camera out of my pannier for another chase. Lance laughs as he passes me. He’s seen this before.

The day before I had chased Lance and Co. for 9 miles averaging 25 mph and couldn’t catch him. I was pushing 28 and 29 on the flats and cruising 32+ on the downs. Still couldn’t catch up.

As I jump on my bike, pulling iPod ear buds out, fumbling with taking the camera out of its case, shoving it in my bike pockets, clipping into pedals, and punishing my jelly legs by pushing mach speed, I see Lance pulling away. I’ve seen this before.

Dammit. Not again. I flip through the gears the wrong way going up hill and get some speed up. After about a mile I’m almost to the back of the Lance pack. I start taking pictures. I really thought this would be the closest I’d come. My heart was going to explode out of my chest… and I was dying fast. Breathing hurt.

Looking up, I saw that we had a couple more climbs out of the valley, and I didn’t think I’d be able to stay with him the whole way. I ducked behind the last person on the crew for a quick break, and decided on a sprint. My lungs, legs and heart voted a resounding “no”… Traitors. Good thing I had ol’ vodka brain on my side.

Coming around the front I look to my right and literally am rendered speechless. It was Lance Armstrong. LANCE ARMSTRONG. I’m still not breathing quite like humans were meant to when I hear him say “Hey, you made it!”

To which I say, “Yeah, 4 bloody marys in the morning tend to slow you down.”

Doing a double take across his handle bars after hearing this, Lance says “You had 4 bloody marys???” His crew chuckles (nervously?) as they begin to realize I’m probably a hazard riding next to them. Still climbing a hill I take my first photo after thanking him for his work with cancer. I ask him if he’s having fun, and he says he is. Small talk is waning. My legs get hit with a 3rd burn. Not good. I’ve had 2 burns, but this is crazy. I’m on vacation for crying out loud… I snap one more picture hoping for the look...

Lance asks “Did you get it?”

Sure did. Thanks Lance. Thanks a million. See you next year.

Right click and “Save picture as” to grab this photo.

Iowa City.

Newton. 12:40 am. Maid Rites feeding drunk stomachs.

Downtown Newton waiting for Lance to take the stage. Barley sodas help calm the inner-riot.
This is Uncle Guzzler in 2005 - RAGBRAI

Below is Lloyd Flandis!

Thanks for everything, T~n~T!

Everyone together:


Something is seriously wrong with
Jen's eye lids. Greg was going to hold them open.
Didn't help.

Jen's eyes: 9
Camera: 0

Pete & Theresa. Both were missed through
the week, but I'm glad I get to ride with them on a weekly basis.

Jay passed up the spicy Gatorade in
favor of 20 winks. Rescuing Bryan is hard

Cowboy up.

Bryan. Now forever known as "Spanky".

Saturday's ride to Sgt. Bluff. Head winds bucked, we all backed out at about 70-75 miles.

Except the Pirate (on the left). Steve battled it out and made it in a-ok. Nice job!

Overheard on RAGBRAI

"I got hit by RAGBRAI, and it backed up to finish me off..."

"You wanna spankin'?" (several times)

"Did you see a guy ride by on a bike?"

"This is gonna hurt you more than it's gonna hurt me."

"Where the hell are we, anyway?"

"Whoa... there's Kent. We gotta slow down!"

"Dear God, please let that breakfast burrito push through ok..."

"I can't believe I ate the whole thing."

"I don't drink alone. The wife and kids are right there."

"Ladies... how are we doin' today?"

Friday, July 21, 2006

Ragbrai. Finally.

Ahhhhh, finally... Flashback cruises tomorrow morning from Council Bluffs to Sgt. Bluff in the a.m. 95 miles. I predict a brisk headwind. You heard it here first.

Bike - dialed in (thanks MOD!)
Gear - strapped
Family - set for Dubuque
Legs - Feelin' gooood
Beer - "A-plenty"
Cheat Route - got it. See ya Monday, Angry
Buds - en tow

See ya on RAGBRAI!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Good Enough

Kent put together a great ride on Sunday. (The photo is of the shen ride - so fire me). Hills, hills, hills, with a hot, punishing sun tapping you on your shoulder the whole ride. Yep - good enough for me. Refreshments back at the Wirth Casa. Jay-bone showed up with 1spd to confuse his downhill racing legs. Steel Sally is slightly concerned about his legs on ragbrai - but shouldn't be. We'll have plenty of safety meetings to get us through the week.

Next up: Council Bluffs to Sgt. Bluff on Saturday. 95 miles the day before we start ragbrai. I'm praying for a strong tail wind. Got a cheater route with party stops on Monday's route. Thanks Patti!

Landis has the yellow.
Flashback is set for Ragbrai.
I suck at putting on temp. tatoos.
I'm riding all week long to work.

Dig it.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

2 Wheel Commute

What a commute

Not a bad little ride yesterday. It is only 19 miles to get to work. Not bad in and of itself. I then added a few more miles going to see a homehealth patient and return trip to the house for a nice 63.5 miles to and from work. The ride has some nice hills which slowed me to about 5mph. That just hurts on the SS. Enjoy a taco and beer for me.

Soggy Taco?

This just in... storms by 6pm. What will happen to the Taco Ride Tonight? Supposed to be the biggest, baddest all year.

Uncle Guzzler, Steel Sally, 1 spd - what say you?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Lance Update

Lance is riding Newton to Marengo.

Story here. Dig it.

My bike's office

How sweet is it that she gets a bigger office than me?

The ride in

Three snaps of the commute in. Didn't see a few of the regulars out on the roads/trails, but it was a muggy one. Folks probably thought it was going to rain. One is the amoeba round-about just between Dundee and Country Club, then the Keystone, then the daily trip through the bank drive-through at 84th and "L". I almost ran over a dog-walker in Elmwood. "Passing on your right" doesn't mean move to your right.

The Trucker hit 1000 miles. Should have about 1500 before RAGBRAI. Miles may not mean a bunch to some, but it represents time in the saddle, which is time well spent.

In other news, playing tunes with an iPod instead of a cd player rules. The Czech Pilsner is fermenting. Boss is on vacation this week. Kent's Good Enough ride is Sunday. Taco Ride this Thursday. Gearing up for RAGBRAI.

This could be a very nice week.

Czech Pilsner

Ok, in addition to loving the 2-wheeled contraptions, I admit to being fond of beer. The lovely Mrs. 2Wheel gave me a splendid Father's Day Gift. A homebrew kit. While my first batch of Wheat Beer will be going into the refrigerator tonight after sitting bottled for a couple weeks, I made another batch last night. I love the smell of my house after boiling the wort and malt. Yum. This little dandy will have to wait until after RAGBRAI to drink - but we'll bottle it up next week.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Why we do what we do!

Why go by bicycle? 15 good reasons.....

1. Remember when you first learned to ride a bike? Think back for a second. It's just as much fun now as it was then.

2. The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation ever invented.

3. Half of all transit in the United States is six miles or less round trip, a distance easily made on a bicycle.

4. If you see someone you know while riding, it's easy to stop and say hello. Bicycles create public space, enhance street life and build a sense of community.

5. Ever go for a nice evening stroll down a busy street? Nope, too noisy. The occasional bicycle bell is nothing compared to the constant cacophony of car traffic.

6. There are no parking problems for bicyclists, nor are there parking fees or tickets. Lock your bike to parking meters rather than putting quarters in them. In the space one car takes up, twelve or more bicycles can be parked, which solves parking problems in densely-populated areas.

7. Americans spend 15 to 20 percent of their income on cars. If you ride a bike, not only can you skip car payments, but you can also skip insurance payments, maintenance, dmv stuff and stopping to pay for gas. Carsharing for occasional driving is becoming a more and more reasonable alternative. (A good new bicycle can cost as low as $250. No dmv, no insurance, no gas, very little maintenance.)

8. Millions of Americans want to lose weight, and yet they step into cars everyday, passing up the opportunity to exercise. In addition to weight loss, bicycling reduces the risk of heart attacks, strokes, diabetes and high blood pressure. Given the abysmal state of health care in the United States (which is partially due to the cost of treating well over 2 million car accident victims each year), self-prescribed preventative activity is a wise decision.

9. If you stand in a closed garage with a running car, you will die in a matter of minutes. Hundreds of thousands of cars in our cities create dirty, unhealthy air.

10. Terrorist organizations use our gas money. In order to protect political and corporate interests, the United States supports dictatorial regimes in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, which is the number one producer of oil in the world. 15 of the 19 September hijackers were Saudi. Iraq is the second largest producer of oil, and Kuwait the third. Do those countries sound familiar? The government supported Saddam through his worst atrocities, then Saddam began to disobey U.S. orders. That is precisely when he became our enemy.

11. In 2001, more than 3,000 Americans died of terrorism on our own home soil. In 2001, more than 43,000 Americans died in car crashes on our own home soil, and about 2,200,000 suffered disabling injuries. The American death toll of the Vietnam War, which lasted several years, is about 50,000.

12. States, counties and cities spend billions of dollars fixing roads that cars damage. A Honda Civic, a compact car, weighs about 2,500 pounds. That's about 100 times more than the average bicycle. A typical SUV weighs much more than a Civic, and does more damage to roads. Wear and tear on roads from bicycles is almost nonexistent.

13. Experts estimate that easily accessible oil (in other words, cheap oil) will run out around the year 2010. After cheap oil runs out, the price of gas will shoot up. The economic ramifications of this suggest that the sooner we accommodate oil free transportation into our daily lives the better.

14. Watch any tv show, listen to any radio program, look through any magazine or newspaper and you will come across ads showing how cars will make you cool, sexy, popular, respected, at one with nature, safe, etc. The car and oil industries spend billions of dollars each year to promote a benign image of driving, but the function of all this is to assure profits and manipulate consumers, and nothing more.

15. Staying closer to home to shop and do errands builds communication among residents, which promotes autonomy. This in turn leads to political, social and economic self-determination within communities. City hall ends up truly serving the needs of the residents because residents can tell city hall exactly what they want rather than city hall guessing at what they think would be best for the residents. Besides all this, if you factor in all the costs of driving to mega-warehouses, you end up paying more anyway.

So try it. Go by bicycle.

(Nowhere does this site intend to imply that bicycles are best for all travel. Sometimes the bicycle is impractical. However, this site does assert that drivers who decide to get on a bike or public transportation whenever possible rather than getting in a car will make the city a better place to live.)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Went to Dubuque, IA for the 4th of July weekend with the family and took the LHT. There's a beautiful trail over there called the Heritage Trail. Gorgeous trail, no doubt. It goes out to Dyersville, IA and beyond from a trail head in Dubuque. Yup... THAT Dyersville - the one where they filmed Field of Dreams. After stopping at The Office for breakfast and a couple of suds with the locals, I headed out to the movie site. Rounded the bases on the Trucker and snapped a couple pictures. Outside of the last 10-15 miles or so, it rained off and on all day. Riding on a gravel/sand/crushed rock trail was interesting for sure. Last stop was the Handle Bar in Durango. BS'd with the owner "Doc" over a couple more beers and called it even. Pulled back into the in-laws with just over 70 miles for the day.

Nice ride. Tomorrow, back to work. It's all better when you commute, though...

Monday Night Ride

Beautiful night for a ride. This was last week, the lovely Mrs. 2wheel came out for some riding and had a fine time. Rode with Steel Sally and Mrs. Sally.