Thursday, August 7, 2008

Ragbrai Lessons and Pictures

Alright I have been home a week now. Here is my Ragbrai assessment with pictures.

Our team, Morning of Final day. We don't look too bad for clocking in over 400 miles at this point. Plus, we are still smiling. That is a bonus

I had a fabulous time. A few things I learned.

1) Iowans have to be the nicest people in the whole wide world. At any time someone that lives in Iowa will gladly talk to you, ask you where you are from and offer encouragement. Sometimes they even offer showers too. With clean towels to boot!
By the fan fare we had you would have thought le Tour de France was rolling through towns, kids would high five, and families would be sitting in their lawn chairs waving. It really is amazing! Even farmers would set up HUGE Slip and Slides on their lawns to offer cyclists a break from the heat in the afternoon. Upper torso clothing optional. Everyone I saw kept their cycling shorts on. Wet Chamoix just adds that much more enjoyment. Luckily these slides were usually close to the overnight towns. So the final part of the bike ride that day wasn’t too far.

2) Iowa is NOT Vegetarian friendly. Unless you are content to live off corn, Pie and Iceberg lettuce salads. The best dinner in towns can usually be found in a church or a street vendor selling spaghetti. Unless you are lucky enough to find a pizza joint. Luckily there was Pastafari and Peanut butter jam ont eh route every day. Nothing is better than a made to order PB&J and cold milk break while on a long bike ride.
I did however find vegetarian chili dog on day 5. Now I remember why it has been over 20 years since I ate a chili dog. It was terrible! But I needed food and who could pass up this picture opportunity?

3) Miss Bick and I are still great travel partners, however by the end of the week our tent did have a funky foot smell. Conveniently stinky foot smell night coincided with water bottle margarita night, so we didn’t notice the smell of our tent. (in our defense the humidity in Iowa was intense and our tent was packed away wet every morning from all the dew, the stinky foot smell we are convinced was the tent…not us.)

Our home for the week, Day 1--before funky smell:

3) Super hero capes DO help you climb the big hills in Iowa. Miss Bick and I sported capes two different days.

5) Cows can be vocal if you try to feed them. Here I stopped to try to pet a cow. Why? Because that is what one would do in Iowa, right? The farmer came over and called her cows to the fence. The cows were very vocal with what they thought about all these cyclists going by. They also have terrible breath.

6) When encouraged to evacuate camp because a storm is coming near. It is a good idea to evacuate. One night we were woken up by fire trucks at 2:30 in the morning telling us a storm with high winds and hail was near. The next morning, we learned, even though we missed the storm, a tornado touched down in the next town and reeked havoc on a farm. So maybe the night spent in the basement of a town’s auditorium wasn’t so bad.

7) Peeing in a cornfield is sometimes better than the Kybo’s in the next town.

8) Kybo = Porta Potty. In Iowa everyone calls them Kybo’s—I don’t know why.

When asked "would you do it again?"

Answer "HELL YEAH!!!"

Questions: "Next year?"
Answer: "uh, let me get back to you on that. I still crave the "lay on the beach and do very little" vacations..."


Mark said...

I saw your capes on RAGBRAI, thought they looked great.

The term "Kybo" is popular within the Scout Movement worldwide. The term "kybo" may have originated at the Farm and Wilderness Camps in Vermont where it came from the coffee cans (Kybo brand coffee) that held the lye or more often lime used to keep odor to a minimum and aid decomposition. It was only after Kybo coffee (Motto: a cup full of satisfaction) was no longer available and the cans were no longer used that folks began to come up with other possible reasons for the term "kybo". The word is believed by some to have originated as an acronym for "Keep Your Bowels Open" although this may be a backronym. An interesting aside is that toilet paper is often referred to as "Kybo Tape" or "Kybo Wrap". The term appears in summer camp folklore as a parody of "Downtown":

When you are sleepy and it's time to go peepee
there's a place to go… kybo
When you are droopy and it's time to go poopy
there's a place to go… kybo
Just listen to the rhythm of the froggies in the toilet,
Even though it's smelly I am sure you will enjoy it
The lights are not on in there, but you forget all your worries,
Forget all your cares in the kybo
Isn't it fun to go… kybo

Kybos are firmly woven into the lore of RAGBRAI, the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Although Kybo portable toilets were eventually replaced by other brands, the term "kybo" is still commonly used. "Kybo Roulette", in which riders waiting in line guess which toilet door will open next, is a common and celebrated diversion on the ride, along with "Kybo Bingo", where a rider will open each available Kybo door looking for TP and when they find it shout "Bingo!"

Nuclear Mom said...

This is from my friend Pam, she was unable to comment on your blog the other night so sent the comment to me. She was born and raised in Iowa and now living in Green Bay. Anyways:

"Great job on completing RAGBRAI! Summer heat & humidity in Iowa can be brutal. Being a born & raised Iowa girl, I thank you for the nice compliment about the people in Iowa. I like to think we're nice:o) LOL about vegetarian fare. But then again, Iowa IS a big beef & pork producing state;o) Also, have never heard Kybo. My family calls them port-a-potty too, lol. Anyway, glad you enjoyed yourself. I've never ridden RAGBRAI but have quite a few friends who have & always seem to have a great time."

Vargasgirl said...

Thanks Pam!