Tuesday, July 27, 2010

All Is Wonderful

We have ridden approximately 210 miles in three days. Today was the shortest. It was supposed to be 59.9 miles but Ragbrai lied to us and my odometer read 64.5 at the end of the trip. At any normal time in my life, 60 miles would sound like a long way to ride my bike in a day. But Ragbrai is far from normal and it was a breeze after yesterday's 79. We met a lot of fun people along the way, some of whom we have continued to run into. One of our bfffls, Mark, is this guy who grew up in New York and now lives in Oregon. He is totes the coolest person ever. Just kidding. He is a creeper. Joyce got stuck riding 15 miles with him yesterday because she beleived she was entering a friendly, 5 or 10 minute bike conversation with a pleasant stranger. He tried to follow us around one of the towns yesterday afternoon and, at one point, we jumped on our bikes to get going and he ran to catch up with us. We lost him when we told him we were going to spend quality time with my parents. We have yet to see him again, though.

Joyce and Ben and I are more intimate than ever. Yesterday morning, waiting in an hour long line for the best eggs and french toast we may have ever had, Joyce and I saw a side of Ben we haven't seen before. His occasional "mood swings" are in full SWING when he hasn't had any coffee, has to wait a long time for things and is exhausted. Within two minutes of his first sip of coffee, our friend was back to normal. I didn't really think it was possible for Joyce and I to be any more intimate, after being betrothed to one another for so many years, until yesterday when we decided that instead of paying $5 each to shower, we'd just shower together. We were completely serious about it but they wouldn't allow it. Looking back it's laughable because the showers (a portable shower truck) were like the size of two middle school lockers so we would have been bumping butts, and who knows what else the entire time. We are also rubbing icy hot on each other, sharing our life dreams, and learning each others' bowel movements (or they're learning mine...).

We have entertained ourselves in many ways, mainly eating, biking, and laughing at our silly jokes that others may or may not find funny. Some of the best are:

1. It's all fun and games until somebody starts bleeding from the butt. (keep in mind the PG context of this... we are riding our bikes hundreds of miles on seats that are impossibly uncomfortable). As of now, it still fun and games for us.

2. "Ragbrai" (pronounced: Rigbray) We are thinking how hilarious it will be if we can drop this in conversation with someone sometime in the week, at a point which it would be impossible for one not to know how to pronounce the word. So far, we have only said it to each other in hopes that people around us hear. Nobody has gone balls to the wall and said it to a stranger. I'll keep you posted on our progress.

3. "We can sleep when we're dead. Or at 10:30." I said this Saturday night, in all seriousness, while my grandma self was convincing them we didn't need to stay too long at the smashmouth concert. I tried to be badass but it ended up kicking me in the butt. I am dying for eight hours of sleep, last night we only got 6, the night before 7. Tonight it's in the cards.

4. The mecca of spandex that is Rigbray. Not much explanation except that Joyce so cleverly dropped this line yesterday afternoon and we have been embracing it ever since.

5. We've never been so alive. Third Eye Blind. Need I say more?

You may or may not have noticed that in listing the ways we're entertaining ourselves, I put eating before biking. This was not a mistake. Eating is half, if not more than half, the fun of this gig. We eat like 4,000 calories a day and it's no problem! From corn on the cob to pancakes and breakfas burritos to homemade icecream and pie to pulled pork sandwiches and bratwurst, we've had it all. Also available are giant turkey legs, pork chops on a stick (oh josh would be in heaven!) and fried cheese curds. I'm challenging myself to all three. I will probably eat more meat this week than I have in the past year but I don't feel bad about it. A lot of it comes from Iowa and everyone needs to splurge once in a while anyway.

Eating, biking... and partying. Rest assured, we have been partying. Last night, in Algona, IA, there was an awesome 70's/80's cover band playing some of the best and most classic rock songs that we all know by heart. In my "60 miles is nothing"mentality, I drank one too many last night but don't regret it. It was a fun night and what's a party on wheels with out the party? We haven't stopped in any of the mid-day beer gardens yet, we're still a little ambivalent about consuming a few beers and then biking another 10 or 20 miles in the hot sun but it is bound to happen during one of the next four long days. We are not so balls to the wall in comparison the the many people we see drinking beers and bloody mary's with breakfast before 9 am.

We are, however, more balls to the wall on my parents. I'm telling many stories about Ben and Joyce but let's not forget Betsy and Sandy, the organizers of and inspiration for this ride. They have been chugging along, Sandy more quickly than Betsy. Betsy is a little slow but she knows it, she is like the turtle... slow and steady that wins the race. Sandy has ridden with us some, but also sticks back to keep his wife company some of the time. Today he orchestrated a drafting peleton during our 8 mile stretch riding south into really strong headwinds. In an unfortunate turn of events, his derailer broke and he had to sit on the side of the road in the 90 some degree heat waiting for the sag wagon. I haven't seen him since he got into camp but as far as I know, his bike is in repair as we speak. Hopefully he'll be shiny and new in no time. Tomorrow my mom and dad and I are wearing our Iowa, UNC, and UF bike jerseys and riding together for a part of the day to show off our wonderful school spirit. The Iowa jersey is less original here, as you can imagine, but cool none the less.

Aside from my Dad's derailer problem (and Ben's popped tube--minor incident), there haven't been any issues. I have sore legs, I can feel my muscles strengthening. I have a bad heat rash on my thighs (thank god for the chamois butter). We have some achy knees, bony butts, bruised hands, and sore necks. But we have icy hot, advil, my mom for massages, and our positive attitudes. All is wonderful on the open roads of Iowa.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

68.5 miles of new friends

Three days and many miles later and I'm sitting in a free internet cafe bus in Storm Lake, Iowa to rave about how awesome Ragbrai is and complain about how tired I am. I don't have much time so I'll be brief. We drove A LOT Friday and a little more Saturday morning. The last six hours of the journey (driving west across Iowa) were spent in a van: 5 riders, our bags, and one bike. It was rough but we played some good games and listened to car talk.

Yesterday afternoon and evening, we, along with 10,000 other riders, got a warm welcome to the wonders of Ragbrai in Sioux City, IA. We ate a lot of food, drank beer, got lots of free junk, danced in the street to chumbawumba, saw smashmouth perform live, and watched fireworks.

We got up at 6 am to pack up and get out of town. We rode a solid 68.5 miles with 4,000 feet of incline, stopping often to eat, drink, "nap", and pee in cornfields. There is nothing like peeing in a cornfield. It is part gross and part the coolest thing ever. Ben wants to try and get lost in a cornfield, something that is not taken lightly by the people in Iowa. One of my mom's best friends growing up lived on a farm and her little brother got lost in their cornfield once. They spent hours looking for him and eventually had to track him down with a helicopter. So we'll see if Ben is balls to the wall enough to try something so controversial.

I have spent plenty of time in the midwest but every time I'm here I am newly amazed at how friendly people are. We don't lock up our bikes ever. Becuase why would anyone steal a bike? Picnic tables everywhere are like little speed dating (speed friending?) booths, you sit somewhere for an hour and you're likely to have two or three conversations the wonderful strangers that are sure to come sit with you. Today, Joyce and I wore our most awesome and flamboyant bike shorts and got at least 50 compliments on them by poeple riding by throughout the day. People just ask you questions and care about your life and this would never ever happen in DC. I can't imagine it happening in Florida either, not to this extent. The contact and conversation with strangers passing through your life, and passing you on the road, is an unusual thing for me and I love it. Today at lunch, my mom met a woman her age who grew up like a mile from her and went to her neighboring high school. It was cool.

My friends are anxiously waiting for me to finish so that we can go swimming in the lake by our tent city. I guess it's a good sign that I thought I'd be complaining about my soreness and exhaustion and I didn't end up discussing them at all. Yes, I'm sore and exhausted but I am up for the challenge and excited to get stronger and more capable as the week goes on. Tomorrow, a 79 mile day should help. I don't know what the future holds and I don't know when I'll be blogging next. But know that I'm having lots of fun and Ragbrai is all that I expected it to be and more...

Highlight of the day: slip and sliding with Joyce in a farmer's front yard in my bike shorts and sports bra.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Would You Rather?

It's 2 am Friday, we just got to our hotel in Colombus, OH and are ready to sleep 5 hours before getting up to drive another 10-12 hours tomorrow and 3 or 4 on Saturday. The drive was entertaining actually, and really pretty for a while. Alberta (my car) was weighed down, with Ben in the backseat of course, and we pulled a lot of "I think I can"s up the mountains of northwest Maryland. For the first time in my life I have literally "put the pedal to the metal". Joyce and I learned about Ben's many entrepreneurial ideas, including mixed bags of m&ms and new music sharing websites. Ben and I learned from Joyce how de-salination plants work and how they are highly energy inefficient and not a real sollution to the world's water crises. Joyce and Ben learned from me the expression balls to the wall and we all decided that it makes no sense. Did I make it up? We stopped at an ecclectic gas station cafeteria jig in Morgantown, WV where I bought an entire pizza from Little Ceasar's for $5. God bless america with her fast, cheap, eat in the car food. We also ate an entire box of cheez-itz between the three of us. We attempted to take pictures of every state welcoming sign but ended up with two pictures of West Virginia, one of Friendville, and none of Pennsylvania or Ohio. We had a long and successful series of "Would you rather?" challenges. Some of my favorites were:

1. Would you rather run 26 miles in broad daylight in a safe place surrounded by many people or walk 5 miles through a dangerously deserted and sketchy area in the middle of the night?
Ben would walk, Joyce and I would run

2. Would you rather be homeless or be a truck driver?
Ben would be homeless, Joyce and I would be truck drivers

3. Would you rather ride your bike across the state of Iowa or be buried alive in a pit of fire ants?
Joyce and I would bike, Ben would do both

We got to our motel, America's Best Value Inn, around 1 am. The five of us are sharing one room, which was reserved for my parents and their "two kids". We have two beds and an air mattress. We got to our room and, low and behold, there was an ant infestation which was a problem for Ben's plan to sleep on the floor. We switched rooms and my classy parents poured themselves a glass of wine each at 1:30 in the morning, wine that they transported across 4 states in a bike water bottle. I need to get up in 5 hours, not drink coffee, and get back on the road. I look forward to many more hours of interesting conversation, and hopefully some nap time as well. But for now I'm looking forward to sleeping.

Did I mention we're in Colombus, Joyce's birth city where she hasn't been since she moved away at age six?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


On Saturday at Eastern Market, there was a stand with all those wood signs and magnets that say witty things that are supposed to make you think hard about life. For once, there was one that actually made me think hard.

"Once upon a time, there was time."

This pretty much sums up my life right now and most of what I think and feel. I've written enough recently about life and how it slips away, mainly about how it's so hard to keep in touch and how time flies and I don't even know where it's gone. But tonight, time has flown and I'm not sad about it. I leave for Ragbrai in less than 48 hours and I can't wait. It seems like yesterday that I was sitting in my parents living room working out logistics with Joyce over the phone, my mom yelling at me from upstairs about how Joyce needs a good quality bike as Joyce and I try to figure out how to either get her bike from Florida to Iowa or how to get her a new bike. Two months later, the logistics are all worked out, we have my "type A" (ha! sorry mom!) mom to thank for that. She just came by and picked up my bike and gigantic, packed to the max backpack so there's not much left to do on my end but wait. It helps, of course, that tomorrow is my birthday. And that, for once in our 3.5 years of being together, Josh and I have waited until the actual holiday to exchange presents. We are usually too excited to resist performing this ritual early but, this time, I've held strong. The presents are wrapped on the table in front of me (in black and white polka-dots!!) and Josh encouraged me to open one of them but I am holding out! Till the morning, when I'll be 23, and I'll be only one day away from hitting the open road.

There are things that I didn't get to. I never rigged the bike attachment music contraption that I have been so creatively imagining. I have yet to wrap my head around a way to execute that. I didn't purchase the headlamp flashlight that I hoped to have for the trip. I never watched breaking away. Or field of dreams (which we're riding by next week!). I didn't ride a century. I forgot to buy soap. Oops. I planned on laying out some so that at the end of ragbrai my bike tan would be a contrast of tan and lighter tan not tan and pale. I laid out once and my stomach and upper thighs are still as pale as ever. To be honest though, I really kind of hate laying out. I did it all the time in Florida and it is semi enjoyable when you're with a friend and socializing. Now it just feels like a waste of time and it is so hot and boring and I can't even read because it's too bright and the book ends up shading whatever part of skin I'm trying to tan anyway. So screw being tan just to be tan. It isn't good for you anyway. I am very aware of the damage I've already done to my skin and am paranoid about skin cancer, so I feel I've grown out of the need to be tan. I guess that's all that I never got around to.

I'm sure that 11 days from now I'll be back to moping about how fast the week before flew by. But for now, there is time. There is time for me to spend an evening with lots of friends together at once eating and drinking wine, in true french fashion. There is time for me to take off work and not check email or answer phones for a week. There is time for me to road trip a third of the way across the country with two friends, plenty of cheez-itz, and a soundtrack for life. There is time for me to ride my bike across the hawkeye state, from river to river. There is time for a weeklong hoorah with one of my best friends before she moves so far away in August. So there is still time, I just have to work harder to find it these days. Hopefully I can find the time to buy some soap!

Friday, July 16, 2010


1. In one week, I will be 23 and I'll be in a car on my way to Iowa.

2. Yesterday, I rode my bike for the first time in a week. Hopefully the break will be good for me.

3. There was a 3.6 earthquake in the DC area last night and I slept through it. They're making a big deal about this on the news but apparently there are 49,000 earthquakes of this magnitude a year worldwide. "The folks in Califorinia are laughing at us."

4. My parents sold an old bike of ours to my coworkerfriend, Kate, last night and I'm excited to have yet another person to plan bike rides with.

5. Yesterday on my way to work a lady yelled at me for not giving her warning (I was biking by her up a hill, probably max 5 mph). Instead of yelling back and perpetuating the animosity between bikers and the rest of the world, I said "I'm sorry" in my sweetest voice as I rode off. Hopefully I didn't lead her to hate bikers forever more.

5. I signed up for 10 chances to win a TREK dream bike on trekbikes.com. That would be pretty sweet but I could never part with Lucy.

6. I am looking at a picture of the new cap on the oil leak and there is no oil flowing! This is just a test and we're not supposed to celebrate yet but it's a start!

7. This is my last weekend left with Inna before she moves back to her big city and I'm sad at how time flies. I am running out of time to teach her to ride a bike.

8. Josh and I are going to eastern market tomorrow and I'm excited because I haven't been in a while. I'll be doing a no rain dance...

9. I ran into my friend Stephen while biking through Friendship Heights last night. He is moving to Seattle in September so I'm glad to see him as much as possible before he leaves!

10. My birthday is Wednesday and I am excited for an excuse to have so many friends together at once :)

Friday, July 9, 2010

San Fran, Baja, Iceland, Gibralter... On a bike?

Let me tell you a story about my dad. His name is Sandy. He is awesome. He is the kind of dad that a I, as a12 year old kid was so embarrassed by because I was too self conscious and immature to realize that his absolute weirdness is what makes him so unique and cool, and in turn, what made me unique and cool. When I was in 5th or 6th grade, my Dad began biking to work regularly. He had a long commute, from Chevy Chase to Pennsylvania Ave downtown. He wore bike short suspender things and stylin biker jerseys to show off his curves. He rode a simple red Trek road bike from the 80s that he still rides today. Many mornings, he rode by my friends and I at our neighborhood bus stop and never neglected to wave and draw lots of attention to himself. It was always amusing but I was at that stage in my life when everything was embarrassing and I never wanted that kind of attention.

A little while into his bike commuting, Sandy declared his interest in tracking his mileage and attempting to "ride across the country" in a year. He began recording well into the first year and made it to Colorado by the end of that year. We'd sit down to dinner and he'd declare, "I made it to Kansas today", etc. The next year he started at the Atlantic and made it to San Fransisco by October so he turned to head south for the winter and ended at the Baja Peninsula. His cross country travels inspired him to take it a step further and go international. The next year, he would ride around Europe, starting in Iceland. From Iceland, he rode all through Scandanavia, Scotland, Ireland and England, ending just north of London. Year four started up where he had left off and from London, he rode south through France, Spain, across Gibralter and down the west coast of Africa. He lost steam and finished in Africa (it must have been too hot to continue on!!).

When I say he was tracking his mileage, I don't mean he was looking up the distance from one country to another and riding until he reached that distance. He was keeping track of his journey on a daily basis, using a map to decide exactly which routes to take. Tracking his route spiked his curiosity and he began doing research on the areas he was riding through, learning about the people he'd meet and their languages and culture. He found a website that told him the road conditions on the roads he was riding on in Iceland and Sweden in January and February. He found another website with an online webcam at the famous St. Andrews golf course in Scotland so he could take pictures of the course the day that he rode by it. My favorite is a webcam he found that allowed him to take pictures looking out for the Loch Ness monster. After the first year in Europe, which I think was the most meaningful, he made a powerpoint slideshow of the journey. The first slide was a picture of him leaving our driveway on his bike one morning. Jump to the next slide and he's interacting with village people in little Icelandic towns. He went online to find photos along his entire journey and photoshoped himself into them. It was unbelievable. The best part was that he would show the slideshow to people without revealing to them that the journey was imaginary. Of course, most people knew the truth eventually but I remember his showing the pictures to one person at work who never knew he hadn't actually ridden through Northern Europe on the lookout for the Loch Ness monster. It was a great tragedy when we, as a family, were talking about this slideshow a few years ago and came to realize that it had been lost at some point in the many computer changes we've made over the years. I would love to be able to go back and see that slideshow now, as I know he would too.

This is one of my favorite stories about my dad, or about anyone for that matter. Not only does it exemplify his role as the original bike commuter in our family, without whom the rest of us may not have been inspired to take up biking so passionately. But it demonstrates how awesomely weird, unique, funny and imaginative he is. It is cool that he spent several summers traveling Europe in a volkswagon bus with his best friend from college, it is even cooler when people ship their bikes across the world and devote a chunk of time to biking a portion of unfamiliar territory. But none of this, in my opinion, is as cool as the fact that my dad, in his 50s with a wife and two kids ages 9 and 12 and neither the time nor the resources to spend a year biking in Europe, had an imagination fresh and creative enough to embark on and be so passionate about his virtual journey.

Needless to say, it didn't take me long to get over my embarrassment and appreciate my dad for all that he is. I'm not ashamed to have been embarrassed, I think that is something that all kids go through, and I hope it doesn't offend our parents to know that. I am just glad that I got over it and I look forward to many quirky bike rides with my dad and family in the years ahead.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Other non-biking fourth of july festivities

Friday night at Kramer's for drinks and dessert!

Saturday night at old glory!

Roaming Bethesda waving our patriotic flags!

America's birthday party on the ellipse!!

After party at Big Hunt!

Scaling rocks on the billy goat trail!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

One with my bike

I have been riding with clips for a month or so now and have been waiting all this time to experience what all new clip-riders must, some sort of crash or fall in which being one with your bike is not such a good thing. Yesterday it happened. I was riding to National Harbor with Joyce and my parents. We were about halfway to Alexandria when we came upon this bridge that is always a challenge to cross. You don't have to actually cross the road but you go up this steep hill that comes up on you really fast and onto the bridge which you cross on the sidewalk, and are supposed to get off your bike for. There are barriers at the bottom of the steep little hills on each side to encourage people to slow down and get off their bikes. I was behind Joyce and my dad who rode up the hill before getting off their bikes. I was riding pretty fast, in a high gear, when this hill came out of nowhere. I tried to downshift really quickly while riding up the hill and my chain couldn't handle it and came off the teeth entirely. With no chain, I wasn't going anywhere but off my bike and with clips, I wasn't going anywhere without my bike. So my bike and I, as one, fell over into a makeshift wooden fence. The fence broke. But it also broke my fall. The silver lining is that when my mom and I stopped to put my chain back on, we found a stringy bracelet that my mom had brought back from Paris all caught up and twisted in my gears. I had been having problems shifting and was really frustrated by it so at least I solved that problem! And I felt satisfied to have had my first clipped-in fall, something I knew was bound to happen eventually.

I just couldn't get enough, though. Later, stopping at a red light in Old Towne with my right shoe un-clipped, my bike started leaning to the left and my one foot that was still clipped wasn't free to support Lucy and I. I fell over again, into my mom's front wheel this time. So I guess I'm still learning. Aside from my little mishaps, we had a wild ride beginning early Saturday morning.

First stop: Bethesda Post Office from which my mom mailed off Tony and Joan's Ragbrai wristbands to their new owners :(

Next stop: O'Connell's Irish Restaurant and Bar in Old Town to watch the second half of the Germany vs. Argentina game and feast on a delicious brunch of crabs benedict and pheasant and goat cheese salad. My parents were drinking before 11 am. Joyce and I were eating whiskey and guinness mustard before 11 am.

Third stop: National Harbor in PG County via the Wilson Bridge, an experience which Lucy and I have already raved about. At the harbor we saw the awakening and and some very large peeps.

Fourth stop: Georgetown, where we feasted again, this time on Ben and Jerry's ice cream and sorbet. And couldn't resist a photo op with this bike art outside of baked and wired. We're expecting to see plenty of similar bike art on Ragbrai.

Final stop: Home sweet home. We made it in time to see Spain beat Paraguay with a late goal and to eat most of a pizza between the two of us. Biking is the best but veging after a bike ride is a close second.

Friday, July 2, 2010

broken bones and missed relationships

Tony and Joan, my uncle and aunt from Vermont, my mom's brother and his wife, have participated in two of the last three Ragbrais with my parents, one of which I also participated in. They were planning to come this year, and there was still potential for them to bring my cousin Katy along. Unfortunately, last weekend, my uncle broke a bone in his foot fly-fishing. He has to wear a boot for six weeks. Bike shoes won't suffice. Now they can't come.

1. It sucks for them and I feel really bad because they were excited about it.
2. I am sad because I was excited about seeing them, and possibly seeing Katy. Our families used to spend a week or two together each year and we were really close. Now our lives are all so busy and scattered that we are lucky to see each other once every two years. I haven't seen my cousin Emily since the summer of 2007 and I haven't seen the rest of them since the summer of 2008. Five years ago, I never would have believed I could go two years or more without seeing them. Every Christmas, I try to petition for us to celebrate together, my mom usually proposes it but for some reason or another it never works. I know this is life. I feel like it is all too apparent to me recently how life changes and it becomes harder and harder to keep up with the people that I once saw so often. I can accept it but I can't deny that it makes me sad. Really sad. I know that some people have and will come and go from my life and that is ok, but it is really hard when there is so much distance from the people I expect to be in my life forever. It's all part of growing up, which I am obviously not entirely ready for.

I hope Tony's foot heals soon and that one of these days we can all rendez-vous on Ragbrai. Maybe we can even drag Nathan, with his hipster fixie, along.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Battlefield Cruise?

Happy Birthday to Joyce. For real this time. Her birthday was a week ago today and my post is long overdue. I kept busy with her this past weekend, traveling Virginia, celebrating her birthday in style. I also had the opportunity to meet Betty, Joyce's new bike which she bought for Ragbrai. When she moved to Newport News, she left her bike in Florida and, when deciding to go on Ragbrai, figured it would be more economical to buy a new bike and sell one of them than to pay insane amounts of money to have her bike shipped to her. I think now she's attached to both and will have a hard time selling either. Betty is fancy and her old one is classic. Meet Betty. She is super light and fancy.

She and Lucy became friends. Good thing because they'll be spending a lot of time together this month! Our weekend involved a lot of traveling, from DC to Newport News to Richmond, to VA Beach, back to Newport News and back to DC (for me). We went out in Richmond and Virginia Beach which was fun and different and I got to meet some of Joyce's friends I hadn't met before. It would not have been a trip, though, without our attempt at an unfamiliar bike ride in Richmond. Joyce and I set out early Saturday morning to find this "Richmond Battlefield Cruise Ride" that she had read about on Virginia's list of best road biking trails. We were up late into the night before on google maps searching for this place. It wasn't very clearly marked but we took down directions and decided to head out the next morning not entirely sure what we'd find. Our directions guided us to the Dorey Park parking lot and information center. "Perfect!" we thought, "the information center must be able to provide us with INFORMATION on this bike trail we will soon embark on". Low and behold, nobody in the information center had any knowledge of a bike trail existing in the area. So they gave us a map and we kind of made up our own. We rode on lots of back two-lane roads. That is good preparation for Ragbrai. As were the many CORNFIELDS that we passed!!

The many other bikers we passed (actually, that passed us) led us to believe that we were on a part of the Richmond Battlefield cruise path that we'd intended to find. A "path" along these many small roads. One of them was a historic battlefield strip with forts and battlefields to explore. Biking makes history fun. Riding with Joyce makes biking more fun. Whether we found the path or not, we had a fun ride that provided a sweet glimpse at our upcoming Iowan ride. We'll get a better glimpse of it this weekend when Joyce comes up to DC to ride 50 miles with the me and the Shaws!