Tuesday, March 3, 2009

New Workout Goal - RAGBRAI!

I was lamenting over an e-mail from Carl, the fearless leader of our RAGBRAI (Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) bike team yesterday. They were down a couple riders this year and had replaced me after I had indicated I wasn't interested in driving the support vehicle this year. It was sad not to look forward to spending a week with friends I saw but once a year...

Then I thought - well why not ride? I haven't ridden a mile of the route since an aortic dissection caused the second of my emergency heart surgeries a few weeks after completing the 2005 ride. While I work out regularly at the gym, mostly doing treadmill work, I've been a slug the last couple months after my doctor ordered me to stop exercising till an infection cleared. I just never got around to going back... And as the RAGBRAI Homepage countdown says, "137 days to RAGBRAI XXXVII". That is certainly enough time to gain some semblance of athletic ability on what is purported to be a hillier than average ride. So I e-mailed Carl - he says I made his day as he returned a thumbs up, registered on line and sent him my entrance fee. I got so excited I went to the gym this morning and spent 50 minutes on the treadmill! Will get on the bike tomorrow!

What is RAGBRAI, you ask? Well, it is almost impossible to describe. Those from Iowa have likely experienced it, either as a rider, or innocent bystander if they've come through your town. Imagine 12,000 people on bikes, traveling from a starting town to another overnight town 70 miles away over a defined route. Repeat for 7 days. Traveling from the Missouri River on the western edge of Iowa to the Mississippi on the east, it is a traveling horde of humanity searching for food and entertainment and mostly finding it. There have been joyous days of tailwinds where you seemingly coast all day, and other days from hell with heat indices of 122 degrees (with humidity factored in) where the asphalt sticks to your wheels. I blogged some about it last year, and if you google RAGBRAI you will find lots of stories and pictures.

But it is with some trepidation that the journey is undertaken - while my cardiac health is good, my aortic dissection is mostly unrepaired, though the worst of it was surgically rebuilt. I'll discuss it with my PCP when I see her in 5 weeks, but in the meantime, more exercise and salads!

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