I love this Swirly Bird sympathy card made by Deb Vale Crowley. I got this from a swap I participated in. In fact, I have a lot more Swirly Bird swap cards to share with you. Please visit Deb’s business Facebook page here to see more of her creations.
The reason I’m sharing swap cards with you instead of my cards, is because I just got home from participating in RAGBRAI! It’s an annual bike ride across the state of Iowa. This is a picture of Superman, me, and two of Steve’s brothers, Bill and Mike before we started the first day. We all look so happy! Bill’s wife, Peg, was also with us and drove our vehicle and was there in case we needed a ride. I say “we,” but really I mean “me.” Steve’s two brothers did RAGBRAI all by themselves with no adults with them when they were 14 and 16. Can you believe that? What a different world we live in! I didn’t see any kids without an adult nearby. Anyway, how impressive that they were able to ride all seven days in a row! So my point is, if they can ride seven days as teenagers, there’s no way they would quit on a two day ride as 50 something year olds. Superman was 12 when Bill and Mike took their inaugural ride and he didn’t go. However, Superman is just super so he would never need a ride! So Peg was really there in case I needed a ride. 🙂 Thanks Peg!
This picture was a couple hours into the ride. My face is getting red, but I’m still smiling. Superman looks like he hasn’t started riding yet. Before Wednesday, the longest I had ever ridden my bike was 42 miles on a day of RAGBRAI two years ago. I thought I was brilliant that day picking one of the shortest, flatest, best weather days ever. This year, not so much. The longest days are typically close to 100 miles, but Wednesday was only 65 miles. 65 is still way more than 42! The weather was hotter, but not terrible and it was hilly. Thinks mountains! Wait, we don’t have mountains in Iowa, but they felt like mountains as I was trying to ride up them. In fact, I’m sad to admit that I had to walk up part way on two of the hills. Before you feel too sorry for me, there were dozens of people walking with me. Maybe hundreds, because there were 10,000 people riding. I know what you might be thinking, “There are 10,000 crazy people in Iowa?” Nope, actually people come from all over the U.S. and the world to do this ride. I’m guessing about 7,000 of the people were crazy Iowans. Some of the people ride RAGBRAI because there are lots of good pie bakers in Iowa. Here’s one of our “pie stops” in a church basement full of every kind of homemade pie you can imagine. Fruit pies, cream pies, pecan pies and homemade ice cream. Yep, you burn thousands of calories doing RAGBRAI, but most people don’t lose any weight!
Here’s the McCullough boys enjoying pie and ice cream on day two. Yep, we also had pie and ice cream on day one at an Amish stand, but I don’t have pictures. Which was better, church lady pie and ice cream or Amish pie and ice cream? We loved them both and thought both were the best pie and ice cream we had ever eaten! In case you’re wondering, I had dutch apple pie with ice cream on day one and coconut cream pie on day two.
I have to tell you about one more food related tradition we always do on RAGBRAI. ( I know I’ve only done three days ever, but I’ve done this all three days!) See the pink bus with the ears, eyes and you can’t see it, but there’s a snout? This is Mr. Pork Chop’s pig bus and he always parks at a farm that’s just over half way on each day’s ride. The second happiest moment of each day is to ride over a hill and see the pink bus in the distance. It means it’s almost time for lunch. Two years ago when we stopped here, Superman handed me a pork chop on a napkin and I thought, “You’ve got to be kidding me, I’m supposed to eat a pork chop with my hands?” I prefer a plate, fork and knife. How do you trim the fat from around the edges without a knife? Well, now when Superman hands me the pork chop all I think is “Yum!, who needs a stinkin fork or knife!”
Just for the record, the happiest moment of each day is when we’re done and no one got hurt. I did have a flat tire at the beginning of day two. It’s my first flat tire on a bike ever and it got me wondering, what if my tire goes flat while I’m flying down a hill going 40 miles an hour? I told Superman that no one has ever taught me an exit strategy if something goes wrong. I think probably because everyone who had something go wrong, typically leaves the ride in an ambulance. Since I’m not the bravest soul around, I’m always relieved at the end of the day when I’m still in one piece. I also feel a huge sense of accomplishment, because doing this is actually hard for me.
You might also be wondering if I trained for this? Of course I trained…well sort of. I went to the YMCA and rode in the air conditioning with a fan blowing on me, on a bike they wouldn’t tip over and I usually rode around 20 miles in 45 minutes. What about outside you ask? Yes, I rode 10 miles on Tuesday just to prove that I was ready for 65 miles on Wednesday! I also rode one day in April and a couple days in June. Longest mileage was probably around 18 miles. OK, so what did I learn? First it would be a really good idea to train outside for real next year. Practicing hills would also go along way. I try to justify that our bike trails don’t have that many hills. Superman always goes down by DMACC and rides up the steep hill by Wells Fargo. I always avoid that hill because it’s super hard. Maybe practicing a super hard hill by myself would be easier than the even harder, super hard hills I rode this week with thousands of other people who flew by me as I was panting up the hill. Don’t get me wrong, I passed some people too. I counted each one as a dozen, to make up for the dozens passing me. With 20 miles to go, Superman told me he was getting bored riding so slow. With my blessing, he raced to the end and was much more satisfied. Superman doesn’t like getting passed by anyone. Superman likes winning! I felt like I won because I rode the whole way both days!
Thursday we rode again, but it was only 50 miles. 50 miles actually seemed easy compared to 64. I got better at the hills too. I figured out doing the hills using only gears 10-15 was too hard for me, but if I knocked it down and used gears 5-10, I could get up more hills without walking. It was also different getting up in the morning already a little stiff and sore. I’ve never ridden two days in a row before. Another thing I learned was that a padded seat and padded shorts are a really good thing! The last thing I learned was that I really can do anything with God’s strength. As I rode up hills I repeated Phillipians 4:13, ” I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
Who wants to join us for RAGBRAI next year? Rumor has it that our oldest son Sean might be looking to purchase a bike. Maybe he’ll fly in from Seattle and join us for some pie and pork chops!
Superman and Ryan drove over to Davenport tonight to run the Bix 7 mile race tomorrow. I would’ve loved to go run 7 miles tomorrow, but Keegan needed me here to drive him to work and his other commitments… Actually, I wouldn’t run 7 miles tomorrow even if you gave me pie and pork chops!
I’ve been busy looking through the Stampin’ Up Holiday catalog and it is awesome! I’m going to offer shares so you can get a sampling of the Designer Series Paper (DSP), ribbons and embellishments without having to buy everything. I’ll let you know as soon as I get the details worked out. The Holiday catalog is available for customers to order from beginning Sept. 1!