Follow us on the Big Bike Ride

Tomorrow, Matt and I will get up at an ungodly early time to head on down to Greenfield, IA, about 50 miles southwest of Des Moines. We will join the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa on Day 3.

We will be tweeting from the road tomorrow, so I signed up for a twitter account and all. You can follow us here:

There is also a link on the right side as well.

The ride is 77.1 miles long and covers over 4,000 feet of elevation. I am nervously anticipating the rolling hills of southern Iowa. This year’s course has been called one of the hardest (yikes).

We will go through the towns of Orient, Macksburg, East Peru (pronounced “pay-roo”), Truro, St. Charles, St. Marys, Martensdale, Prole, and end in Indianola. We hope to get to Indianola, but if it’s not looking good, we’ll probably stop in Truro at the farm and call it a day.

RAGBRAI is the oldest organized bike ride in the country, and is in its 37th year. Only 8,000 people get week-long passes from the lottery to ride, and they allocate about 1,500 daily passes. So, roughly 10,000 people will be riding tomorrow!



Here is the story behind this picture. Alex is holding a Thomas the Tank Engine toy called “Rosie”. Alex saw Rosie about a week and a half ago at TJ Maxx when shopping with mom. Mom told him he could get one toy, and he selected Rosie’s friend “Sir Handel”, another Thomas toy.

With typical toddler greediness, Alex saw Rosie after selecting Sir Handel and began to beg for that one as well. Mom told him that if he went potty on the “big boy” potty, mom would get him Rosie. A few days later, dad took Alex to TJ Maxx and Alex began the Rosie conversation again. This time saying, “we buy Rosie, dad, we buy it!”

Matt mentioned it to me when he got home, and I clued Matt in so we were both on the same page. During the course of the week, I would repeatedly get told, “I want to go to TJ Maxx to get Rosie”. I would remind Alex that if he used the big boy potty, we would head over to TJ Maxx and get Rosie. Typically, this was met with “No”, or a change of the subject, or just an overall sudden disinterest in talking to me.

(I should add that this is a kid who has willingly gone to the bathroom before, and just decided after a few times it was much easier to stay in diapers because he didn’t really see what the fuss was all about being potty trained.)

On Wednesday, after 90 minutes of reading, drinking water and repeated trips to the bathroom, we had success! Alex of course wanted to go claim the Rosie engine. We headed on over, and I had a flash of panic wondering if the darn thing was still there or not. Scanning the toys, I didn’t see it at first, until I located it on the top shelf. In true TJ Maxx discounted style, the packaging on Rosie was all beaten and torn up. I think in our case, that helped deter other, more discriminating children. Whew…

On the downside, Alex found another toy, Flora the Tram Engine, for which I will once again use Chicago Machine-style bribing methods. Instead of campaign contributions for a senate seat, I will accept potty time in return for a plastic train made in China. I think even Rahm Emmanuel would be impressed.

Little Gentleman

Alex is going to be the ring bearer in my cousin Eric’s wedding this September. It’s really an honor that Katie and Eric asked us to have him in their wedding because I was one of the flower girls in my Aunt Brenda’s (Eric’s mom’s) wedding.

I took him this evening to get his tux measurements done. Even in the old, shiny, way-too-big-shoulder-pads sample tux that they used to fit him, it’s still pretty cute! I can’t wait to see him once he’s all spruced up for the wedding!

Alex wanted to try on these shoes so badly, he kept talking about them the whole time we were there. This is what happens when you force your child to wear saddle shoes…

“How to be a playa”

“The Continental”

Just Did It!

Last night, Matt and I did the Midnight Madness 5k run in Ames (home of Iowa State U). Ames is about a half hour north of Des Moines. We dropped Alex off at Grandma’s and drove up to get our bibs, t-shirts, chips and bands. The 5k started at 7:30, the 10k at 8:30. The weather was great, it was about 75 when we ran, so you couldn’t ask for better weather.

The view before the start of the race.

Matt’s got his game face on.

Some of the Ames firefighters did the 5k in their full gear – one or two of them also carried a hose. Matt said it was about 80 extra pounds they were hauling around. The photo is a bit fuzzy because I was running by when I took it.

We started out and I realized at mile 1 that I did not obey the cardinal rule of running: hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. I got a huge stitch in my side and had to slow it down and try to work it out. I did manage to drop my time from the Dam to Dam 5k by 68 seconds, so at least there was a little improvement. I saw the finish line and the time, so I sped up and ran as fast as I could for the last bit.

I crossed the line, was in a lot of pain, and one of the race organizers started hassling me about my timing chip. I told him I just need to walk around for a minute and I would get it off. I really thought I was going to ralph all over because I literally busted my gut running at the end! Finally, after about a minute, I got the darn chip off and gave it to him. They were just trying to get the final times posted (which they were doing right as the runners were coming in), so I don’t grudge them for that.

Next time I will have to do a better job of preparing, because I was really dumb about not having enough water before. I had a big protein shake about two hours before, but other than a few sips of water, no other liquids.

Post race – what is the reddest object here? My face, hair or popsicle?

Matt, on the other hand, was a stud (and he finished before me)! He did great, especially since he prefers running on the treadmill instead of on pavement. I’m totally proud of him!

Midnight Madness is a lot of fun, they have an outside party afterwards with a pasta dinner, all the beer you would want (see photo above) and a live band. It runs until 1 a.m. and I highly recommend it if you want to do a fun run/walk event.

We’d definitely do it again!