RAGBlog contains text and audio commentary surrounding my participation in RAGBRAI XXXIII, July 24-30, 2005. RAGBRAI, which stands for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, draws about 10,000 bicyclists each year for the weeklong ride. Go back to the July 2005 quotes for daily commentary on the ride.

Saturday, July 16, 2005

Fear and Weather in Iowa

I'm not particularly intimidated by the length of RAGBRAI. It's about 70 miles a day, for a week. I can do that.

I'm not worried about hills or headwinds either. Low gears can knock both down to managable proportions.

It's the weather in Iowa that has me a little concerned. In the Los Angeles area (where I'm from) we know about high heat. We also have some experience with high humidity. But rarely do we get both at the same time.

In Iowa they do. I just checked with the Yahoo! Weather readings for Le Mars, Iowa ... home to Blue Bunny ice cream and the start town of this year's RAGBRAI. Today's high temp is 97, low is 79. At this moment--just after 4 p.m. in Le Mars--Yahoo! Weather says it feels like 104 degrees when factoring in the humidity.

Tomorrow's forecast is a high of 94, with thundershowers. And it will be windy.

Apparently things could be worse. The Des Moines Register, which runs RAGBRAI, has all manner of weather tips on its Severe Weather Guidelines page. I'll pass along some of the headings to give you an idea of what RAGBRAI riders might be in for

In case of lightning on the road

In case of hail on the road

In case of a tornado on the road

In case of lightning in camp

In case of hail in camp

In case of a tornado in camp

The severe weather condition that is totally alien to me as a Southern Californian is tornados (or is it tornadoes?). I can imagine an Iowa tornado whirling its way toward the trailer camp on the edge of town, hesitating, then making a beeline toward all those dorky bicyclists in tents. I wake up high in the air with two guys in a rowboat just beyond my tent flap, waving at me.


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