RAGBRAI XXXVIII: Confessions of a Food Snob Day 1

August 10, 2010 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Part of Team Got Beer? Leaving the Start of RAGBRAI

Ah, no pain. Only anticipation.

If you know me, you know I have some hang ups about food. I have contempt for processed food and I resent the food industry for filling our bellies and  with addictive garbage. In June, I began to ask questions to seasoned RAGBRAI riders about food options that would be available to me. The specific responses were varied but the common denominator was confusion by my line of questioning. With an approximate burn rate of 35,000 calories during the week, most couldn’t understand my concern. To be clear here, this is not a concern about consuming too many calories, rather a concern about finding food I could eat. All said and done, amid the food stands covered in grease from slices of pizza and pork chops on sticks, I was relieved to find so many things I could eat. I will attempt to answer the questions I was asking for before I rode on RAGBRAI.

Day One: Sioux City to Storm Lake. Official Route 68.5 miles, I clocked 72 miles to our overnight host. This was the most challenging food day and riding day for this Virgin Rider. I hopped on my bike with a cup of black coffee and gulped down some Trace Minerals. About 10 minutes after departure, the hills were wearing me out and I was barely out of town. We passed through Leeds with a goal of breakfast at Farm Boys. By mile six, both of my calves had started to spasm. The pressing questions I was asking myself: “Why didn’t I eat a banana?” and “How many beers did I have at the Smashmouth show last night?” Things were looking pretty grim for me. I was falling further behind my teammates and I knew I couldn’t hold the slowest pace. At the top of the hill shortly before the 10 mile mark I took in my first glimpse of a daily scene: Farm Boys.

Farm Boys sets up somewhere in the first 10 miles or so outside of the overnight town. Breakfast consists of fresh breakfast burritos with fixings made to order and fruit that looks as great as it tastes. On this first day, however, the thought of eggs and the smell of pork sent me into troubled waters. I chose a banana (the charlie horses in both of my calves were doing that dance again) and only got half way through it. Scott  (Bibs) recalled seeing me lying on a dirt driveway in a fetal position clutching a half eaten banana. I recall still trying to answer question number two. How many beers did I have??

At mile 10, I sent my team ahead. I was not fueled. I was not well. This was going to be a slow crawl. After hurling twice, I managed to hydrate and get myself to Kingsley. Having missed texts and calls from several members of my team, I was greeted with enthusiasm by my concerned teammates. I knew I needed food, but what? The town was full of people eating but I couldn’t imagine what would work for me. My color was fluctuating between a pasty white and an unnamed green. Just when I fell into a chair by my bus feeling the sting of poor choices and defeat, I saw someone gnawing on a freshly grilled corn cob. I bee-lined to the nearby stand, handed over 2 dollars and gobbled it down.

Oh, so lady like

Ravenous and less than fresh-looking.

Water and a Clif Bar fueled the next leg. I was feeling a little better, but I was still slow. I hadn’t consumed enough food, but off I went.

Between me and Washta was about 14 miles and 700 feet of climbing. I plugged along, still at a reduced pace. I started to see signs for Smoothie Revolution, all natural, all fruit happiness. I knew this could be all I needed for full recovery from mistakes in judgement the previous evening. The last few miles of this leg were spent in a trance-like visualization exercise. I think I must have pedaled pretty fast. The kind folks at Smoothie Revolution in Washta gave me a punch card that listed all of the towns on the week-long route where I would find their tasty goodness. Delighted, I inhaled my fruit smoothie and studied the card carefully, counting how many smoothies I would get to have each day.

Thankful my color was a bit closer to the expected tan-to-red, I set off on the last 30 miles of the day. I was aware there would be some pretty intense hills in this last 30 miles. The climb was listed as 114 feet to Quimby plus 1119 feet to Storm Lake. I heard tales that I would face an especially nasty hill after Quimby. Shortly after I set out, the guys from Clif Bars rolled up and handed me Clif Shot Blocks. Electrolytes packaged in a 95% organic, tasty and user friendly gummy squares. Hooray! This was exactly what I needed to find some momentum.

The hills were a little tough. I was frustrated with myself for having done too little hill training in the weeks prior to RAGBRAI. No time like the present, I just kept pedaling. Just when the last 10 miles sounded impossible and I arrived at the top of another hill, I saw Chief, our driver. Chief had the Margaritaville bus strategically parked 10 miles out from the overnight town and he was hosting a terrific party! Water, more Clif Shot Blocks and a beer. I was recharging and feeling almost good.

In the middle of a daydream/hallucination about pasta I rolled into Storm Lake with my team. Hoping for the best, but prepared to accept almost anything, I set out on a hunt for food. I studied the stands manned with locals peddling walking tacos and fried pork loins. In a movie-like moment, the pork scented smoke cleared and I saw a sign for organic, grass fed, local beef. I waited in line, grateful. My prize was served to me in a little paper tray. I pulled up a curb and marveled at my good fortune.

At about midnight, I found a diner and had a vegetable omelet with whole wheat toast. This little number may have been the key to what turned out to be a great day on Day 2, but I’ll save Day 2 for another post.

Route-Day-1 with markups

Eat like no one is watching

Thank you Lenny for your eagle eyes in catching me destroy this corn.


Entry filed under: Cycling, Food, RAGBRAI. Tags: , , , , , .

RAGBRAI XXXVIII RAGBRAI XXXVIII: Confessions of a Food Snob Day 2

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Tia Martinson

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