Lightning bolts and a torrential downpour delayed the show for over 2 hours and people were sad.
Then the people who worked there or something said we all had to leave Wrigley field. At the same time. And oh yeah - everything is closed. So just go home. All 40,000 of you. Take the train. There's one leaving every 30 minutes at this time of night. They hold somewhat less than 40,000 people.
So one of the absolute entertainment highlights of my life was followed by 2 and a half hours of mind numbingly agonizing boredom as we made our way back to the hotel, standing on a packed train. Train rides are overrated.
Last night there was some public pool city swim meet championship deal. Jack and Abe competed in this. I think Jack had 3 races and Abe had 2. These 5 races were spread fairly evenly over about 5 hours. It was mind numbingly boring. And although waiting around at swim meets has a very low rating in the first place, it is still overrated.
Sunday morning I left the house for a bike ride. After about 10 minutes of riding, I realized that RAGBRAI was going on. I thought I'd head on down to the BK bridge and see if I could pick up a stream of cyclists and do some of the ride. I didn't know anything about where it was other than it started in Council Bluffs. At the foot of the Iowa side of the bridge, I saw a bunch of GSVs. I stopped my bike without saying anything and struck a casually deliberate pose. I saw Jonathan Neve and made him aware of my presence. I was only interested in going about 50. Jonathan said that's all he and Jolene were going to do so I decided to ride with them. We'd go with the GSV group into a few of the first RAGBRAI towns and then turn off and go our own ride.
As we were going along, I started to wonder when we'd turn off. I was having a difficult time with both the mind numbingly slow pace and the thousands upon thousands of rule infractions. I won't go into detail here - but it's more than a little ridiculous. It's not so much the clowns with music blasting from the back of their BOB, or the families or the big crazy, fun loving people. So what? It's their vacation and they're having fun. Who cares if they have no skill or understanding of safe riding? That's kind of the point of RAGBRAI.
No, what is terribly annoying is the people who fly through the crowd, yelling "On your left." Looking down their noses at all of these ridiculously slow RAGBRAI riders. Usually, these "racers" do not have jersey sleeves. Usually there is some sort of clip-on aerobar thing going on. Also - helmet mirrors. The rule book tells us that instead of mirrors - if we want to know what is behind us we are allowed to simply turn our heads. These are bikes after all and not some sort of tractor/trailer configuration.
But these guys come flying by, annoyed at the GSV group for being on the left side of the road going at a relatively slow pace. Of course, we'd then catch up to them on every hill and drop the shit out of them, but anyway.
Finally, we got to Underwood where we turned off and left RAGBRAI for the year. It couldn't have come soon enough. After about 90 minutes of agonizingly slow riding, my butt and hands were sore. I think more weight is applied to the seat and bars when you are just sitting there. But wait - Underwood? This will make the ride more like 80 than 50 ... Oh, Jonathan was speaking in miles. That explains the confusion. Oh well, that's cool. I've got time.
I've done the full RAGBRAI ride twice. I think what bothers me about those guys that are breaking all the rules, are not fit, and are flying by everybody with something to prove is that I did both of my RAGBRAIs that way. If you think I'm a tool now, you should have seen me then! Whew!
When I finished my first RAGBRAI, I had no fitness. I was in incredible pain. Granted, it took heart to even finish with as out of shape as I was. As I went down the last hill to the river/tire dip, I became emotional. I had done it. I had finished RAGBRAI! Then I noticed all of the fat smoking drunk people on hybrid bikes who had beat me in and were obviously in less pain than I was. Anybody could do RAGBRAI, I suddenly realized. You just had to train a little for it. I had discovered that RAGBRAI is possibly the most overrated bike ride there is.
I made a decision that day to go the next year and actually train for it. It seems silly now, but back then I never rode. I bought a new bike, dropped my weight (mass, technically) by 8 Kilos, and had an absolute bore the next year on RAGBRAI.
Ride into small town, arriving about noon. Sit around in the heat all day until tomorrow's ride into the next town at about noon. And so on.
At least I wasn't in any pain.
I went on the GSV Tuesday night ride this week. This is slowly becoming my favorite ride. Mark Savery, Rafal and EOB were all there. I was simply delighted by that. I was a little sad when not one of them whistled at my shiny new legs, but oh well. I was also sad when, early in the ride, EOB had a mechanical that rendered his bike a useless heap such that he was unable to continue. I hear hints and whispers of blame toward another rider, but I don't know what that's about. Blame is overrated.
Strangely enough, about the only thing I saw this week that was not overrated was Pearl Jam. Perhaps the most underrated band of all time. Maybe they'll never get the recognition they deserve. Oh well, I guess it will be my little secret.