Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Video recap of RAGBRAI

Here is my video recap of RAGBRAI - I think I might need a selfie intervention :)
I still can't believe I biked that far...


Saturday, July 26, 2014

Hello Guttenberg!

Last day of RAGBRAI ...but we didn't bike. Sadly we had a limited time and double the elevation from the longest day, plus throw in Katie had a cracked helmet and bad wrist ... and we decided it was best to skip today. I'm a little bummed but as the bus left town at 3:00 sharp and we still saw a ton of bikers on the road I know we made the right call. 

Katie, Cindy and I rode with Cisco in the truck to the end and waited for the team. At 1:30 we lined up two by two and rode through main street as one team. TEAM LIVESTRONG! 85 strong. It was great to hear people cheer for us and yell "go Livestrong"!

We are 85 different individuals with different personalities and backgrounds ...  but we all have one thing in common, "we hate cancer", and with that we are one team.

We all went to the Mississippi River to dip our tire in. It's tradition for all the ragbrai riders to do this.

I'm so proud of my ride. I rode a total of 338 miles. I NEVER believed I could do it, but I did. One thing is for certain, I couldn't have rode what I did without finding Cindy and  Katie. They were my angels. We had so much laughter that it out weighed any pain and suffering that happened out on the road. 

Back at camp there were a lot of great people I met, and got to know better. Tony, Theresa, Barb, Chad, Cindy T, Marty, Jen, Linda, Susan, Robert, Kim and Shari are just a few of the many. They are individuals from all over the US. Some newbies and some have biked RAGBRAI for 8 years. Each person has their own story as to why they ride and had good life stories that brought laughter. We embraced our jerseys which honored Laurie Masterson with her quote "don't postpone joy". She was a fighter and embrace joy to the end. 

I can't believe the week is over. On day 3 I thought it would never end, but today I feel stronger physically and mentally! 

I had so many doubts about my ability to ever do anything like this. At times I wanted to quit and yet made it through. I was way, way, way outside my comfort zone with this adventure and it scared me ... But I did it.

I tried and that's what matters. After all 
life is short - you have to embrace it. 
So when all signs point you in a direction, you need to pay attention and do something about it. Don't just let life happen, grab it by the reigns and truly LIVE it. I am grateful for this journey and know I learned many lessons from it, including that Iowa farmer families are some of the kindest people in the world! 

One last thought. I had two right knee surgeries in 2013. The second was an allograft of bone and cartilage. It means I was given a donors bone and cartilage to replace parts of my knee. Without a donor I could not have done this ride. Instead I did it pain free! So if you are a donor, thank you! If you are not, please sign up to be a donor...  I am grateful that my donor did! 

Thanks for following my journey! 
I'm excited to get home to a big salad, my bed and of course Sophie! 

I did it!! 
PS. A big shout out to Cindy Graf for sharing her photos with me - it was nice to share picture taking with someone 😊

Day 6- Friday.

(Again, please excuse typos and auto corrects.) 

Awoke to rain. A lot of it :(
We heard about a short cut that eliminated a good chunk of miles and decided to go for it. Bill lead the way for Cindy, Katie and I and Scott came too. 

In short. It was one of the scariest experiences of my life. 
- the road was open to traffic, and there was a lot 
- we had a dad and hi 12 year old son that jumped on with us and became part of our group too 
- there was barely any shoulder
- the rain increased at time and felt all most like like sleet. 
- the winds... Well the winds were insane too. 
- it was scary and stupid. I knew it. 

Scott suggested a reprieve at a houses yard. But as we stopped, and the lightening started, we knew we couldn't hang under trees, so I walked up to house and asked the lady if we could stand in the barn. She insisted we stand in their mudd room inside to wam up and stay safe. She let us use their bathroom and offered to make coffee too. 
She and her husband were so very kind and assured us we were on route and would soon be back on track with everyone else. Whew! 

We made if to the next town. The rain stopped. The sun came out and the winds lessened. We had 20 miles left of our 50. 

We rode through Amish country we saw such beautiful sites. The Amish were out cheering for us and we stopped at a Amish General store where Cindy bought a bunch of treats. Including pies. 

Right after we left there. I heard a crash and a yell right behind me. It was Katie. I looked back and she was laying on the ground. I screamed for Cindy to stop and ran back to Katie. Her tire had gone into the groove of the center lane crack (cement roads) and it crashed her. Thank goodness for her helmet as her head hit hard. Cracked the helmet and she walked away with a hurt wrist and headache - it could have been so much worse. 

PSA TIME KIDS: Wear your properly fitted helmet when riding your bike!

We took it nice and easy the rest of the way and finally made our way to Independence. We had a quiet night at camp and laughed about the Day. 

Marty and Jens son, jack, was a visitor at camp. He is a 15 year old who has been battling cancer since 6. Today we wore jerseys dedicated to him. It was great to meet him in person. I have really enjoyed getting to know his parents this week on the ride. 

Tomorrow we are only doing a few miles and taking it easy. I can't believe it's the last day. I can't believe I have made it every day. I can't believe I rode my bike across Iowa! 

Thank you to all of my friends and family who have sent supporting messages! Thank you to the LIVESTRONG staff for the notes we received today- that was a nice surprise! 

This is the hardest thing I've ever done both physically and mentally. I'm grateful for all the prayers and good energy sent.  

I can't wait to get home and see my doggie .. and sleep in my bed! I also can't wait til my cell phone has coverage and a signal again! 

My last day is dedicated to all the people I have on my list to ride for.! There are too many and sadly the list continues to grow.

I ride because I hate cancer. It's that simple. This is my way of taking action in the fight against this horrible disease. 

Till I can write again,.. KK 

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Day 5 wall.

Today was a tough day. We awoke feeling the last 5 days impact on us. Tired, fatigued and a bit cranky. 

Cindy, Katie and I started out strong. Winding our way out of Mason City (the best host city so far). It was a beautiful morning, but we were tired. 

As we made our way up and down all the hills - one called "breathless hill" cause that's how if leaves you, we felt our legs wanting to give up. 

We kept pedaling till the 40 mile mark where we stopped for lunch. It was along the water and we saw a few boats along the boardwalk... Are you thinking what we did?? "Can we get a pontoon ride to our final destination?"  The answer was no, as there are two dams between here and there. BUT they offered to drive us there- so we hoped a pontoon, with our bikes and headed to Tim and Becky's home up the river... It was crazy and fun. 

They took is to their beautiful home and we heard all the scoop on the town of Greene. Tim is the high school football coach (as well as farmer and a few other tile), so we chatted about football. Becky was so worried about her house being messy and a kept explaining how gross we were. Midwest nice. 

We hung out at their home on the river telling stories And soon learned they lot a sister and niece to cancer. It was meant to be that we met them. 

They drove us to near our camping spot and although we cut off 25 miles today, we had a memorable adventure. And that's RAGBRAI. 

A few of us played Password in the RV and now we are all hunkered down in our tents as a storm is predicted to come through at midnight. I hope it moves through quickly. :)

Total riding miles : 280
2 days left till I am home with Sophie :)


Hi from Mason City, Iowa

Cell phone coverage is extremely spotty. Haven't had anything in two days. So I'm recapping Tuesdays and Wednesday at once. Please excuse auto corrects and typos. 

Tiesday was a long assssssss day. 75 miles and yes, I'll own it ... we took a short cut and cut off 4 miles. So happy we did too :) thank you to all who sent good energy when I asked for it via Facebook - I know it helped!! So did the amazing women who let me draft off a bit when I didn't think I could keep going. 

The day had started with 10 miles into 25-30mph head winds. The thing about head winds is they are mentally and physically draining. You pedal so hard and barely move... You feel like you are towing a car behind you. It sucks. But... Katie told me the story of how her and Scott (her hubby) met, and that kept us from going crazy (it's all about distractions). We made it out of that steth of head wind and made our way through the day. Stopping, stretching, laughing... A lot. 

We did have one incident . Cindy didn't unclip enough and fell into gravel as we arrived at a town. We laughed hard... . Don't worry, we made sure she was okay first. 

Oh and when Lance passed us that morning , he greeted us with "good morning girls" then he stopped just ahead for a pic ... so we did too. That was fun.

That night we all headed to a small bar for a bit. Them home to sleep in our tents. 

Day 4 arrived.(Wednsday). We had a beautiful morning and knew we had a late start with a short day. 38 miles.  Murph made breakfast for all of us. So delicious! 

We stopped at about mile 10 where a group of people had a donation based pit stop. Food, banana smoothies, water... Trampoline. It was fun and this is the fun stuff about RAGBRAI, Iowans opening their property to 20,000 cyclist and feeding and refilling water. Midwest niceness! 

We had 5 more  miles to the first stop. It was a PARTY there.  Dancing. Beer. Bloody's. Looking over clear lake. 

My teammates are crazy - but fun! 

From  there we went to the Surf Ballroom. It was on my bucket list and I was thrilled to get there! So fun!!! I've heard the story for years, about " the day the music died"... The cyclist love it! 

We made it to Mason City and had short(5 minutes) Massages. Thank you LIVESTRONG for bringing this service in. Cindy, Katie, Bill, Scitt and I went to town to see Bret Michaels. Townies had said Kid Rock may make an appearance... But we left before he did... If he did. That would have been perfect as "All Summer Long" had blasted about 5 times we rode on various speakers, And when I hear it I think of Cathy 😊

Oh, I almost forgot, Cindy fell again today. Once she said she was okay she also yelled- "take a selfie!" ... So I did. It's how this biking adventure has gone. 

240 miles complete. Legs are sore. Ass is crazy sore. 

But great news- knee feels great!! This is by far harder than anything I've ever done, I would not be able to keep going if it wasn't do these two women. We ride well together and luckily never want to quit at the same time. 

Until  I get wifi again- have a great day! 

Thursday is dedicated in memory to Tami Akermann, who would have been 48 this week and to Barbara Didier Sandridge, my friend Brads sister.