By Senior Master Sgt. Larry Gallo
Air Force Cycling Team
I just went back and re-read my daily post from a year ago when we were on the road to the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.
Life seems to come full circle as I’ve done the same things at the same time for the last 10 years like attending RAGBRAI. The only things that change are the faces of the people sitting behind me in the van. This year, we have 17 people who are riding with us in a convoy, and only three of us have returned as riders. These people will plug into the larger group totaling 125 riders.
You can see the excitement and some anxiety on the faces of the newbies as they ponder how they will hold up during a week of riding.
Each year, I look in the rearview mirror of the van we are traveling in, and focus on the faces of the riders coming out of Texas. I feared for some of them may not being able to the finish the 500+ miles on their bicycles.
So far all of them have succeeded. This year’s group has some of the same anxieties, but I believe they will divide and conquer. Mainly because I have watched them take care of each other on training rides, and I saw how they have gotten stronger and more confident.
The first three days of RAGBRAI is the test. The first day has its challenges of climbs and the third day is the mandatory century (100 miles) day for the Air Force riders since the distance gives us more opportunities to assist other riders with maintenance and first-aid issues.
Making it through the mental dealings of forcing your body to obey you with three consecutive days of riding is a challenge.
Here’s a quick rundown of some of the highlights from our trip to RAGBRAI last week.