Some people get jazzed on Sunday for the big football game. Some people watch birds. Some people go to church and get jazzed about Jesus. I like beer. No, I love beer. So does my wife, Erin. It is one of many reasons why we go so well together. It is this love of beer that drives us to endure things that you wouldn’t normally endure if it wasn’t for a deep passion for something. We confirmed this passion this weekend.
Although this year isn’t over yet, we will remember it for being the year of biking in the rain. I biked through a torrential downpour during the Hilliest FLATS Ride Ever in Kirksville. On a training weekend in Des Moines we biked from Indianola to Carlisle with my dad, part of which was through a hard rain. The 6th day of Ragbrai was rainy almost the entire morning. Although I didn’t bike in it, Erin took off in the rain because it didn’t bother her. And now, this.
Saturday morning, I woke up a little before 7:30 to begin getting ready for the bike ride that day. We forgot Ziploc bags for our phones, which was a small bummer. We registered, received our T-shirts, took advantage of all of the food and beverage available, and then took off.
We didn’t bike very far before having to climb a monstrous hill and get our legs warmed up for the day’s ride. Just on the outskirts of Decorah, a sag wagon pulled over to warn us of the front moving in. We told him we didn’t mind, although we were slightly concerned about our phones and we wished we had Ziploc bags. He said he would go back to town to get some and catch us. He eventually did, and with pretty good timing. The rain got a little heavier after that.
We climbed another monster of a hill that I thought was easy with my mountain bike’s granny gear. It would have been much more difficult with the road bike. We dredged on for what seemed like much longer than we needed to get to the rest stop with food and beverage. It was the community center in Ridgeway. There was a bar next door named the Fireman Inn that people suggested for a Bloody Mary. There was no need to twist either of our arms.
The bar man served us up a great bloody, but I felt something was missing. I’ve slowly become accustomed to the beer back with my bloody. So much, in fact, I don’t think one should be charged extra for it. The bar’s cheapest beer should be the default beer back at the very least. They can charge extra for an upgrade if they want. This wasn’t the case, however, and so I ordered a Sam Adams Rebel IPA for our back. It was both our first time trying this beer.
|Bloody’s with a Rebel IPA beer back|
|At the end of the ride, back in beautiful Decorah|
We finished the ride strong with a small tail wind and cleaned up for a late lunch. We heard good things about T-Bock’s. Erin and I split an order of 6 wings from locally raised chickens and the Southwest Burger, which involved a chipotle sauce, jalepenos, and bacon. Yes, please. At first I was disappointed with the wings until I remembered that these chickens weren’t hopped up on whatever they give chickens now-a-days that makes them so big they can’t even stand and walk around. I embraced their smallness after that. They had Bell’s Two Hearted Ale on tap along with some choices from the local Toppling Goliath.
Once we were finished with lunch, we headed to Toppling Goliath for our second round. Erin experimented with blending a few different brews. The brewery encouraged it, in fact, which I thought was unique for a brewery. Since many of the beers on tap were pale ales and India pale ales, I guess it wasn’t that surprising.
As we rode back to camp for the BBQ dinner that came with registering for the bike ride, I remember contemplating the seemingly indirect relationship with happiness and knowledge. The reason I was thinking about it was because I was happy, and wanted to understand the balance. I thought that maybe because I was half drunk, that I was foregoing knowledge, and therefore happy. And then I thought that maybe that is exactly what beer and marijuana are good for: to suppress knowledge for a spell so that one can be happy. Whether this is bullshit or has some grain of truth to it, I felt it to be a revelation in my state, which made me more happy. But that means that it must not have been very knowledgeable according to the argument. Hmmm. Oh well.
During the BBQ dinner, one of the race directors got on a microphone and announced that the Decorah Police Department had been in contact with him to warn riders of the potential 70 mph winds coming in. He also welcomed riders to set their tents up in the building we were all dining in at the moment. During the next few hours, Erin and I went back and forth in a debate on whether we should bring our stuff in or not. We settled on putting our sleeping bags and pillows in the car just in case and leaving the tent where it was while we sheltered in the barn.
|We were in this barn at the time of the picture.|
In hindsight, we should have stayed with the tent, so that we could have manually held it up inside during the worst part of the storm or brought the tent in the barn. The tent was destroyed. Tent poles were busted, and the rain flap and tent were torn.
|Our demolished tent|
The support staff were absolutely amazing, and did what they could for all of the participants. They set us up in an extra tent inside the barn above. In the morning, I let Erin sleep in and I went to assess and clean up the damage. I took the tent apart and found that all of our tent poles were either broken or bent beyond repair, and we had tears in the rain flap and tent itself.
|Parked outside the Rubaiyat in downtown Decorah|
The Rubaiyat had a build your own Bloody Mary bar. We ordered coffees, waters, and a Bloody. I built mine using their house made bacon and garlic infused vodkas. I went for spicy, while Erin went for burn your mouth and set a fire in your colon spicy. Again, I wondered where our beer backs were. The bartender told us we were being too progressive for Decorah thinking that a beer back would be the standard. Since pseudoSue was on tap, we had that as our beer back. It felt sacrilegious to have such an amazing beer as a beer back to a Bloody, but we quickly got over it.
|We “Sheeted it Forward” to this guy. He gave us Surly Over Rated. I’d say he’s one awesome dude.|