Archive for February, 2010

West Virginia RAGBRAI, Monday, March 1, 6 AM EST
February 26, 2010

     Yesterday evening I had completed my entry forms for RAGBRAI, the bicycle race across the state of Iowa. So it comes to no surprise that today”s entry is my mind’s  bent version of a similar race. Most of the race was “run” alongside my brother and we used several modes of transportation; each one more twisted than the last. 
     My mother was also with us towards the beginning of this race. Although her participation had its own sort of sidebar. We were driving to the starting point. Although there was neither a start nor a finish for us. So, maybe Mom was simply there for the first leg of the journey. Again, we were in a car (more specifically an SUV of some sort). We kept getting lost and/or stopping to look for someone or pick them up. I suspect we were looking for a friend/ former co-worker of my mother’s. This seemed to be the theme of our race-getting lost, breaking down and there were also a number of minor accidents. Just after each stop or accident we’d have to rush to acquisition a different mode of transportation.  One particular accident while we were still in that SUV of our’s left us sitting right in the middle of a busy intersection. This was no simple four way stop. This was a noncongruent mess of an intersection, like one you might find in Europe. Many different types of traffic buzzed passed as we struggled to get the thing running again. 
     Mom eventually dropped out of this circus to have lunch and catch up with her mystery guest. That’s when things got weird. Pat and I (the only participants even IN the race) left the SUV and “found” motorcycles, very clumsy motorcycles. We ran through dense woods, over rolling hills, through busy city streets and even  through a variety of shops.  
     It was at this point that some people began to chase us and we had to be careful who we trusted through the rest of the race. Undoubtedly, they chased us because we had crashed their vehicles with our motorbikes. So we pressed on, using something similar to a BigWheel. Although I think they only had one big wheel.  They were made of yellow plastic and resembled a unicycle. We wrecked those things twice as often.
     In fact we made frequent stops along our route. I’m pretty sure Pat stopped to apply for a job once. We also stopped now and then to have some beers on porches of a few friends we happened upon. All the while of course we were being chased by someone, either the authorities or some backwoods redneck whose trash cans we’d kicked over. 
     Soon we were on foot, sprinting with all our wind. Running, we ran through a few more shops, knocking over merchandise without time to stop and pay for whatever it was that we’d broken. At one point we ran through what I assumed to be a Jewish shop, interrupting some religious ceremony. Lagging behind, I only said “Laheim” in a breathy voice and made a vague gesture with my hand.
     Without transition, we were once again running through an old man’s shop. He had nothing at all worth buying. But he was nice enough. He had a lazy acquiescence about him, as if folks run through his store a lot, occasionally stopping to buy a nicknack as a souvenir. He also had a small dog which seemed to be his only real concern. Leaving, we had to be sure to latch BOTH screen doors, one right after another. I remember reading a note hung on the screen doors written in black magic marker with instructions on how to jimmy the latch on each door and begging that we not let his dog out. I recall shouting to Pat to NOT let the nosey dog out as he is notorious for doing that. The dog nearly snuck past us to freedom, but we corralled the wire-haired mutt and were on our way.
     We were running through one final store when Pat bumped into an expensive looking vase and it shattered into a million pieces. The lady owner who did not take kindly to clumsy race participants fetched some projectile to shoot as us. But we were too busy laughing our hearts out, bumping into each other, knocking more useless expensive looking merchandise over and slapping each other on the shoulder.  
    From time to time we’d see a stranger and would have to stop running and walk past them so as not to draw their suspicion. It  wasn’t until we slammed through the swinging glass doors of that store that our race had ended. I woke up just before we received our trophies, which were in sight but just out of reach. It’s a good thing too! I suspected that the trophies were in fact decoys placed there by the authorities trying to capture the two unwitting brothers.

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