The second time I rode the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI – the world’s largest and longest organized bicycle ride) was in 2005 with my college friend Michon. For the first few days of riding, our small team of two rode with the procession of thousands of riders pedaling their bikes across Iowa.
With any group of riders, large or small, it’s difficult finding people who have the same pace as you. So more often than not Michon and I rode at our own speeds agreeing that the lead person would wait at the next town to regroup. Let’s just say, I got many much needed breaks as I waited for Michon to roll in. Thanks Michon!
After a few days of riding on our own, we met up with Michon’s uncle and friends who were also riding RAGBRAI. Towards the end of a hot and grueling stretch we all agreed we needed a rest and some refreshments. Our plan was to stop at the first bar on the left at Lake Mills, the next town up. By the time I got there, everyone else, except Michon, was already inside enjoying their drinks with a room full of Spandex-clad riders doing the same. I waded through the crowd, found my group and took a seat at their table. We ordered drinks as we waited for Michon. Ten minutes later she came walking in still wearing her helmet (we’ve finally trained her to take if off before entering a building). She made her way to our table, sat down with a deep sigh of exhaustion and downed a glass of water. Soon after, Michon’s uncle stands up to declare he’s buying us a round of drinks. No one objected. Returning to our table, he carefully sat down a shot glass in front of each of us. We raised our glasses to a toast of good times with good friends and tipped back our whiskey shots.
As we got back to our bikes and geared up for the last leg of the day’s ride, Michon was looking refreshed and ready to hit the road. We started heading out of Lake Mills as a group when soon enough Michon pulled out ahead of us and flew down the road like someone had put a fire under her seat. At the sight of this, Michon’s uncle aptly declared her the Whiskey Rider.
Michon is the original Whiskey Rider. Four years later we’re still riding together and telling this story. We’ve since added more members to the team, created a logo, made team shirts and Michon has a much faster bike, meaning fewer breaks for me. – MICHELLE