12 A Million Spokes

We were fortunate to have attended the Premier of the film “A Million Spokes” while in Sioux City, Iowa just 2 days before kicking off our RAGBRAI ride. It is more than just a bicycling film, it’s people stories.  For us the RAGBRAI was a Bucket List, once in a lifetime event. RAGBRAI has a lot of elements rolled into a bike ride but the most interesting has to be the riders. We wondered, why do so many return year after year. True it’s a huge physical challenge and perhaps The Working Man’s Tour de France but is it cult worthy? For many, it seems to be. For instance, our fearless leader of The Talleyrand Bike Club, Farmer John, takes great pride in the fact that he has gone Missouri River to Mississippi River 26 times. As he puts it, “Every day, all the way!” Take a look at the trailer for “A Million Spokes” you might even join the cult? 


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11 RAGBRAI, Team Talleyrand

This page is a salute to new friends, the members of Team Talleyrand.  

Team Talleyrand

Ray & Anne



Leland at 80

Jolly Jackie

Team Talleyranders

FJ, Cat & Donnie

Bridget, Dave, Claire

Lanny et al

Jim, Mark & Mookie

Bill & Jim

Day 4 Clutter


Hubie Dan FJ Doc NSSK Jerry



    An Interview with Farmer John, Talleyrand Bike club’s     Leader!

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10 RAGBRAI Day 7 – Part 2

Lots of ups and downs through residential neighborhoods. Then almost like a mirage, downtown Dubuque and the Mississippi river. As the feelings of elation grew the sense of a huge experience coming to an end began to set in. Hard to believe it’s only been 7 days. At this moment it feels like we’ve been here in Iowa a lifetime. And yet, it seems like only yesterday that we set off from Dallas on our RAGBRAI or BUST Heartland Tour 2 months ago.                                                                               

Dubuque Below

Big Welcome

The street down is steep, we were flying. As we hit the level plain to the river a voice called out, “Pat, Cat”. It was Tom, Terri’s husband. He feels that she’s about 20 minutes behind us. She rode without bags today and made great time. We hoped to see her when we dip wheels in the Mighty Mississippi. We stopped for a picture and a fellow among the crowd on the side of the street insisted on taking one with us in it. Bad idea, he’d had a little too much to drink and couldn’t grasp the concept of the camera. At least he didn’t lose his grasp on it.

Riding down main street made us feel like celebrities. Everyone was clapping and yelling out words of praise. We found our team, Farmer John was trying to hold everyone there to make a triumphant entry but the group was disintegrating. Everyone was anxious to get to the river. He gave up so we rolled onward through the adulation and to the crowd, our final line we thought, waiting their chance to slip a wheel into the Big Muddy.


The dipping spot is on a narrow launching ramp. Though thick the crowd was friendly and courteous. After slowly shuffling down and those trying to get back up after their dip, it was finally our turn. We took a photo of the group next to us then they did the same for us. Then like fish struggling upstream, rather than the minnows we’d been for 7 days while streaming down the asphalt ribbon,  we wiggled our way back up the slope.Then another line as we began the process packing our faithful steeds. That, dear friends is another story in it’s self! Check the first chapter of our return, Iowa-Minnesota-California.  

Finish Line

Dippin Wheels

Wheel Dippers


This is not the END, just the beginning of another ADVENTURE!

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09 RAGBRAI Day 7

WOW, what a day. 47 miles, lots of hills including 8/10 of a mile 19% grade that we took in stride! Started with a team photo at 7:00 AM then off we went.

It’s now 11:09 PM, 7/1/10, and I’m too tired to do this tonight. You won’t believe how this all ended and moved into the next dimension. We’re in Minneapolis, MN thanks to Corey and Todd. PS….This week was a very tough test!!!!!!!!!!!! More about that tomorrow, too. Good night Dear Friends!!!

Well, it’s a day later, 9:30 PM, 8/1/10 and I’m back at it. Day 7 started with a team photo in the street then we set off like a herd of turtles at 7:00 PM. This is the first day that we left as a team. A beautiful day, beautiful scenery and a great day for a bike ride. When we passed a Hog Farm Cat insisted on a picture. I had to duck and dodge through the steady stream of cycles. It was all ups and downs, we were on a hill when I shot the pigs. (So to speak.)


Corn Fed Hogs

   The scenery today becomes more hills and dales. This day is second only to day one in terms of feet of climb. The weather was cool and clear to start but heated up as we approached the infamous “Potter’s Hill”. The road tilts up at a 19 percent grade forcing more than 70% of riders to push. We were among that group. The climb is 8/10 of a mile and each 1/10 is marked. Cat made it almost half way, I stood and pedaled a bit more than caved in. 

Corn & Bikes

Pushing Potters

At the top we were rewarded by the Tom’s Turkey Stand. One of the food vendors that sets up daily alnog the route. Part of the reward was that the line was short, perhaps due to our early arrival at 9:30 AM. We shared a smoked turkey leg, can’t begin to describe how good it was. We talked about getting a smoker when we get back home. 

Turkey Leg


Last Bite


More hills but nothing like “Potter’s” that we dubbed “Walker’s Hill”! You could feel a certain excitement among the cyclists as we entered Dubuque. The city limit was deseptive and there were still plenty of city hills to climb in the final 4 miles.

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08 RAGBRAI Day 6 – 2


Team 1

Once in and settled the party began. Guitars and singing as showers were dealt out. This is the big finale as some such as we are leaving tomorrow right after we finish the ride. Everyone sat in a circle. The first tradition is called Strombaugh, a game invented by troops in Korea while saving the Western World as Farmer John puts it. Beer cans passed around, well you take a look. It’s a game of attrition and it came down to Farmer John and Wookie.

Old Guard


Team 1





Down to the FINAL TWO, Wiley (Wookie) and John (Farmer John)

Then came the Talleyrand Virgin Talent Contest, Winners become Life Members.

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07 RAGRAI Day 6


RAGBRAI Route Day 6

Ridin' in Rain

Fear of rain drove us into the basement under the garage last night. The Host & Hostess were just great. We put the cushions from their chase lounges down. Too short but better than just out little mats and the concrete. Made for an early rising. We had our usual bananas then hit the road by 6:30, our earliest start to date. As we pushed out it began to sprinkle. We rolled back to where we’d left off yesterday and into the frey. More rain drops, bigger rain drops. By 8:00 we were in heavy rain.  it intensified as we road in the slowing pack.  At 9:00 it was really pouring and we were subjected to big bolts of lightening and horrendous claps of thunder. Cat fears a lightening strike. We sought refuge in a tractor barn with as many other as could pack in. It seemed to slow so we set off only to feel a stout headwind full of water.

We rolled in to Rowley, IA about 10:00 AM and again found shelter midst a shivering mass of cyclists. Cat began to shiver then shake. I went down the vendor row and a nice lady gave my 2 plastic bags. I cut holes and we got one over her head. The other was going to be mine. A caring couple, Dan & Betsy urged me to wrap it around Cat’s legs. Still she shook and her finger tips and lips were turning  blue. They wrapped one of the fireman’s coats around her then another around her legs. The fireman then had her come into a room and cranked up the heat. There were soon 6 other patients sitting on the floor wrapped in fireman’s coats. I tried and tried to get a call   

Cat 'n' Coat

out. Finally got tonight’s camp host on the line, he got Carolyn. Lost the call then got through again. She sent Mark and Mookie to the rescue. Took them 1 1/2 hours to get through the bike traffic and barricaded streets. We threw the bikes in the p/u bed and climbed in. Cat was really disappointed but as usual we decided that it just adds another dimension to the story.

On the way in Mark found a liquor store and bought a bottle of Drambuie. In camp he put it on the table and his father-in-law, Farmer John, began to whoop and holler. It was a sign that Mark and John’s daughter were pregnant. Lots of toasting, I even took a sip from John’s cup. Have I mentioned that these guys, especially the Marines, really know how to drink?  This led to music and celebration on the lawn.

We walked to the Casey Jr. Market and had sandwiches. Back at camp, Ray and Anne had rolled in so I retrieved the computer and here I sit. We are all chipping in for Pizza tonight. A great idea. Then we’re all expected to perform in a talent show. This could be interesting, very interesting. Good news, the one they call Crash for they say good reasons, went to the hospital in Algona and just got out today. Bad news the guy we saw in grave condition after a crash, has gone to his grave. He didn’t make it. Interesting, in the rain everyone including the pace lines slowed to a crawl.  

Cat had a great idea for dinner, she called and a local Chinese Restaurant delivered.  No line, no waiting, just good food.

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06 RAGBRAI Day 5

RAGBRAI Route Day 5

Our earliest start ever, out the door by 6:44 AM.Today’s ride is the longest, ended up 92 miles. This will be the shortest Blog on the longest ride since day one. It was definitely the heart of the heartland with unlimited sky, landscape horizon to horizon and if viewed from above, a strip of asphalt with shadows of bicycle rider that seen from above must look like Minnows swimming up stream. We did ride past a crash that may have been life threatening. Then Cat was almost involved when a girl in a hurry yelling “On your left” hooked another wheel and down they went. Don’t know the outcome of that one but tonight the TV. He was air lifted out to Mayo Clinic and he’s in critical condition. 

Don’t mean to make it sound boring, it never is. We’re just getting used to the scenery and becoming  accustomed to the lay of the land. Finding food, standing in line for it and toilets. We have started not looking for food that sounds good but rather food with the shortest lines. This was the longest ride of our 7 days of endurance. Due to the location of our host families home we get to ride an extra 10 miles today, WOW, 92 miles! 


Pat's World


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06 RAGBRAI Day 4

RAGBRAI Route Day 4


Blown Tent

Tough night last night, dissension in the camp due to heat and wind. Then a flap over buying wine. We appeared to be prima donnas to some of the other members. Those who know us know that that actually may be true when it comes to wine! Rode in the back of a pickup into town with 7 others, that was fun. Tried to find a restaurant, to no avail. One actually let us stand in line then as we neared the door they shouted out, “We’re out of food, we’re closed.” There are lots of food vendors but they all have long lines. After standing in the sun to buy you also have to stand in the sun or sit on the curb in it while eating. When 24,000 people hit town at the same time on the same day these little towns are overwhelmed.


Comande & Corp

It was so hot that we slept fitfully, with the rain fly pulled back, on top our sleep sacks. At 2:00 AM the sound and light started. Lightening, thunder then wind and rain. Our tent hasn’t been used in 6 years. If I’d paid attention in Boy Scouts we’d have been prepared. The rain poured in, we picked up and ran for the host house. Everything was soaked. Cat slept on the couch and I took the recliner. By 5:00 the camp began to stir. We threw our wet things into the dryer and hung the tent on the fence. At 6:30 John the Camp Commander and his military comrades lined up for a picture then set off. We were last out of camp, again. What a difference a day makes! 



Mr PC's Chops

The clouds kept the sun at bay, it was cool and most of the wind and the other riders were friendly. We really enjoyed the day. Even stopped at Mr. Pork Chop’s and split a chop. Fantastic! Even had a Root Beer Float for dessert.

P & C & Mr PC


The clouds kept the sun at bay, it was cool and the wind and the other riders were friendly. We really enjoyed the day. Even stopped at Mr. Pork Chop and split a chop. Fantastic! Even had a Root Beer Float for dessert. The 50 mile ride seemed to just fly by.

We were captivated by a man who has invented and created works of art from junk. 



We rolled in the the Floyd County Fair grounds, our camp, at 12:30 PM. Nothing like a good day to turn things around. Choices, sleep in a large air conditioned room with 2 other teams or, the tent. We decided on tent after Weatherman Bill confirmed, “No rain tonight!” We showered then sat around telling tall tales with the others. Really a fun afternoon.

Leland's Clan



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05 RAGBRAI Day 3

RAGBRAI Route Day 3

 Once again it’s easy to wake up early. Even with the donated blow up mattress we rolled and pitched. Up at 5:30, we got the tent and mattress down and out to the truck, ate a couple of bananas then took pics as the early risers headed out. Then the second group and we were right behind them at 7:08 AM. A couple of blocks in wonderful old residential neighborhoods and we were back into the flow of humanity called RAGBRAI. We have decided that RAGBRAI is the working man’s Tour de France. Cyclists come from all over to ride the largest PELATON in the world. You can ride fast or take your time. You experience every adversity imaginable for 7 days then go back to work with a new cycling jersey, “I rode RAGBRAI XXXVIII. Is it worth it? Through the pain, heat and sweat we’re beginning to think so.

Early Birds

Late Crew

The route, 60 miles to Clear Lake. Sounded easier than it turned out to be. We were pretty good until lunch, sandwiches in a little cafe. Then, as the afternoon heated up we headed up a slow incline against 16 MPH winds. That took some time. We stopped for water and Gatorade a few times. Then the down hill run with the wind, a 20 mph ride except that the road was cracked and a very rough. So rough that it shook my kick stand loose. Well all in all it is still a similar thrill as the Tour but here in Iowa.

Yellow Corn

Iowa Peliton

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04 RAGBRAI Day 2

RAGBRAI Route Day 2

Monday, July 26, 2009, 79 miles.  Last night I stayed up late after wine and did the Blog. Oops, forgot the Memory Stick was in the computer, Packed it up and sent it down the road.  So, no  video today. I did have the large camera so will be able to post a couple of pics. This is a video from yesterday but it personifies the party atmosphere.



Sleeping in a tent adds to the dramatic possibilities. Our mattresses both leaked so we ended up on the hard ground. It was easy to get up early. However by the time we got the tent down and stowed everyone had already left camp. We had a couple of bananas and a cup of coffee then were off. A few city streets then WOW, back into the steady stream of never ending cyclists. The road is flat and the wind was with us when headed north. Veering east we handled a healthy side wind. Pedaling hard, we saw Terri coming back up from the corn patch from doing we can only guess. So many go between the rows taht I have started saying, “Don’t eat yellow corn”!

RAGBRAI is a test of endurance. This is only day 2 with 5 to go. We feel like we’re flying along then realize that so many are passing us. “On your left” is the call of the day as they whiz past. We stopped and ate a tasty Chicken Burrito in a park. Our criteria, the shortest line. Tried to call Terri and Sheila to join us but no phone service.

We were in our finish town, Algona before 3:00 PM. First order of business, set the tent then wine then get in line for the showers. (The tent went up much easier, practice makes perfect.) And, somehow Cat came up with a borrowed blowup mattress. Heaven. (Rain is predicted tonight, OH JOY!


Locals & Bikers

Couch Cyclists








Mr Pork Chop


Pocahontas, IA

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