I was plowing through a well-deserved lunch recently — I'd biked 40 miles, about a third of that at the mercy of wind — and listening to WGN Radio online when the conversation on steroid use turned to Lance Armstrong.
Next would come my adopted state and my big summer event. My ears perked up.
"Isn't he doing some race?" host Mike McConnell asked his producer, Kristin Decker.
RAGBRAI! I mind-shouted at the laptop. HE'S DOING RAGBRAI!
"Yeah," Kristen replied, "something in Iowa. But he's not competing."
BECAUSE IT'S NOT A RACE!
"Oh, so he's just doing it for fun?"
EVERYONE'S DOING IT FOR FUN! AND PASTRIES! AND BEER!
"I don't even think it's a race," Kristen said finally. "I think it's just a bike event."
JUST A BIKE EVENT?
It's been years since I called a radio station — as in, I probably wasn't even a teenager — and I haven't bothered to break the text barrier, either.
But on Thursday, I came darn close: What rock were they living under? Hadn't at least one late-night comedian mocked Lance, thus providing Mike and Kristen with some background on RAGBRAI or, at the very least, with something to Google?
I will admit that I didn't know what RAGBRAI was until a few years ago, but unlike Mike and Kristen, when I first heard of it back in 2011, I was impressed. I made a mental note of it, not necessarily as a bucket-list item, but more as a truly interesting and unique event.
If you couldn't tell, I'm a little indignant on behalf of my adopted state. This isn't the first oblique insult of Iowa or its beautiful capital city I've heard on WGN; I sure hope it's the last!
Contrast this with a conversation I had with an Iowa native co-worker that evening. She was departing for a week-plus of vacation — international travel, no less — and I mentioned that as soon as she returned, I would be off work.
"Oh, where are you going?" she asked.
"I'm doing half of RAGBRAI."
Her jaw dropped farther than mine had when I'd heard she was headed to Europe. "YOU'RE DOING RAGBRAI? That is AWESOME."
Take note, Chicago folks.