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Pedal for Paws

Hey everyone!

I just wanted to drop in and write about the charity bike ride I went on today! I have volunteered at the ARL a couple of times, but this time I was an attendee! If you’re familiar with the Des Moines area, you probably know the bike trail well. We started at Mad Meatball and made stops at Confluence Brewery, Jasper Winery, Orlando’s, and Cumming Tap. It’s a 26.2 mile ride round trip, and the longest ride I’ve ever been on.

There was rain in the forecast all day, and we really didn’t know for sure if the event would still happen. When I say there was rain in the forecast, I’m talking 70% chance of thunderstorms from 1:00 – 7:00 pm. I wouldn’t have thought twice about a little rain, but a thunderstorm is a different story when you’re on a bike and 20+ miles from home (or your car).

About 11:30 this morning, we decided to load up the bikes and head downtown. We figured it couldn’t hurt to check in and see what was happening. It was $25.00 to register for the ride; the money was going to a good cause whether we ended up participating or not.

It. Was. Humid.

Humid to the point that, 12 years ago, my pubescent self would have run home immediately for some anti-frizz hairspray…

And some extra strength antiperspirant…

And an extra shirt…

And maybe an extra pair of underwear.



You could tell it was going to rain something fierce. I do think a lot of people decided not to show up because of the nasty weather we were supposed to get, but it didn’t stop those of us that were there!

(Side note, I don’t blame anyone who didn’t attend. We got caught in a torrential downpour!)

We rode the few miles from Mad Meatball to Confluence, the first stop. The clouds were getting darker, the wind was picking up and getting cooler… All signs of an impending storm. As we were sitting at the brewery, we started to feel raindrops. Everyone pulled out their phones to check the radar, and, sure enough, the storm was coming right for us. There wasn’t enough coverage from the rain at Confluence, so we hopped on our bikes and booked it to Jasper Winery. Thankfully, they had a tent outside.

We sat in that tent as the rain pounded down for over an hour. It hadn’t finished raining when we finally left the vineyard, but we couldn’t wait forever! A few miles down the trail was Orlando’s, and the rain had completely cleared up by the time we got there. Now that we all had raindrop-stained sunglasses and mud splatters all up the back of our shirts, we were golden. We sat at Orlando’s long enough to have a slice of pizza and a beer, and then we headed for Cumming Tap.

This was the long stretch of trail. I think the only reason we ended up even doing this part of the ride was because nobody wanted to be the one to bow out first; nobody wanted to admit to being tired and ready to go home!

I’m that person. I will freeze to death at a baseball game in Minnesota in April before I will admit to being cold and wanting to go home. I am that stubborn of a person…

I am a Taurus, after all.



Brian and I had been riding with a few people we knew so far. We hadn’t really planned on riding with them; it just kind of happened when we all got there. At this point, Brian and I took off for Cumming Tap on our own (silently wanting to go home). We did the eight-or-so miles, stayed long enough to use the restroom and get a drink of water, and then we turned right around and rode back to our car.

My Fitbit told me that the last leg, the return, was just over 13 miles.

Now, it’s 9:45 on Saturday night, and I’m in bed writing about it.

Even though I don’t think my ass will ever get used to being on a bike seat, this is truly the life I’ve always wanted.

Goodnight, followers!

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The plasma donation and the 30 mile bike ride.

The first bike rides of the season took place this weekend. Finally! I’ve been waiting and waiting for it to be nice enough. We were planning on biking to the Valley Junction Farmer’s Market last Thursday, but, of course, we got the worst thunderstorm of the season. Funnel clouds, winds up to 30 mph, rain, hail… you name it.

Instead, we biked to our favorite place in Valley Junction – Fox Brewing! It’s a small brewery in West Des Moines that’s fox themed, for obvious reasons. We love it, and it’s owned by one of our good friends! (Brian actually grew up with the guy; his name is Brian too.) If you haven’t been there, I suggest checking it out. If you have been there, make sure you hit me up next time you go! They do fun stuff like trivia and yoga.

You have to know it’s a great place if I say it’s my favorite, because… Do you know how many antique stores are in Valley Junction?! #antiquefreak

We biked there on Friday night, which is about 7 miles one way. It’s an easy ride, and the bike trail will take you most of the way there. The weather was perfect; I started in a light jacket and was sweating through that within 20 minutes of the ride. Ditch the jacket, grab a drink of water, off we go.

I forgot to mention… Friday will not go down in history as the day I had the best ideas. I donated plasma that afternoon. I donated plasma and then went on a 14 mile bike ride. To a brewery. Double no-no. I took about 4 sips of a beer, and my mom started giving me the look. I switched to water at the point.

We had gone to Fox Brewing with our families to celebrate our birthday’s since they’re only 7 days apart. I didn’t mind just drinking water; we ordered pizza for dinner, so I wasn’t missing out on that. We played a board game, something like the Worst Case Scenario Survival Game. It was really fun! The questions are hilarious, and I mostly hope I never run into any of those situations. Killer bees? Open wounds? I’m all about the outdoors, I’m actually a nature freak, but only if I get home unscathed.

I was carefree on the way over; it was a rough ride back as I was thirsty and trying to replenish my plasma supply, but we made it around 10:30 pm. We slept 9 hours, and got up to do it all again the next morning. This time, we were headed for Friederick’s Coffee on 22nd St. – almost 8 miles both ways.

I think I was too optimistic at this point.

We’re partaking in Pedal for Paws later this month, which is a 26.2 mile ride. Well, Brian told me I “have a lot of work to do” before that event. On Friday night, slightly insulted, I’m like ‘Okay, I’m just weak from donating plasma. I’ll be fine after I sleep tonight.’ 

Folks, she was not fine after she slept that night.

The ride to the coffee shop was not a flat ride. Every time I saw a hill staring me down, I tried to turn a corner to avoid it. Every time I did that, I found myself facing a bigger hill. It wasn’t as bad as I’m making it sound! I was just very dramatic from having a 14 mile ride the night before, and from this being our first actual ride of the season. Coming back was a little easier; we broke the ride up into 3 parts. I had to stop once to shop and once to eat.

When we finally headed home, I had to use every last ounce of umph to get there. It was getting warmer since it was pushing 1:00 pm now, my legs were throbbing, my backpack was weighing heavy on my shoulders thanks to our stop at Michael’s Craft Store. I only spent $33.00… But I made it. And then I napped, because… priorities.