This July, you will enter another culture with its own norms, its own customs, and its own highly specialized vocabulary. We have published this Pork Glossary of Terms, mainly to help our newbies increase their fluency in RAGBRAI lingo. With a few new entries, here it is again in random order.
This common noun, possibly derived from a little-known acronym from the ride's early days (Keep Your Bowels Open) refers to the ubiquitous banks of porta-potties on RAGBRAI. An entire seminar could be given on the subject of kybos, but we will confine this treatment to a few main points. Approach the kybo door with caution. In fact, knock, even if the thingy says "Open," as people get in a hurry and forget to latch it, and opening an occupied kybo can be traumatic. Secondly, while inside the kybo, keep your eyes straight ahead and use your peripheral vision. Don't look down. Thirdly, be very careful about not placing money or cell phones in shirt pockets, or you may bend down and hear an awful plop. When departing from the kybo late at night, ease the plastic door shut so that the people in nearby tents can get thirty-five seconds of sleep. Finally, do not set up your tent anywhere near the kybos.
Soft duffels or other suitably durable and zippable containers, for carrying personal belongings on RAGBRAI. Strictly defined, a bag is whatever can be zipped inside the bag, not a bunch of stuff loosely associated with the bag, i.e. a soft duffel with a lawn chair strapped to it, a zipper that won’t quite zip over the wadded-up air mattress, and a wet towel looped through the handle. That is no longer defined as a bag. That is a cluster.
Clusters are strictly prohibited with Pork Belly Ventures. The problem with clusters is that getting loaded and unloaded fourteen times causes them to come unclustered. Unclustered clusters wreak havok on everyone, but most of all, the cluster owner, whose stuff is strewn from here to God knows where.
A balm used on a warm, humid area of the Pork Physique that is particularly vulnerable to chafing and saddle sores. Believe it or not, you will carry on whole conversations about ointments such as Bag Balm, Chamois Butter, Zinc Oxide, and Desitin. (At least one of these is manufactured for use by animals.) Several brands are noted by our veterans below. Oops, don’t forget Lantiseptic, Big Sweaty Dave’s current favorite.
SADDLE CONTACT ZONE (SCZ)
Where the shorts meet the saddle, or the warm and humid zone referenced above.
A rough and bumpy strip of pavement, usually three consecutive strips, that announce an upcoming stop sign. Riding your bike over a Rumble Strip can be very hard on your SCZ and your body's loose, moving parts. If you are caught unawares by a Rumble Strip, stand in your pedals immediately. Clench your teeth to keep your lowers from banging your uppers, or open wide and say Ahhhahhhahhhahhh, and listen to the bumpy sound your voice makes. Do not swerve mid-Rumble. Pay attention to other riders and signal before swerving to avoid the next Rumble Strip. And the next Rumble Strip.
A proper noun with a highly positive connotation referring to those spending the week with Pork Belly Ventures. Implies the virtues of good humor and the ability to roll with it. Usage as a term of address ("Dear Porkers") has no relationship to size, diet, level of hygiene, or appearance of the addressee.
A new Pork Belly Ventures baggage trailer (a semi-trailer) adorned with a favorite RAGBRAI saying: “It’s not so much the Heat. It’s the Stupidity.” When you ask where to take your bags in the morning, and someone says, “go to the Stupidity Trailer,” please don’t take it personally.
Someone who has ridden RAGBRAI. Period. You don’t have to have ridden every mile of Soggy Monday in 1981 to qualify as a vet. You don’t have to have ridden every mile of Saggy Thursday in 1995. If you have passed the corn on a bike in July, you are a veteran.
Someone who does not yet know what s/he’s in for, who doesn’t know how to catch airborne pancakes with her plate, who has never pulled on one pair of padded shorts over another pair of padded shorts to cushion the tender SCZ on Thursday morning, who has never competed valiantly in a toilet race, who may wander silently in the dark for half an hour after a kybo run, and whose eyeballs will be big as saucers on arrival in LeMars on July 18. Virgins are the envy of RAGBRAI. They have their first one ahead of them, and no matter how many times they ride Iowa, they’ll never forget the maiden voyage.
Usually refers to a piece of Pork Equipment of one kind or another, i.e. "Let's drag the Thingy over by the teeter-totter." During the hottest part of the day, this term may be used to refer to almost anything, i.e. "Oh crap, I left my thingy in that last pass-through town" or "Ow! Cramp in my thingy!" (If you are familiar with Pork Thingys, skip the next three entries.)
A table built by Pete, plumbed with five spigots and equipped with a mirror and wringer for bike shorts (watch your fingers). This cold-water-only Thingy is good for filling water bottles, brushing teeth, and cooling off.
THE JUICE THINGY
A NEW Pork Apparatus, created by Dad, Pete, and Dave Kennedy for charging electronic devices. This Big Juice Thingy, a walk-in trailer with (yow!) 720 outlets in individual lockers, will always be plugged into one of the big, quiet Pork Generators for 24 hour charging. Bring your own little luggage-sized padlock, please. (Remember, we will have outlets, not chargers. Bring the charger for the wall outlet, not the cigarette-lighter kind.)
Yet another Pork Apparatus created by Pete, with a pressure regulator and compressor, for the purpose of inflating bicycle tires. In the mornings from about 6:00 to 7:30, during the busy time, a Pork Crew Member will help you top off your tires. Simply roll past with valve stems unscrewed, get your pfffffft-pfffffft, and be on your way.
The world you left behind when you decided to come do this thing. We have a saying that goes something like this. "On RAGBRAI, you will set your toothbrush on things you would not step on in real life."
Those who encounter initial difficulties in detaching from real life and embracing RAGBRAI. You have to face it, dude. Your egg-white omelette and your carb-free pancake will be waiting for you in real life, but you're on RAGBRAI now. (See "Live Like a Pig" at the end of this Glossary.)
GRAZING THE VENDORS
Rather than sitting down to a meal, RAGBRAIers sometimes wander among the vendors, buying incompatible foods willy-nilly. Warm salted nuts, frozen ice cream dots, a slice of pizza, a heap of funnel cakes, a few ears of buttery sweet corn, a two-inch-thick pork chop, and a slice of Dutch Apple pie ala mode, for instance.
RAGBRAI COOL 1
Some say that in terms of temperature, anything under 90 degrees Fahrenheit is RAGBRAI Cool. But actually, there’s no such thing. There’s RAGBRAI hot, RAGBRAI humid, RAGBRAI chilly, and OMG-who-knew-Iowa-could-get-this-c-c-c-old-in-July.
RAGBRAI COOL 2
In terms of aesthetic appeal, things that are decidedly uncool in real life can suddenly become extremely cool on RAGBRAI. Like the weedy area behind a shelled out car dealership where some kids have been lighting bonfires anyway so nobody really cares. You could mow that thing and bam! It’s RAGBRAI Cool. Similarly, loin cloths and thongs. Not cool in real life, but you have to hand it to the guy riding across Iowa in a loin cloth or a thong. On second thought, no.
This is a relative concept, relative to RAGBRAI, where conditions can be less than clean. When someone says, "Is that cup clean?" and someone replies, "It's RAGBRAI clean," you can assume that you would probably survive drinking from that cup.
This is currency---bills---that have caused an awful plop. In other words, they have been stained by the blue chemical that is used in kybos, but their owner apparently has an unusually broad definition of the term "RAGBRAI Clean." The fabled "Blue Money Mike" was perhaps the first to spend tainted currency on the ride. Some say that all week long, his arm was blue to the shoulder.
A brief sentence that encompasses how life can just be that way sometimes on RAGBRAI, so you have to suck it up and stick it out. You know, like maybe there's a storm or whatever. Whether you are climbing a literal hill or a metaphorical one, it's best to just downshift, metaphorically or literally, and roll with it.
Verb, noun, or adjective, this term refers to hanging up your bike and riding a motorized vehicle to your destination, i.e. "I never rode a sag (n.) in my life, but hey, Shift Happens, so this Porker is hanging his bent on the sag truck (adj.) and sagging (v.) all the way to Webster City."
An abbreviation of "recumbent" bicycle.
LIVE LIKE A PIG
A PBV team slogan that encourages Porkers to be content with their circumstances, Think Gravy, find joy in the moment, regardless of sweat and other minor discomforts, acknowledge that shift happens, and roll with it. It is not uncommon to hear virtuous Porkers praised in hushed tones: "Wow. The guy really knows how to Live Like a Pig."