Quick RAGBRAI overview.
- RAGBRAI, Day 1.
I promise I didn’t go 140mph, as Strava seems to think. My top speed was 43mph on one of the downhills. That’s the fastest I’ve ever gone on a bike.
- RAGBRAI, Day 2.
Gravel Loop Day. Rain in the morning, sunny and humid in the afternoon. Soaking wet either way. Day 2 was also Gravel Loop day. I learned the hard way why my bicycle is called a “road bike”.
- RAGBRAI, Day 3.
Century day. On the way into Alden, there was a bridge missing. Apparently, someone was worried that the old bridge wouldn’t handle ten to twenty thousand cyclists, so they went ahead with the replacement project. There was a dirt & gravel walkway constructed from one side to the other, and riders had to get off of their bikes and walk across (not wide or smooth enough to ride). Some of us (me included) chose to scramble down the bank of the unnamed creek, hop across rocks, and scramble up the other side. I found myself in this Register photo (third from the right at the top of the hill, white helmet). My ride in France prepared me for this, I guess.
It was windy and hot on the Century Loop, but my friend Tom and I helped one-another keep our spirits up. We stopped for pie at a roadside stand run by an Amish family.
- RAGBRAI, Day 4.
The “easy” day. I rode a couple of extra miles at the end of the day, just to make sure I’d completed 100km. I rate the overnight towns by their showers. Good showers at the University of Northern Iowa. Rachel and I went on our first official date here. We saw Fleetwood Mac play at the UNI Dome.
- RAGBRAI, Day 5.
My memory of this particular day on the ride are remarkably weak. My notes say that it was a hot and sunny day, but apparently I didn’t stop much and didn’t spend enough time getting to know the towns.
- RAGBRAI, Day 6.
I left Hiawatha by following a cycling trail through a nature preserve. It wasn’t clear to any of us whether this was part of the official route or not, but I didn’t lose any distance by taking the trail so I figured it was okay. Mount Vernon is where Cornell College (not that Cornell, that Cornell!) is located. A really pretty town. The rain hit hard by the time I got to Solon, so I waited there for a while, and then decided I could handle a little rain and rode on. There was thunder off in the distance. Some of it quite loud, but I kept counting the time between the lightning and the thunder and figured it was far enough away that I was still safe. We rode through some beautiful but hilly country on the way to Coralville. Someone stopped in front of me at the foot of a particularly hefty climb, and I wound up walking my bike up the hill. That was the only time, but given how wet and how steep it was, it was probably for the better. We rode into town amid much fanfare. The route guided us into the midst of the business district with all of the vendors set up. I should have been annoyed, I guess, but I actually enjoyed being greeted in such an enthusiastic way.
- RAGBRAI, Day 7.
From Coralville out through Iowa City and another gauntlet of vendors trying to make the most of the last day. They were available, but were not in the way, which was pleasant. A very fast day, with some very nice descents as we headed toward the river. There were two annoyances at the end. We arrived at the dip-site, but the route took us an extra couple of miles in a big loop that had us looking at, but not able to reach, the Mississippi River. …and then there were no showers. Ick.