Folks, I did it! I ACTUALLY did it. My friend Krista and I rode RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa). This year took a Northern route across the state measuring in at 442 miles and with 14, 584 feet of climb. By climb they mean some pretty wicked-nasty hills. The following is a summary of the daily trips:
Sunday Sioux City to Storm Lake 68.5 Miles 3,687 Feet of Climb
Monday Storm Lake to Algona 79 Miles 1,083 Feet of Climb
Tuesday Algona to Clear Lake 59.9 Miles 1,068 Feet of Climb
Wednesday Clear Lake to Charles City 51.8 Miles 1,180 Feet of Climb
Thursday Charles City to Waterloo 82.2 Miles 2,635 Feet of Climb
Friday Waterloo to Manchester 61.6 Miles 2,340 Feet of Climb
Saturday Manchester to Dubuque 47.5 Miles 2,591 Feet of Climb
I never in my life thought I would be able to ride all of RAGBRAI. We dipped our back tires in the Missouri River and rode across Iowa to dip our front tires in the Mississippi River.
I’ll honestly say that if I hadn’t been riding with Krista I definitely would not have made it. She’s sort of like having your own personal trainer that you hate and love all at the same time. I won’t tell you about the entire week because honestly…it is just a lot of biking and whining about hills.
Everybody wants to know if I partied? If by partied you mean I ate, showered, iced my knee and slept then YES I definitely partied. We were more focused on reaching our goal then partying. I don’t understand how people can party all night and all day and be drunk for a week straight and still be able to ride their bikes. No thanks, not me. I had a beer on a bike ride once upon a time and it made me feel awful, though that may have had something to do with eating too many GOO Gels and not enough real food. Yuck.
You see some pretty amazing things on RAGBRAI, there were an estimated 21,500 riders at one point during the week. Some riders ride partial days, some only ride part of the week and only a small fraction do the entire ride. You see people on lot of interesting rigs, you have the; elliptical on wheels, unicycles, six person tandems, three bikes attached by trailers with a grill, bar and luggage stacked between. You also meet a lot of people with some very interesting personalities such as Mr. Ruuuuummmbbbllleee Strips Man who made our day by singing and rolling his R’s every time we went by rumble strips. Unfortunately, you see a lot accidents and people who just haven’t taken care of themselves during the week as well.
1) Ham Balls in Plover – Krista loves ham and we were lucky enough to get to Plover in time that they still had ham balls left. They were delicious and were served by Seven Smiling Grandmothers.
2) Mr. Ruuuummmbbblleee Strip Man, all ready mentioned.
3) All of the excellent people who let us shower in their showers and sleep in their houses. WE LOVE YOU, you absolutely made the week more bearable.
4) Amazing Tan Lines – Enough said.
5) The “YOU MADE IT” sign in Dubuque.
Not Enjoyable Things:
1) Breakdown in Communication- It is hard for three people to keep on the same level when there are only two cell phones and a bajillion people in the way of getting anywhere. We managed.
2) STUPID BIKERS, there are plenty of these out there unfortunately and some of them like to pay more attention to their beer than to not run their bike into me and gouge my ankle open.
3) Potter’s Hill- Hell. No. The last day was terrible, a TON of elevation smushed into a very short distance means ouch. Potter’s Hill is located between Graf and Dubuque and is a mile long hill with parts at a 19% grade. Krista and I both somehow in Baby Jesus’ name made it to the top without walking but there were an estimated 2/3 or riders who walked. This made me feel a little better.
4) Nasty Health Food – Chocolate Protein Shakes, Powerade and Goo Gels. I ate them because my trainer told me I needed them, I disbelieve this statement.
5) Sitting in the Saddle all Week – It hurts for days after, not to mention during.
6) Waiting in line FOREVER for the KYBO, aka Porta Potty. There can never be too many bathrooms with 21,500 people around.
I can now officially cross completing RAGBRAI off of my things to do before I turn 30. Next, I’m working are getting my Masters and running a marathon (or any race longer than a 5k, been there, done that, it’s crossed off).