Summer of the Bike: RAGBRAI

On to the main event: RAGBRAI. After a rainy transfer from Lansing IA in the east, we made it to Orange City IA, the start of our RAGBRAI adventure. The plan was to ride 411 miles across the state over six days, supported by Pork Belly Ventures. With the service we had a tent, showers, cooling stations & nightly entertainment with at least 1500 other “Porkers.” IMG_8354Day one took us over 65+ miles from Orange City to Spencer,  and we had a great time! We visited some cute towns with pork chops and pie along the way. Steve is comparing rhubarb pie in each town, searching for the best.  The church ladies here really know how to bake!

On day two went went from Spencer to Algona.  I rode 76 miles & Steve opted for the optional century loop which took him a total of 110 miles. He got a special patch for the effort. We finished the day with a massage (me) and beer (Steve). We topped it all off with a church-prepared spaghetti dinner with homemade ice cream. RAGBRAI is a world within itself and we soaked it all in.

On the third day we rode 51 miles from Algona to Clear Lake, taking our time to enjoy the towns, the ice cream, and the people. We faced pretty strong winds on this day, but it’s all part of the adventure! Sure enough, adventure we got because on the fourth day it rained from Clear Lake to Charles City. IMG_8479We did about 58 miles and then enjoyed the town & camp. Day four presented us with a good but rainy ride from Clear Lake to Charles City today. We did about 58 miles, stopping along the way to take shelter in a farmer’s barn to escape the heaviest downpours.  We finally made it to camp at just about the time it cleared up.

From Charles City to Cresco travelled 56 miles.  Along the way we saw bikes, buffaloes, the biggest cock in the county. Great food, music, and people all along the way. After five days of biking over 50 miles per day we were starting to feel it.  Still, the excitement and energy of RAGBRAI carries you through.  And, as we’ve been told, it’s really a series of 10-15 mile rides since there’s a town with food and entertainment just when you need a rest.

Our last “full” RAGBRAI day was from Cresco to Waukon. We biked 62 miles over some pretty big hills and enjoyed the usual stops for pie, cute animals, and great views. IMG_8530Today was college spirit day and it was fun to see the variety of schools represented (including many Huskers and Sun Devils).

The last day, from Waukon to Lansing was really a half-day, covering 44 miles. And, we did it! 411+ miles on a bike across the state of Iowa, 8 nights in a tent, and 100s of great memories. On the final day we we biked through the Yellow River Forest and Harpers Ferry on the shores of the Mississippi. What a beautiful way to end a perfect week!

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