We did it again. Our second RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) is complete, and like the first time, it was an incredible experience.
Yes, there were eight nights in a tent, long lines for the port-a-john, bug bites, occasional thunderstorms, and sore butts, but somehow those were minor annoyances compared to the joy of riding your bike across a beautiful landscape with 10,000+ other happy people from around the world.
This year we began our 400+ mile ride in Onawa, IA joined by Steve’s brother Gary and Gary’s buddies Alison and Blaine.
Over the week we biked 60 to 75 miles per day over rolling hills. Iowa is not flat! Stopping at small towns about every ten miles, we were fueled by pancakes, chocolate milk, corn-cob grilled pork chops, and homemade ice cream.
Every pass-through town welcomed us with music, food, and plenty of photo ops.
One highlight this year was the opportunity to ride inside Iowa State University’s Jack Trice Stadium. Football season will soon be upon us and the Cyclones are ready.
All of the crew (except Marnie, who took a day off the bike and opted for a massage instead) did the 100 mile option on the fifth day, successfully completing 110 miles for the day.
We visited towns like Coon Rapids, Ute, and State Center, each of which had its own character and characters.
Everyday we stopped at least once or twice at the Iowa Beer Tent. Ten stops during the week and you get a “free” t-shirt. Gary earned the shirt, but Steve and I opted for water.
We travel with Pork Belly Ventures, Ragbrai’s largest charter operator.
After each day of biking we were welcomed into camp with our tent assembled, bags inside. After a hot shower, we enjoyed live music, beer, and dinner. It’s camping elevated.
One day on the route was college jersey day, and we proudly wore our Sun Devil & Cornhusker colors. We also visited Riverside, IA, a town that claims to be the future birthplace of Captain Kirk. It’s kitsch at its finest.
As we rode into Davenport on the Mississippi River a week later, we were happy to be finished and sad it was over. Ragbrai is an annual tradition for many and will likely be for us too. Until next year…