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RAGBRAI - CycleTour

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Western border to eastern border, Iowa
United States
85F / 29C
Total Time = 00m
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Since this is not a race, there was no pre-race routine. For me this included driving 900 miles to get to the ride start from Houston.
  • 00m
  • 472 miles
  • 0.00 mile/hr

Now after two weeks, the towns and events have started to merge together. The first day started out with the most perfect weather to ride. The hills, thankfully, were well into the first hour of the ride so there was a good warmup period before making the attempt. It was a huge struggle for me, but I was thrilled to finally top out at the top. It was an eye opener and I realized very quickly that it would take a lot of mental strength to get through this ride. I soon found a little mental song to play in my head, "up and down, up and down", with my head down and just pure determination to make it to the top of each new hill. Since the rest of the group didn't have the same issue with the hills that I had, I was often pulling up the rear of the group. Much to my great relief, they often waited for me! :) Kiley and I rode well together because she could climb the hills and I could fly down the other side, so we often met along the way. Some time we just toodle along and others we pushed a bit more. We would meet up with the rest of the group at the meet up towns and get a beer or a bloody mary. We skipped towns that didn't have a stated beer garden! It was always nice to see everyone again along the way. This is pretty much how the whole week proceeded. Our overnights were great as well. The first night we stayed with my cousin. He went all out for us and had grilled brats, melons, salads, chips, drinks. He also had a rain barrel shower set up for us to bathe in. I understand it was a bit cool but very refreshing overall. It was a fabulous night after a very long ride. Our first day, we pretty much blew through the overnight town of Red Oak and headed on to Corning where my cousins place is. The boys went the official route and the girls (lvthegme and nette213) went another route. We were spent at the end of it all and logged roughly 80 miles. This is a PR for me, as this whole ride would be. The next morning he had coffee and breakfast waiting for us. Since we had already covered much of day 2 on day 1 we didn't hurry to get started. We rode into town in our support vehicle and joined with the rest of the crowd. We stopped for breakfast in Orient. This day turned cool and rainy so it was not as pretty as day 1. By the time we got to Greenfield, it was raining off/on. We decided to stay in town for a bit before heading out to our overnight at my uncle's place. Kiley and I found our way to the group showers, which was an interesting experience. The showers were set up inside a semi trailer truck and it was locker room style. We got naked with about twenty/thirty of our newest friends! It felt good to have a hot shower so who cared. We returned to the truck where the guys had opted for clean clothes and beer while they waited. We jumped the shuttle to town and looked for food. Food became our main focus for seven days! It was raining and not so much fun to hang out. I think this was out first introduction to the walking taco! It consists of a bag of Dorito chips cut long ways, with taco meat, cheese, sourcream and jalapenos. You eat it right out of the bag. Yummy! We called it good after a few beers and more rain. As we got to the truck, many of our group disappeared into the corn field for a pit stop. Just as they were starting to reappear, this woman came running towards us yelling "Children of the corn! I need to get a picture of the children of the corn. I am an artist and i have been watching the children of the corn go in and out all day." She proceeds to fall face first right in front of the group. Turns out she was a bit past drunk! My first fear was she was going to smack her head on the truck bumper but fortunately, she missed that. Funny! We loaded up in the truck and drove to Winterset to meet my uncle. We got to sleep inside the house this night so we didn't need to pitch the tents in the rainy weather. He was also a great host and though we had already eaten, he grilled burgers for us and we all ate again!!! Beer and showers for the guys ended our day 2 of RAGBRAI. We watched the news for weather updates then knocked out for the night. My uncles girlfriend is into raccoons so they feed them on the back porch. Unfortunately for us, it was like listening to Wild Kingdom for most of the night. Thankfully, she got up at some point and put the food downstairs. Day 3 started out cool and overcast and rainy! We also knew that portions of this days riding would be loaded with hills. Not much to my liking but it didn't really matter because you had to get from here to there no matter what lay between, right? The rain was on/off throughout the day but ended before we made it to the next overnight town. We stopped in East Peru, at the bottom of a big hill for beers and some rest. Guess what, we had to climb out of the bottom on now cold legs! Ugggh!!! So, I began with as much momentum as possible but soon was in granny gear and singing my little song :) About half way up, there was a big noise from a large crowd. ONe of the teams had set up a little challenge on the hill with beer cans, a slalom course. They were inticing folks with beer to take the challenge. I of course, was hugging the white line with my little chorus in my head just chugging along to the top. A yound lad took the challenge and was successful, great cheers from the crowd. I smiled and just kept chugging along. I was so thrilled to get to the top!!! Kiley is a mountain climber and loves the hills! It was amazing to watch her just climb right up. Someday, maybe, I will get there. So our next overnight was Indianola. Texts were our form of communication for finding our support vehicle and our wonderful support sherpa, The Schwamm! Unfortunately, Indinola is a town of, wait for it.....HILLS!! So after a day of riding, more hills before we can stop for the night. We found our truck but couldn't contact our overnight host so we camped where we were. We were close to the college so we got to use their showers that night. We walked into town for the evening festivities and more food foraging and beer drinking! It was a great evening. It was a little loud with folks walking by, traffic driving by, etc. but I put in some earplugs and went right off to sleep. The next morning we woke to a lovely fog and our tents were soaked with dew! We broke camp, found breakfast just down the street and made ready for another day of riding.

There are several days missing from this log, I will have to come back later to write more!
What would you do differently?:

For this event, riding your bike as often as possible is a must. For me, riding some hills would have been a great idea since this really was my first big hill test ever on my bike. I am so glad that my bike has so many gears. I used ever gear possible to get up most of the hills.

What would I do differently: ride as often and as far as possible.
Post race
What limited your ability to perform faster:

No hills in Houston! I shall ride more and perhaps try to find some hills to ride to get a bit more upward training.

Event comments:

This is the hardest thing that I have ever done. It is also probably the most fun I have had in a long time. It's tough, but oh, so worth it! Should you ever get the opportunity to do this event, DO IT! Better yet, do it with a group of total strangers, they soon will become the best friends that you could have!

Last updated: 2009-05-12 12:00 AM
00:00:00 | 472 miles | 0.00 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Good
Course: We traveled from Council Bluffs, IA east to Burlington, IA in seven days. Most of the roads were good but there were some that were not so nice. The course was filled with interesting people, interesting sights, and better yet, great new friends.
Road:   Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills: Average
Race pace: Comfortable Drinks: Just right
Post race
Weight change: %14+
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks? Yes
Post race activities: Good
Race evaluation [1-5] 5

2009-11-28 12:40 PM

Subject: RAGBRAI

2009-11-28 12:47 PM
in reply to: #2533868

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Extreme Veteran
Phoenix, AZ
Subject: RE: RAGBRAI

RAGBRAI rocks!!! It was a little rainy this year though!

2009-12-09 11:09 PM
in reply to: #2533868

Subject: RE: RAGBRAI

It was fantastic!  Yes, it rained a bit but it didn't dampen the fun that was happening.  I can't wait to do this again!

2009-12-10 8:22 AM
in reply to: #2533868

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Subject: RE: RAGBRAI
whoa.  that looks cool.  i might get stuck in one the bars just drinking beer though.  awesome job.   and hey, hit up chappell hill for some hills. 
2009-12-11 6:41 PM
in reply to: #2533868

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Subject: RE: RAGBRAI
We finally get to hear the REAL story! - did I get that right?
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