I participated in RAGBRAI L, the 50th RAGBRAI, this past July. It was my third time on RAGBRAI, and as always it was epic beyond all possible description.
If you’ve never heard of RAGBRAI before, check out the Wikipedia article. The short version: It’s an annual bike ride across Iowa of 15,000 to 30,000 people on any given day, over 420-500 miles of some of the most beautiful country you will ever see. It’s like riding your bicycle through a post card, or a Bob Ross painting.
Iowa is the most glorious land I have ever been to, second only - maybe - to the Rocky Mountains and Hawaii. It’s epic and grand on a scale that’s hard to describe. It’s probably lost on it’s inhabitants, as they wake up to it every day, but for someone from out of state it’s amazingly beautiful.
To wake up every day for a week, hop on your bike, and ride through the early-morning mists that form as the evenings dew begins to evaporate off the rolling fields of corn, to see clouds of fog caught around silos and barns, to roll into the first town of the day and pass by the town square, picturesque and filled with smiling locals… it’s glorious.
I did the ride as in past years with my Dad and our friend Mike, but this year we had a bonus - my Uncle Greg drove a truck for us so we had our very own support vehicle. It got pretty hot the last few days, so I burned some Marriott points and scored us hotel rooms - but that just meant we were fresh and ready for a long day of cycling.
I rode the century loop, where I got in over a 100 miles on a day, and while out on the loop hooked up with an ad-hoc double pace-line being fronted by a few guys from the United States Air Force Cycling Team. We were into a headwind, and at one point we hit 27 miles per hour. Into a head wind of at least 10 miles per hour. The Air Force guys up front hardly looked like they were working. I can only count a few times that I’ve gone that fast on my bike. It was so thrilling!
I loved every minute of RAGBRAI L. I miss Iowa when it’s over. I will go every year until I am no longer physically able to turn the pedals on my bike. I will go until I die.
Until next year!