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Ragbrai 2014

Monday, September 15, 2014

Ragbrai is the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. It's an event that my Dad has wanted to do for many years that we finally got to do this summer July 20-26. This is a 7 day bike ride across Iowa. Riders go from one overnight town to the next, stopping in every little town along the way. At each overnight town, you camp for the night. In the morning you pack up and head to the next town. Every year, towns all across Iowa bid to be a town that the ride goes through or an overnight town where the riders stay. It brings in alot of money to the local economies of the mostly small towns that the ride goes through. There are about 10,000 riders that do this every year. To read more, check out the website at http://ragbrai.com/.

We spent several months training for the event. I tried to get in 3-4 bike rides per week with long ones on the weekends. The hardest part is getting your body- especially your butt- used to sitting in the saddle for that long.

This year, the route was through Northern Iowa. The official distance was 417 miles, however I clocked it at 444 miles. My dad and I went with a charter group of about 150 people all from out of state. The charter found us a campsite every night and took our luggage there. Every morning we just needed to pack up our tent and take it to the truck. We quickly got into a routine. We left at between 6-6:30 every morning. We ate breakfast in the first or second town. We stopped in every town along the way at least to drink water. We got to our campsite around 3 every afternoon. We then showered, had a beer and headed into town and looked for the best church dinners (this usually were the ones that included all you can eat pasta for my dad and homemade pie for me). We went back to the campsite to have a beer and relax before heading to bed every night by around 10.
So here is the route along with some pictures:

Day 1 Rock Valley to Okoboji. 67.9 miles. My first corn and homemade pie of the trip. Won't be the last.

Day 2 Okojobi to Emmetsburg. 42 miles. My Dad needed to replace a wheel. We discovered the joy and abundance of watermelon.

Day 3 Emmetsburg to Forest City. 82 miles. Very hot day and the longest I have ever ridden! I was very proud of myself after 2 full days of riding before and also surprised that I wasn't more sore.

Day 4 Forest City to Mason City. 42.3 miles. Great day with no wind and a beautiful ride by Clear Lake. This was also my birthday- nice to have a light day of riding and I even got a little nap in!

Day 5 Mason City to Waverly. 68.3 miles. Beautiful day with light winds and rolling hills. Stops included decorated porta potties and giant tractors. The towns went all out for the riders and it was neat to see what each town was about.

Day 6. Waverly to Independence. 70.3 miles. Brutal day with stinging rain the first 50 miles and strong head winds most of the way. This was the toughest ride- both physically and mentally- I have ever done. But with 10 miles to go the sun came out and we stopped for freshly made peach ice cream.

Day 7. Independence to Guttenberg. 70.6 miles and we are done! Tradition is to dip the tires in the Mississippi at the end. What a great feeling!

I am so blessed to be able to do this with my Dad. Hopefully we can make the trip again!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • no profile photo CD13804916
    Wow! Now I want to do this too!

    Kelly, you really are fortunate to have done this with you dad. I hope you do get to do it again together.

    Thank you for inspiring me to take up biking. This has really encouraged me since I messed up my knee last year and can't run anymore. The doctor said biking would be a great exercise for me.

    I'm sitting here really excited about this now that I have a goal to reach for and accomplish in the future.

    Thanks again for the inspiration!

    Josie emoticon
    2191 days ago
  • MJK0430
    What an absolute great riding experience made even better that you did it with your Dad! Those pies and ice cream looked delicious!
    2193 days ago
    This is awesome and to do it with your dad is Super Awesome.
    2193 days ago
    You are so lucky to be able to do this with your Dad.

    It brings back fond memories of doing things with my Dad but nothing as cool as what you did.

    Give him a hug from me.
    2194 days ago
    emoticon emoticon Kelly.....this blog was just Wonderful!!! Your prictures....lovely!!! You and dad look FANTASTIC!!! That pie looks delish and so does the peach ice cream!!! What a GREAT trip you both made together!!! emoticon
    2194 days ago
  • no profile photo CD13114729
    Thx so much for sharing your experience with us. It looks and sounds like it was an amazing time, especially since you got to share it with your Dad.
    2194 days ago
    Yes! What a blessing! I know my dad would love to do something like that with me, but niether of us can now! But, I thank you for reporting to the stingrays when you could so I could ride along vicariously with you! And, what a nice way to visit towns and meet people! Thanks again for sharing and treasure those fabulous memories!
    2194 days ago
    That is such an awesome thing that you were able to do that with you dad. Both you and your dad will always remember that. Thanks for sharing the pictures and the story!
    2195 days ago
    What wonderful memories you made.

    Thank you for sharing!
    2195 days ago
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