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Old 06-18-11, 08:26 AM   #1
kerk
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First RAGBRAI and a new bike

So at age 54, a friend and I signed up to ride RAGBRAI. We are both riding it for the first time. It is the one ride that I always wanted to be able to say "I did that once". So I'm really excited about the ride and I have been training and working on my endurance. I feel like I'm on schedule, but I also think that I won't really know until we are on the ride. My wife decided that for an life event like this I needed a new bike and so she bought me a 2011 Raleigh International! Wow! The frame is at the bike shop now. I went by and took a couple of pics to post. Can't wait to get it!
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Old 06-18-11, 09:00 AM   #2
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Looks like a great frame. What build spec are you planning?

Be sure to post a report about your ride on RAGBRAI. That is one I also want to do at least once. Maybe next year.
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Old 06-18-11, 09:32 AM   #3
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I'm having Ultegra and Ritchy Pro put on it. They also have the fork that comes with the frame, is is 853 and all chrome.
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Old 06-18-11, 04:38 PM   #4
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I rode RAGBRAI last year age 54. I remember reading about it in the Des Moines newspaper its first year thinking what a great idea.
Every cyclist should try it once. It was quite an experience.
I don't know that I'll go again, it was one of the physically hardest things I've done, but no regrets other than some SAG so I only rode 410 miles that week. If I do go back, I will:
* use sunscreen before day #4 !!
* have more heat/humidity tolerance (ie, not be so fat)
* be faster and have more conditioning so I'm not out in the heat so long each day
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Old 06-18-11, 05:20 PM   #5
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Most people I know who have done RAGBRAI had more trouble keeping up the eating/drinking/partying pace than with the physical challenges of the ride.
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Old 06-18-11, 06:02 PM   #6
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I'll know not to try to keep up with the party group. If I don't get some sleep, I'm a disaster the next day. I rode 35 miles of hills in 80 degree weather on Wed. I'm hoping that route will be a good training route for us.
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Old 06-18-11, 08:14 PM   #7
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RAGBRAI is a wondeful event; the most fun you can have on a bike for a whole week! I've done it 16 times, the first back in '82.

I used to live in St. Louis so it was easy to get to and get back. Now that I live in CA I've only been back to IA twice.

Great event though, even better on a new bike. RAGBRAI can be all things to all cyclists, an excellent event, very well organized, and real treat to all of your senses (okay, the pig farms don't smell so good, but other than that)!

Rick / OCRR
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Old 06-19-11, 10:06 AM   #8
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I did the RAGBRAI once back in 1993. I've wanted to go back and do it again ever since, but so far no luck.

Decide whether you want this to be primarily a bike ride or primarily a party. To be sure, it will be both, but if you focus on the partying it will be hard to complete the bike ride. If you focus on the bike ride you may have to limit your partying.

I'm pretty sure most of the hardest partiers don't ride the entire route. I heard people discussing how far they planned to ride in a given day. Some were only going to ride an hour or two! A lot of the teams have support buses they can ride in. However, Team Bad Boy seemed to be riding every mile with giant beer coolers, boom boxes, etc. strapped to their bikes. It's a wild scene!

I rode every mile, including the century option on Wednesday. It was a hard week and I was tired every evening, but I loved it and am glad I rode the whole route.

My advice if you want to ride the whole thing:
  • Get up early and get your luggage on the truck.
  • Have plenty of pancakes for breakfast and chops for lunch.
  • Stop at lots of the attractions during each day's ride and do some resting, but avoid getting stuck in some little bar with the beer drinkers. (I didn't drink at all during the day, and at night I usually wasn't interested, although with no support crew I didn't have an ice chest.)
  • Get to the campground early if possible so that you can get a good spot.
  • Get to the showers before the lines form too long (maybe there will be hot water).
  • Have dinner in church basements with the locals (one of the best things we did) but get there before they run out of spaghetti.
  • Go to bed early.
  • Forget about the bands and partiers.
  • Bring some ear plugs. It really wasn't that noisy because the tent campers were mostly tired and sleepy. The people in the buses were usually much noisier so don't camp by them. However, you can often hear the bands playing long into the night, so earplugs can help, though honestly, I was so tired each night that falling asleep was not a problem.
  • Learn when the longest lines form at the kybos and avoid those times.

Have fun. Enjoy!
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Old 06-19-11, 06:26 PM   #9
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Good advice above. More:

Don't over pack. I brought four complete kits as my charter had a laundry day mid-week so I had a clean set every day. Other than riding, I made do for the week's evening festivities with two pairs of gym shorts, four t shirts, and a pair of Tevas.

If you have 1,000 or so training miles in, this isn't a hard ride (well maybe the first two days this year will be a challenge). Start early 6:00-6:30, take your time, don't dehydrate, stay to the right, and enjoy visiting with all the locals. Think of this ride as a series of 15-20 mile rides between all the pass through towns.

A common RAGBRAI-ism: If you are not having a good time, lower your expectations!
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Old 06-19-11, 07:08 PM   #10
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Thanks for the advice! I am going for the ride, not the party. I already have the pass-through towns all printed out with mileage so I know exactly how far I have to go before the next one. I haven't given packing much thought yet, but I will now! Right now I am at 500 miles training. I have a few to go. I did check my tent this weekend so it is good to go. I'm pretty good at staying hydrated but I don't like to eat when riding all day. I tend to get heartburn when riding after eating. It gets pretty annoying.
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Old 06-20-11, 08:39 AM   #11
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I did the first one (1973) on a 1973 Raleigh International. Since there were only ~300 any day, and ~115 that did the whole thing, we stayed in motels so didn't have to worry about packing, etc. I had thought about doing it again, but so far haven't.

Hope you have fun!
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Old 06-20-11, 09:24 AM   #12
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Have fun, don't eat too many pork chops!
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Old 06-20-11, 09:28 AM   #13
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I like riding but too much of a good thing is, well, too much . I can drink at home all I want. I can see more scenery on a motorcycle or in the car. Not trying to be a "kill joy" but just practical.
I have a good friend that rode it last year and told me all about it. Sounds like fun but for a whole week I can find something better to do with my life.
But that is just me at this time in my life. If you have the time and the desire, then have a blast!! It does sound like fun.

-Kill Joy

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Old 06-20-11, 09:38 AM   #14
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All this discussion has me wanting to do RAGBRAI more than ever. I'm really going to work on making it happen next year. On advice of friends who have gone, I'll probably sign on with one of the support services who take care of setting up your tent and gear for you, so I won't have that to deal with when coming into town tired and sometimes late.

Somehow I think I'll be doing a bit more partying than most who have posted here so far.
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Old 06-20-11, 10:35 AM   #15
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Anyone want to PM me with their e-mail, I'll send you the article I wrote for my local bike club of my experience last year.
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Old 06-20-11, 12:25 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kerk View Post
Thanks for the advice! I am going for the ride, not the party.
You may be disappointed, then. RAGBRAI is a social event with a bike ride attached, not a bike ride with a social event attached.
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Old 06-20-11, 01:19 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shifty View Post
Have fun, don't eat too many pork chops!
Hey! I know you!!!

My advice for your first RAGBRAI experience is to slow down. It's so easy to get caught up in the speed of things at times that you miss much of what the small towns have to offer, even if that's just sitting on the front stoop with one of the locals. I make it a rule (after my first RAGBRAI in 1997) to get rid of the maps, stop in EVERY town for local entertainment and look for original food ideas. There are 10,000+ riders going the same direction so you wont' get lost, the local stuff is so much more fun the "professional" bands the overnight towns bring in and there are only so many pork chops you can eat...well except for Mike above!
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Old 06-20-11, 01:45 PM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Travelin' Man View Post
Anyone want to PM me with their e-mail, I'll send you the article I wrote for my local bike club of my experience last year.
pm/email sent
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Old 06-20-11, 05:17 PM   #19
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pm/email sent
Sent. Drop me a note on e-mail with your mobile number and we'll get together on the ride for some pancakes.....no a breakfast burrito.....no a BBQ sandwhich........no a pork chop........no a turkey leg............no a piece of pie........no a beer or three.................maybe we'll just ride a few miles!
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