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  1. #1
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    Two days at RAGBRAI

    Well, I survived two days at RAGBRAI, and had a blast!

    Believe me, I am thankful for every one of the 1007 miles I rode before this trip! The first days ride was 77 miles, and I have done this before, so the distance wasn't the issue, but I wanted to do well....and I am very satisfied with how it went! It was a very hilly route, and we gained over 2000 vertical feet for the day, and it was all done with a headwind! Then, just for some added fun, it rained!! The second day also started in the rain, but it cleared off, and the hills were not as plentiful as the day before, and the wind was not as bad, so it went really well!

    For me personally, it was great! Me and my 11 year old Roubaix (yes, I finally found out how old it is!) passed Bianchis, Cannondales, Lemonds, Treks, Schwinns, and many other brands of bikes that I've never even heard of before! (Of course, I was also passed by all these brands!) There were road bikes, hybrids, mountain bikes, single speeds, recumbants, tandems, recumbant tandems, hand trikes, pedal trikes, and other contraptions that I could not even begin to describe! There were kids, grandparents, riders in costume, riders in team jerseys (Team Plywood, "Fun to lay, Easy to Nail!") riders with almost no jersey, and some serious road warriors. Some of these folks walked up the hills, some just grinded up them, and some just flew over them! (I thankfully fell somewhere in between the second two categories!) If a person does a little training, and has a bike, they can do this ride! Novices and the road warriors all seemed to peacfully co-exist.

    The official hours for riding are 6 AM to 6 PM. However, you can start when you want to. (No mass starts, no big crashes!) We were on the road by about 8:30. When you would crest a hill, you could see bikes in front and behind you as far as the eye could see! Quite a sight! The Iowa State Patrol and all of the other law enforcement agencies did a great job! In two days of riding, we only had to stop for one stop sign! At EVERY other intersection, there was an officer directing the bikes through! I personally said thanks to each and every one of them...these folks were also standing out in the rain getting just as wet as we were! And, talk about organization, they even laid carpeting over railroad grade crossings!!

    The hospitality of the folks in Iowa was really fantastic! At the top of every hill was a stand selling water, gatoraid, fruit and so on for the benefit of the local fire department, boy scout troop or volley ball team. But, many familys set up free watering stations. It was not unusual to ride through a town and find that a citizen had wired a lawn sprinkler up to a phone pole so if you were hot, you could ride through the water. I am not kidding about this, one family actually had free beer, water, roast pork sandwiches, sweet corn and so on! I stopped to visit the Pork Chop Man (you'll just have to see it to believe it!) and on the second day, the putt-putt. What, you may ask is the putt-putt? A stand that makes home made ice cream, and the ice cream machine is cranked by an old wheezing B&S engine, just putting away! While I was sitting in the shade of a farmers machine shed, I saw another guy walk up and lay down his brand new Fuji road bike! I said "Fuji's rock!" and he asked if I was riding one. I said "Yes, an 11 year old Roubaix!" and a guy sitting just down from me said "Cool! I'm riding a 21 year old Fuji that I bought for my first RAGBRAI!!"

    Have you ever been in a parade? In some ways, riding in RAGBRAI is like being in a 70 mile long parade! When you would ride through a town, the streets would be lined with people waving and cheering you on! When you were out in the country, you would ride past a farm house, and the whole family would be out there in lawn chairs waving and having a great time! There was one guy sitting next to the road, and there wasn't a car or house in sight, but he was there in his chair rooting us on! It was really awesome!

    If I had not had to get home for other obligations, believe me, I would still be out there! And, I am already planning on going back next year for the 30th RAGBRAI!!
    Last edited by nebill; 07-25-01 at 07:59 AM.
    Keep Spinning!!
    "It is right that a bike is both Appreciated, and Ridden" David Blessing
    "Help others get better...it's not about you, it's about the Team" Carlos Sanchez
    "I thought of that while riding my bike" Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity
    Bill, rider of classic Paramounts!

  2. #2
    BikeForums Founder Joe Gardner's Avatar
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    Bill, thank you very much for that post! That sounds like an amazing ride! Did you take any pictures?

  3. #3
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    Oh, yes! I managed to shoot 2 rolls of film, and I stopped on the way home at a one hour lab and have them processed already! I am going to scan them today so I hope that they will be available later today or tomorrow.

    I will post more later!
    Keep Spinning!!
    "It is right that a bike is both Appreciated, and Ridden" David Blessing
    "Help others get better...it's not about you, it's about the Team" Carlos Sanchez
    "I thought of that while riding my bike" Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity
    Bill, rider of classic Paramounts!

  4. #4
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Nebill,

    Glad to hear you had a great time. Tomorrow I will be riding the last half of the day...25 miles into Coralville (I live 5 miles away). Then on Saturday I will be riding the 50 miles to Muscatine. The weather has cooled off a bit, so it should be a lot of fun. I will let everyone know how it was.

  5. #5
    Senior Member s_boy's Avatar
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    nebill, very cool event indeed. I need to start looking for cycling events for this fall.... you have inspired me!

    you know you should start submitting your stuff to some (or all) of the cycling periodicals. I thoroughly enjoy reading your post and so do all of folks on this site. when I sign on and go to "view new post" I zero in to my areas of interest and anything with your name on it.

    definitely looking forward to the pictures!
    if you don't belive in something... you'll fall for anything
    ~b.dylan~

  6. #6
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    Gosh, s_boy, thanks for the kind words! Believe me, I enjoy living the experiences and then getting a chance to share them with all my friends here on Bike Forums!

    I have heard that some touring events are just made up of snobbish 'A' riders, but not so with RAGBRAI. It was really a blast, even an old duffer like me had a real good time! Even though I couldn't fly up the hills at 18 mph, or ride for miles at 30 mph, I got along just fine!

    If there are any bike clubs in your area, you might check with them for any upcoming events. Having someone to share in the fun makes it that much more special! Many times during my ride I would come up to a lone rider who might be struggling up a hill or just plodding along, so I would slow down and talk with them, or maybe give some words of encouragement before moving on. I don't know if it meant anything to them, but I sure enjoyed it!

    After being gone for several days from work, I am still playing catch-up! The USB ports on the new computer don't seem to be working correctly, so the scanner won't function, but I'll get that fixed this next week so I can get some pics up soon!
    Keep Spinning!!
    "It is right that a bike is both Appreciated, and Ridden" David Blessing
    "Help others get better...it's not about you, it's about the Team" Carlos Sanchez
    "I thought of that while riding my bike" Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity
    Bill, rider of classic Paramounts!

  7. #7
    Carfree since '82. Grrr! JonR's Avatar
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    Originally posted by nebill
    The USB ports on the new computer don't seem to be working correctly, so the scanner won't function...
    When USB first was introduced, you'd have thought it was the answer to every prayer, and nothing would be incompatible anymore, etc., etc.

    Now I read all sorts of laments about "USB won't work" and I myself tried (1) a USB Microsoft mouse (optical) that was not only erratic but kept making my computer crash: returned it for a full refund; (2) USB synch connection for my Palm device that would not even be recognized, no matter what I tried--returned it for full refund also, even though they were supposed to keep out a 15% "restocking" fee. I didn't quarrel!

    I'd be very hesitant to try anything USB after those two experiences.

    Hope you're able to scan the photos soon--we're waiting!
    On leave of absence as of March 13, 2002. Contact by email.

  8. #8
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Well,

    I have succesfully completed the two longest rides of my career. I rode for a total of 80 miles in two days. Usually I am lucky to get in 10 miles a day commuting to work. I don't think I had even been on a ride longer than 15-20 miles, and I was surprised how easy it was to go 50 miles (on a MTB).

    I had a great time both days. The first day I rode with my brother and a friend. We kept the pace fairly slow and enjoyed the scenery. Then on Saturday I rode with a more ambitious friend, and we pretty much went all out for the 50 miles. We averaged 17 miles an hour and it took 3 hrs to get there. If I were doing the whole 7 day ride, I would have to take it a little easier, but since it was to last day and I had fresh legs, I figured I had might as well have some fun.

    Next year I am going to try my hardest to schedule in the whole RAGBRAI. Ideally I would like to haul my own stuff. I only saw a few people out of the 20,000 that carried their own belongings...Most people use support staff.

  9. #9
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    Hi Steele!! Congratulations! It is a blast, isn't it?!? Have you ever seen so many bikes in one place before??

    Well, you are a better man than me if you are going to haul all your stuff with you! Especially that first day, with all the hills and the headwind, I was glad to have all my belongings in a support vehicle. Of course, a lot of people hauled a lot of stuff with them. Now I am not kidding about this, because I saw this with my own eyes, but a bike team out of Colorado rode mountain bikes, and they hauled everything with them. One bike had a barbequer on it...made out of an oil drum! Another had a wet bar, complete with blender! RAGBRAI is supposed to be a pleasure ride, and it was my pleasure to have someone else haul my gear!!

    I know what you mean, I am going to try and do the whole thing next year. I hope we get to meet each other then!!
    Keep Spinning!!
    "It is right that a bike is both Appreciated, and Ridden" David Blessing
    "Help others get better...it's not about you, it's about the Team" Carlos Sanchez
    "I thought of that while riding my bike" Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity
    Bill, rider of classic Paramounts!

  10. #10
    Senior Member s_boy's Avatar
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    it would be fun if a lot of us could meet out there or some other event and make that ride together... hmmm?

    I will give it some serious consideration, heck I think this bunch'd make an awsome team!
    if you don't belive in something... you'll fall for anything
    ~b.dylan~

  11. #11
    RAGBRAI. Need I say more? Steele-Bike's Avatar
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    Originally posted by s_boy
    it would be fun if a lot of us could meet out there or some other event and make that ride together... hmmm?

    I will give it some serious consideration, heck I think this bunch'd make an awsome team!
    I'd be all for that. I have lived in Iowa for 11 years and have always wanted to ride on RAGBRAI, but never did...until this year. I never imagined that it would be that much fun. Riding with 20,000 other bikers is an unbelievable feeling. As Nebill said, bikes as far as one can see. And the over night villages that appear at each stop...nothing even compares.

  12. #12
    Senior Member nebill's Avatar
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    It would be sooooooo cooooolllll if a bunch of us could meet at next years 30th RAGBRAI! RAGBRAI is not just a bike ride, it is an event! Great entertainment in the evenings at the overnight towns, and lots of stuff to see and do in the pass-through towns, too! Heck, at one point, two of the riders from our Cycle Sports team pulled into the parking lot of this industrial building and were admiring an old restored trolley car, and the next thing they knew, they were getting a guided tour through this place that restores these trolleys and sends them all over the world!

    If you have been on the ride before, it shouldn't take too much to convince you to do it next year and actually meet some of your BF friends...for you who have never been there before, you will not be sorry you came! An event you shouldn't miss!

    And just think, if we could get a bunch of us to attend, we would have the biggest team there!! I know that I plan on attending, sure hope some of you can make it too!!
    Keep Spinning!!
    "It is right that a bike is both Appreciated, and Ridden" David Blessing
    "Help others get better...it's not about you, it's about the Team" Carlos Sanchez
    "I thought of that while riding my bike" Albert Einstein, on the Theory of Relativity
    Bill, rider of classic Paramounts!

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