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At each of the towns on RAGBRAI, people of all ages line the streets to cheer us on. They clap, wave, shout encouragement, high five us, hand us water melon, water or other treats. It feels great to have a cheering section, my vote for the best so far was Wednesday’s reception in Newton.

Rookie mistake; Wednesday was my fourth day on RAGBRAI and I had my first piece of pie that night in Newton. With three days left, there is so much pie and so very little time.

Memorial Day
Tire dip in the Missouri River

Later Wednesday night, a storm with high winds blew through our campground, and we had to get out of our tents and into a shelter. Another short night of sleep.

The word around camp was that Thursday’s ride had some tough hills. The ride was 68.6 miles with an optional Karras Loop, named in honor of RAGBRAI co-founder John Karras. Some riders like to chalk up century rides, rides of 100 miles or more. As a novice I’ve only done one, and once again I used my publishing deadline as an excuse to pass on the 105.3-mile optional route.

This morning we packed up our wet tents and set out for Sigourney. As predicted, just after Reasoner we ran into the Iowa Alps with their corn topped peaks. A few riders did not have the pedal power for the ascent and walked up. Others rested at the top.

In Sully I was determined to have poffertjes, tiny Dutch pancakes for breakfast. I grew up a Sioux County Dutchmen, and I’ve waited 57 years to try these? What was I thinking about?

We passed through Lynnville and just before we arrived in Montezuma we were treated to beautiful views of Lake Ponderosa and Diamond Lake.

Montezuma is the City of Monuments and will celebrate their 150th year on August 24-25. The beautiful Poweshiek County Courthouse is located in the center of the town square. There I stopped to snap pictures of the courthouse, several of the monuments, and the Freedom Rock.

The sign in Deep River said there were minnow races. I was curious, but they were not easily found so I rolled on.

The views the rest of the route we’re the rolling, albeit higher, green hills reminiscent of earlier in the week. Whoever propagated the myth that Iowa was “flat and boring,” never saw it on a bike and never got off the interstate. Their muscles and their eyes would certainly tell them different if they had.

En route to Keswick I stopped for some Amish pie and homemade ice cream. I saw my first RAGBRAI rollerblader and snapped a photo of a team from Seattle with Orcas and Salmon helmet toppers.

Our ride finished in Sigourney. Another beautiful town square, another beautiful courthouse. It was definitely the hardest ride so far. Our legs might be feeling it tomorrow.

Sigourney’s is “Where Pigs Fly.” I’m setting out to find out the history behind that theme. After eating pork barbecue, I’m going to listen to the headlining band, Standing Hampton and the Pork Tornados.

Todd Moss

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