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RAGBRAI 2018 The Ride to the Ride

There goes another one of those bikers hogging the road. Who do they think they are? And what’s up with those ridiculous clothes? Neon jersey, skin tight padded shorts, fingerless gloves. You wouldn’t catch me in such a ridiculous outfit. I just don’t get my friend Ron either. Who takes a week of vacation to ride a bike in RAGBRAI? He and I certainly have different ideas about what a vacation should be like.

That was three years ago. Shortly after that I decided I needed to get fit and get a bike, but I certainly was still not going to get one of those bikes with the knife edge seat, skinny tires, and curly handlebars, and there was no way I was going to get a set of those ridiculous clothes.

Memorial Day
Tire dip in the Missouri River

In some ways, I was right. I don’t just have one bike I have two, plus a smart trainer. On any given day you’ll find me on the dirt tracks of Bacon Creek Park or doing a virtual ride in London. I don’t have a set of those ridiculous clothes, I have many sets. I recently showed up late at a family dinner still in my biking clothes where my son promptly proclaimed me a “biking nerd”. Things change when you ride a mile in someone else’s clip-on shoes.

I’m prepared. I’ve put in the miles and I’m ready to go. I’ve watched countless YouTube videos on what and how to pack. Did you know “Butt Butter” is a thing? There are limits to my nerdiness, and I didn’t buy any. I just hope I’m not screaming for some half way to Denison.

Because 428 miles is not enough, a group of Siouxland Cyclists dipped our tires in the Missouri by the boat ramp at 5:00 AM Saturday and set off on a 55-mile circuitous pre-ride to Onawa. There were 23 of us from as far away as Colorado and Pennsylvania.

I learned a 50-mile ride to the start point is called a medio fondo. At our midpoint food and refreshment stop in Salix, we ran into a group who had bicycled 8 days from Kalamazoo, Michigan to reach the start. If 50 miles is a medio fondo what do you call that? An are you crazy fondo?

There was little traffic, and no one was there to sell us pancakes, porkchops, or pies. As we came into Onawa, it was clear that our quiet solitude was over, but our food choices were nearly limitless.

My son lived in Onawa for a few years, and I had the privilege of doing some projects in town. From my perspective it’s an idyllic small town. If Andy Griffith hadn’t settled on Mayberry, Onawa would have been a good choice. On second thought, Onawa may be a bit to cosmopolitan and there are no bumbling Barney Fifes that I’ve met.

Well I’m off to RAGBRAI 101. Megan Wissing, RAGBRAI Coordinator for Siouxland Cyclists is hosting a briefing for us RAGBRAI rookies. Then I’ll try to figure out my new tent, shower, eat a pork chop on a stick, and catch headlining Siouxland band 35th and Taylor.

Consider this an introduction. Tomorrow I’ll focus on the places, people, and pies of RAGBRAI. I hope you’ll join me on the ride.

Todd Moss

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