Our route today was 55.5 miles with 1028 feet of climb. There was an optional "Gravel Loop" that added another 15. Most of the people including me are on road bikes, the ones with the skinny tires. They are not equipped for gravel. Looks like I need to add another bike to the stable honey.
The ride took us through Duncombe, Webster City, Blairsburg, Williams, and Alden. Each town was fun and unique. Webster City seemed to have a great energy and the river in Alden was particularly beautiful.
I spent a little time in downtown Iowa Falls before heading to our camping area. We are pretty remote, so I don't think I'll get to do a scenic riverboat ride or see more of Iowa Falls which is known as "The Scenic City." I'll let the pictures tell the "rest of the story."
People of all colors, shapes, sizes, ages, abilities, and disabilities are out here. If you are a little tempted to join us next year, here is a little more RAGBRAI 101:
1. When you come, don't tell anyone it's your first RAGBRAI. If you do, they will write the word "VIRGIN" down your calf with a Sharpie. I'm not sure it's to label you as a bike hazard or to let people know they should take you under their wing. Most would say the former.
2. Before Porta-Pot became synonymous for portable toilets the company that supplied them the first few RAGBRAIs in the early 70s was Kybos. The name stuck and a veteran RAGBRAI rider will always look for the Kybo (spelling may be incorrect) and not a Porta-Pot.
3. The American flag is displayed frequently, in quantity, and often super-sized on RAGBRAI.
4. People usually greet you or cheer for you when you come through town. Want to feel like you just scored the winning touchdown? Sometimes they hand you free stuff, today's freeze pop was particularly refreshing.
5. People, particularly kids but more often senior living residents like to squirt you with squirt guns.
6. The Air Force sends a team of riders every year to help people in need of assistance or a tire change.
7. Law enforcement is thanked, encouraged, and viewed as heroes.
8. Not only businesses, but charities hit the jackpot. Churches, service clubs and many other organizations have dinners or sell water, sports drinks, or pies. At 9 AM this morning I heard an announcement in one of the small towns they made 500 pieces of pie and they were almost gone.
9. I still haven't seen an Amish Pie stand this year. If you see one, always stop. So much pie, so little time.
10. You pay people to SAG for you. They haul your gear, set up showers, chairs, awnings and charging stations. They buy water, beverages and snacks you can buy after the ride. When you finish, they haul you and your bike to your western starting point.
I've already told you about roadkill and a number of other things you'll need to know next year.
I'm not sure how many words or pics I'll have tomorrow. 68 miles, a bit more climb but near 100-degree temps.
I look at some of the riders and say "if they can do this, then I can do this. The same goes for you. If I can do this, then you can do this. See you out here next year.