RAGBRAI

For those of you that don’t know, RAGBRAI is an annual 7 day bike ride across the state of Iowa. It’s not a race, but more of an adventure/challenge. 10,000 riders are pulled from a lottery to participate each year, dipping their tire in the Missouri River on the west side of Iowa to start and finally in the Mississippi River on the east side of Iowa at the end. They estimate as many as 20,000 additional riders are on the road any given day. RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.

Becky (my wife) has been doing RAGBRAI for nearly two decades. (Our Sister-in-Law Toni has been doing it with her for at least 10 years.) Becky & Toni train (less and less every year) throughout the Spring. The ride is always the last week of July. Generally that means it’s hot in Iowa, but since they camp every night, sometimes that’s cold. Generally the shortest days are 40-50 miles while there are longer days of 70-90 miles. For those that want an additional challenge, they usually have at least one day where they add a loop that makes it a Century Day, i.e. over 100 miles. This year the mileage total for the week was around 460 miles.

Becky and Toni leave for Iowa on the Friday before the ride. They camp the first night in the ending town and then board a bus Saturday morning to ride across the state to the starting town. They camp Saturday night and the ride starts on Sunday. A charter truck moves their tent, luggage, etc. to each day’s ending town where they pick it up, set up tents and camp for the night. This year the last day was long and they didn’t get in until after 6. There are all kinds of ending festivities, but at that point they just want to get home and usually just hit the road.

If this interests you at all, there are posts at Becky’s website, Berger Audiology, where she has recounted some of the trip highlights along with pictures from along the way. Look for the blog titled Bergerology Blog on the ribbon under the logo.

I included her first post from the first day below:

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Toni and I, packed up and ready to hit the road

My sister-in-law Toni and I headed out for RAGBRAI today around 12:30 pm today. We had a few setbacks that lengthened the trip, but overall it was uneventful. We have gotten stuck in traffic in Chicago almost every year, so we decided to go cross country this time, since the start was farther south in Iowa. As it turned out, that put us on a lot of county roads, so we really didn’t make any better time. I drove and the Jeep isn’t the smoothest ride!

We had to get my bike carrier modified (Thanks Burt’s Body Shop), because both of our new bikes have frames that are too small for the carrier as it was made. There aren’t many options for Jeep bike carriers, so it was good that we could “fix” it. That seemed to work well for us. We both like the newer bikes (Mine from last year and Toni’s from a year or so ago), though I’ve been struggling to find a saddle that works for me. I’ve also been having some issues with my left wrist and Toni is still having some shoulder issues, so this trip could be more challenging.

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