A few things I learned from participating in RAGBRAI XXXVII:
• Spandex really accentuates people's flaws. I've always known that, but it was just really beat into my head all week with 10,000 bike riders.
• Iowa is not flat. It is the opposite of flat. Rolling hills in fact. We climbed approx. 4000 feet a day.
I really really really loved riding RAGBRAI. It is a yearly event, the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. We went approx. 442 miles. Everyone was really really nice. On Sunday, Cristi and I walked out of church and there was a guy standing there with his bike who said, "There you are, I've been waiting for you. Let's go!" He had gone to the ward before the one we went to and waited to ride with us which was awesome because he took us on a trail that cut 8 miles from our day and knew all about RAGBRAI and where to eat, etc., which we didn't know. Since we got out so late the roads were open to cars so it was great to have someone to help us. What a nice guy. Thanks Ray/Gary (Cristi and I have had a bit of an argument about what his first name was). With 10,000 people on the ride, we didn't see him again.
I met another "good samaritan" when I was filling up my water bottle. He told me they had some chain lube and did I want to use it? Sure I did. Then he said he felt bad because they were making fun of me because my chain was so squeaky. So it was nice of them to share with me. Sadly the only thing I really know about bikes is that I like to ride 'em. I'll take any advice I can get.
Tradition: dip back tire in the Missouri River and front tire in the Mississippi. (Thanks to Cristi, Adam and Jason for the pictures). So many tents. So many riders.Yes, we took a 4 block detour to visit the house Johnny Carson was born in. Cassie and Jason had a good chat with him. RAGBRAI is fun! See! Chickens! There were just bikes everywhere. On our short day of 44 miles, Jason and I stopped and jumped in the swimming hole. I only wished everyone in our group had been with us at that time.We also stopped for some Amish moon pie. So delicious. Although after we took this picture I asked if we could take one more from the front and apparently the Amish don't like their pictures taken. Oops. One town we came to proclaimed it was the home of the Skillet Toss. We pulled up and there were these cages where you threw skillets at the stuffed people with basketballs for heads. If you knocked one off you got $5 off your entry fee for the world championship. I did not knock one off, but I did manage to throw the skillet out of my cage and into the neighboring one (you can see the skillet in the upper left corner!). Luckily I didn't hit anyone. I'm not cut out to be a skillet throwing champion. Wednesday night Jason, Cassie and I went to see Hairball, the amazing 80's tribute band. And they were amazing. I know that show is what made me ride so well the next day when I went 100 miles. The whole town showed up for the RAGBRAI riders. That is what I have missed the most. Riding my bike around Salt Lake, no one cheers for me and tells me how great I am. The cars don't stop for me. Crazy. Here are Cristi, Dani, Adam, and I at the end, the Mississippi River. Before we left we took one last solar shower, but this one was special because it was in the street.I would like to ride a tandem bike next year. They just looked so fun.