RAGBRAI is a bike ride across the great state of Iowa (my home state) where 20,000+ riders bike from all over the world ride together on the world’s biggest bike tour.


Twenty years ago my dad and my friend Leanne’s dad rode RAGBRAI together finishing the entire route.  This year my friend Leanne and I held court over RAGBRAI for 2 of the 7 days.  It doesn’t sound like much but my one spin class in preparation was going to be my downfall.  Leanne had at least been riding.


The team arrived in Waverly, Iowa on Thursday night to get ready for our 69 mile ride the next day.  Tents were set up.  Ours is the green one.


We had one last carb loading dinner with a few beers.


Around 1am a severe thunderstorm hit Waverly, IA and proceeded to pull the tent stakes out of the ground and almost blow our tent away.  It didn’t blow away because I was holding it down from the inside but it was close.

The poor tent:


With not a lot of sleep to go on, we prepared for the ride bright and early at 6am.  But the rain , wind, thunder, and lightning never let up.


We waited, and waited, and waited for the sideways rain to stop.


Finally around 10am the skies started clearing and we were off.  Unfortunately this put us 4 hours behind on a very long ride.


The first small town water break in Bremer. Water/Gatorade/snack breaks are generally every 7-16 miles. At this point with the wind and rain I was wondering what I had gotten myself into.


Tripoli, second town with a bathroom, apple and banana break. Feeling good at this point, I’ve finally figured out how to use my bike gears properly 🙂


There was some excellent scenery of cornfields and beautiful blue sky. Some may find Iowa boring, I find it beautiful.


But the leftover wind from the storm was a beast and we were heading right into it.

Sumner, IA:


Lunch was a welcome break in Sumner with a pork tenderloin as big as my head. I almost finished it along with a large Diet Coke and a big water.


After lunch the wind just got worse.  Around Mile 44 I was dragging and looking for a water/Gatorade stop, when out of nowhere appeared the Iowa Craft Beer Tent on the side of the road. I pulled in as fast as I could and hobbled over to the kegs.  One delicious IPA later, I was almost feeling human again.  Beer has a lot of carbs and calories which is exactly what I needed.  And it was cold.  Bonus!


Leanne and her cousin Laurie pulled in as I was doing some yoga stretches along with my beer.  A random woman came over and gave us some condoms “Have a safe ride and safe sex”.  Okay lady- it was pretty funny.


We arrived in Oelwein, IA around 5:30pm just as the State Troopers were announcing Oelwein vendors had to close due to another storm.  Unfortunately we needed a 15 minute break (as we were at Mile 50 and had hit a wall).  10 of the 13 of our group called it a day and played some giant beer pong.


I opted for some delicious Iowa sweet corn.  You really can’t find better sweet corn anywhere. FACT!


Overall Day 1 was a RAGBRAI biking success, despite not being able to finish due to time constraints.


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