I forget that not everyone knows the lingo.
Ragbrai is such a part of our family’s vocabulary I can’t remember ever not knowing it. This bike ride across Iowa has been rolling every year since 1973; our family’s first year to do it was 1990.
Ben was 5 and already on his 2 wheeler. Sam was 3 and on training wheels. The girls were 16 months old. We were living in Minnesota at the time, and Iowa was just a hop-skip south. My dad had done Ragbrai and urged us on so off we went.
It was a train wreck to say the least. Jesse was on his bike with Sam and Ben in a little cart behind him, trailering Ben’s baby bike. Every few miles, Jesse would get Ben out of the cart, let him ride a mile or two, put him back in the cart with Sam, and they’d go on again. I had the two girls in the cart behind me, with their toys and sippee cups and pillows.
It was hot and crowded and we couldn’t get enough. The rest, as they say, is history. Our family calls this week the Best Week of the Year. We may not get all the kids together at Christmas, but we can always count on Ragbrai.
This year, as it has been the last few years, Ben and girlfriend Kirsten will drive from Colorado and meet us in the End Town (Davenport this year) on the Eastern edge of the state, where they will get in the bus with us and drive across to the Western edge (Glenwood).
We will pack the bus and leave from Murfreesboro at 6:00 on Wednesday. It’s about 18 hours (by Team Fly bus) to Davenport, then another several hours across. We’ll be in place Saturday evening for our team kickoff meeting and Sunday am start! Tradition has the group of 20,000 riders dipping their wheels in the Missouri River Sunday morning, then after the 500 or so miles across the state, 7 days later dipping them in the Mississippi.
These are all old pictures. I’ll do my best to blog across the state, but internet is just too overwhelmed, even with my aircard.
If ever in your daydreaming you think about doing something crazy and impulsive and out of the ordinary….Ragbrai is your ride. Always the last full week in July, always 7 days, always west to east. You don’t have to ride every mile – that’s what the bus is for.
Thanks for reading!
July 21, 2011 at 8:54 am
You’ve got me motivated to try this some year. Gotta get a bike and get in shape first, though.
July 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm
Put it on your bucket list. There have been years we haven’t ridden til the first day of the ride. You don’t have to do every mile; you can also “sag” on the bus. Although I’m sure a 70-mile day sounds daunting, you are really only going 10 miles or so before getting off and taking a rest, getting something to eat, and even those 10 miles aren’t a race pace. So, yeah, you’re going. 2012.