Oh my yes. Over and over.
Ragbrai 2012 has just concluded, and once again, it was the best week of the year. I have tried for several years to blog about this event in such a way that I can make others understand why it’s such a fabulous event. It truly is one of those things whose whole is greater than the sum of its parts.
The Des Moines newspaper is the Register. In 1973, a couple of reporter friends decided it might be fun to ride their bicycles across the state over a week’s time. That first year there were about 114 riders who made the whole distance. This year, in addition to the 10,000 registered riders, it is unofficially estimated that there are another 5,000 “bandits”, riders not chosen through the lottery in the 10,000 limit.
The route is always west to east, and it is always a different route, spreading those tourism dollars across the state. And the dollars were flying. Pork chops, pie, t-shirts, pie, temporary tattoos, pie, barbeque, pie, beer, and pie.
Team Fly has been rolling since 1990, although we didn’t call ourselves that then. Our first year the kiddies were in the carts behind the bikes, and sometime after I scan our old pictures, I’ll post some of those. Now our team runs about 18-20 strong, and includes family, friends, and even a few folks we’ve picked up along the way!
The centerpiece of the team has become the Airbus, so named because of its airplane parts and aviation theme. This is an old pic, but it does it more justice because in this one it has a new shiny paint job. Big Jesse adds improvements every year – it has warm showers for up to 20, party deck, bunks, both first class and coach seating, overhead storage compartments, even 2 jump seats with 5-point harness.
This year was a particular toasty ride for the first 4 days. Temperatures in the 100’s became 112 out on the road in the sun. However, in a highlight of the ride, the rain dance of the members of Team Fly brought magnificent thunderstorms and cooler temperatures for the final three days. Unbeknownst to my teammates, I was also dancing for tail winds, and as it turns out, I have supernatural powers because indeed, the following day we had tailwinds for 85 miles!
So after the 20 hour ride up, picking up the Colorado/Kansas group, 7 days and 480 miles of cycling, and the 20-hour ride back home, the bus is unpacked, hosed down, and parked til next year. We’re all getting our nasty, sweaty clothes washed, our blisters, sunburns, and heat rashes are healing.
And we can’t wait til next year.
Find us on Facebook and start pedaling!
Thanks for reading!