Wow, I cannot believe that RAGBRAI 2014 is OVER. It seems like the anticipation for the event just kept building for months. I was so nervous that I wouldn’t be able to walk after the first 78 mile day. I was worried I wouldn’t want to ride past day 3. Did I do enough training? Did I get enough calluses? Am I going to have saddle sores??? Yes, yes, and sorta.
Sky and I drove to Omaha to meet my parents where we navigated the Offutt AFB air show to meet at the commissary and to drop my car off at lodging. We then drove the rest of the way to Rock Valley, IA on Saturday, 19 July. We set-up our first camp site and prep’d for the first ride on Sunday.
Here’s a summary of the week:
Day 1 – 78 miles – Rock Valley to Okoboji – Seriously, I was thinking, “Am I going to make it? I don’t think I’ll ever ride my bike again.” But by the time it was done, I thought, “That wasn’t too bad…let’s do it for 6 more days in a row!” haha. In Okoboji we got to stay by a lake. This was awesome because after our long ride we just jumped right-in to cool off! Then a few of us went for a ride on the owner’s boat to the town for the nightly concert.
Day 2 – 31 miles – Okoboji to Emmetsburg – Pulled Sky 15 miles and my dad pulled him the rest of the way. I only rode to the midpoint town this day so that my mom could ride the last 15 or so miles. Not to mention it’s tiring pulling a Burley when it’s windy out!
Day 3 – 76 miles – Emmetsburg to Forest City – This was the long day that some people decided to ride a full century on. I am still new to biking so I just stuck withthe 76 miles 🙂 Oh, and we had time for pie. Really good homemade pie.
Day 4 – 36 miles – Forest City to Mason City – Short day to recover from the long day. My dad and I stopped for breakfast at Guys and Gals with a view of the lake! Sky rode the second half of this day, although it was only 15 miles or so! My dad pulled him again. He’s pretty much a beast.
Day 5 – SAG – Mason City to Waverly – I drove the team’s SAG vehicle this day and my mom rode with my dad! Go Aggies!
Day 6 – Rain – Waverly to Independence – It rained like crazy on Friday. I decided I didn’t want to be blown around by the wind and rain just to get more saddle sores and blisters. I helped my mom tear down camp and then rode with her and Sky to the next host family. My dad was awesome though and braved the wind and rain for a full 70 mile day!
Day 7 – 72 miles – Independence to Guttenberg – The last day! My dad and I got up early and took off at 645 so we could be in Guttenberg by 1230 for a Team Navy picture. We made the best time this day even with the most elevation change – 3,000ft! And of course, we had to stop for Beekman’s ice cream on the last day. I had to show a little Air Force pride even though I was wearing a Navy jersey 🙂 At the end of the ride, you get to dip your tire in the Mississippi river…so fun!
Overall, I would definitely do RAGBRAI again. It was a bummer we had to set-up and tear-down camp everyday (maybe next time we can get a trailer lol) but it made for cheaper living, that’s for sure! The Iowans were all super nice and very welcoming to their towns. And all of our host families were AWESOME. Especially the one that let us sleep inside so Sky could sleep in a crib in the last town! The Navy team welcomed me even though I am a “Zommie.” And I had so much fun making memories with my parents. Sky did great camping every night and had great fun hanging out with Nana and Papa. Looking forward to future RAGBRAIs to come!