Start time:  5:00 a.m.

End time:  10:28 a.m.

Low Temp:  69’ – High Temp:  88’

Total miles:  68.7, ride time: 4 hrs 25 min, AVG: 14.5 mph, Max speed:  42.4

Total RAGBRAI miles for 2011:  512




Day 7 of RAGBRAI 2011 began with the alarm waking us at 4:15.  Our hosts were gracious enough to let us use the apartment attached to their home as our own yesterday, and we woke us this morning rested and ready to finish our week long bicycling boot camp vacation!  The bag truck guys were on their game today accepting bags right at 5. Thought I would make a note that Eli actually had a big cheesy smile even before the sun peaked up on the horizon!


We noticed that lots more riders started early with us this a.m., like day one of this year’s RAGBRAI.  The skies were clear this morning, with all of the stormy weather staying way south of our route, and I guess everyone wanted to finish before the extreme heat index set in.


The ride out of Coralville did have some climb, but we were getting used to the climb by this point!  We were still in the Iowa City suburbs at sunrise, so it wasn’t a typical sunrise view for us today – no farm field of corn or beans as a silhouette.


We stopped in West Branch, IA, after 14 miles of riding to grab a quick breakfast burrito.  No Farm Boys today…  They go to the farmer’s market in Des Moines on Saturday’s and don’t do day seven of the ride, along with many other food vendors as we discovered.  Guess all the usual vendors made enough money in six days, now it’s time for vacation!

Photo Left: A snowmobile crossing sign...

Photo Center: A shadow of frog and toad together

Photo Right: One of the many police that kept the cars out of our intersections. 



We met up with Eli in the meeting town of Wilton to discuss our front tire dipping and exit strategy.  After eating again, slathering on sun screen, and resting for a while we took off for the final stretch.


Eli rested a bit longer after we rode out of Wilton, so we kept expecting her to race by waving in a road train of drafting cyclists.  Not the case.  We caught a couple of pretty good draft lines, and were able to pick up our average a bit to counteract some of the hills from earlier in the morning.  When we were about 8 miles away from the end point in Davenport, we experienced a 10% down hill run with a sharp turn at the bottom (of course!).  I had the video running for this 42 mph adrenaline hill!  We noticed that the route took us from the direct, flatter approach into Davenport into a winding, narrow road adventure…  It wasn’t long after this thrill that I felt a tap on my shoulder and heard Eli say, “Tag, you’re it!”


Photo Left: Brian, Pam & Eli dipping their front tires in the Mississippi

Photo Center: Our first view of the Misssissippi

Photo Right: We join a road train (line) to make up time


The remainder of the ride was most uneventful with little climb/decent, and not too many riders approaching the dipping point at this time.  Brian, Eli, and I were able to stand with our front tires in the water and pose while a RAGBRAI volunteer took our photos.  Wonderful finish!


Once all of the end hoopla was taken care of, we rode our bikes a few short blocks to retrieve our cars from the wonderful hosts in Davenport who offered their parking area to us for the week.  We met Kathy out near the van and thanked her for letting us use the space.  Eli looked up with a sheepish grin, and asked for a ride with us to the baggage truck as her keys were in her bag.  I don’t blame her for not wanting to ride her bike 19 blocks (up and down more hills) just to retrieve car keys.  SO, we picked up our bags and dropped Eli off at her rental car.  What a happy ending to a great journey!  Thanks to every one of our hosts who let us park at their place or sleep in their homes during the ride.

Until next time,