RAGBRAI Report Day 0

Day Mileage – 12.1

MPH – 15.8

Feet of climb – 110 (it was NICE and flat for our warm up ride – with a tail wind!)

Ride time – 46 minutes

Temperature – 93’F

Well today we are calling day zero as the official RAGBRAI start date is actually tomorrow but since they do not start on the actual Missouri river, today we rode our bike the 12 miles from the Missouri river to the official start point in Missouri Valley. This was a two fold decision, one for the fact we want to dip our back tire in the Missouri River and next Saturday Dip the front tire in the Mississippi, and secondly to test my ankle. On Thursday when I was jumping into the Mohegan Sun Casino for their grand opening in Wilkes-Barre Pennsylvania I landed rather hard and sprain my right ankle. I am walking with a limp but today the 12 mile warm up ride went well and it looks like riding a bike should be no issue with the ankle.

Today we also got to test out our driver, Alan Figuroa from Moctezuma Mexico, with our van and GPS (otherwise known as “Marge”) to see if we can pick a meeting place we have never been to, in a town we have never been to, and meet to get a ride to our hotel. Our hotel is 27 miles from the official start point, in Council Bluffs, since it was so cheap. On the way into the Wilson Island State Park we picked up our first stranded biker who blew out one of his tires. Lee was from Apple Valley Wisconsin and this was his second RAGBRAI as well.

To top off the days experience we found a HuHot Mongolian Grill and had a feast to fire up the old metabolism! Until tomorrow!

Brian, Pam, and Alan

RAGBRAI Report Day 1

55.6 miles 4 hours 13 minutes of riding time 13.2 Average Speed Total RAGBRAI mileage 67.9 3,797 feet of climb Wind 5 – 7 mph out of NE (head wind after 8am – of course) Temp start 73 end 78’F with perfect clear skies (at the start) Today the alarm woke us at 4am. The plan was to leave at 5am from Missouri Valley but by the time we took off it was 5:27 am – 42 minutes before sunrise. The plan was to beat the heat – and we did. 6:30 am we stopped at a mobile bike shop to have them adjust my rear shifter. It was not shifting into the gears smooth and making a noise that everyone was staring at us. 7:50 am we stopped in Neola (28.8 miles) and met up with Alan for a brunch break. Most of the big hills were up to this point. After this stop we got to know a group from Colorado real well as we only climb the hills at 6 mph and they climb them at 8 mph – then they go down the hills at 25 mph and we go down at 30 – 35 mph. We ended up passing them (and vice versa) a dozen or so times and it got to be a pretty big joke. The clouds also started to roll in around 9am and it was a welcome shading for us. 10:33 am we arrived in Harlan – the end of the route for the day. We were able to check into our hotel early and took a well deserved shower. Not a major eventful day but we are preparing for tomorrow with over 5,200 feet of climb and 82 miles. Time will tell….. until then!

Brian, Pam, and Alan

RAGBRAI Day 2 Report 85.2 miles 7 hours 2 minutes 12.2 average speed Temperature 70 @ Start – 82 @ finish Wind from East at 10- 12 mph (yes that means HEADWIND) 5,237 feet of climb ( we actually did another 100+ with our wrong turn) Total RAGBRAI Mileage 156.2 miles 3:30 am – we awoke to the alarm clock to get a good start on the longest day. I checked the weather and saw that there were flood warnings and severe storm warnings out for Jefferson but since we knew we would not be there for 6 or 7 hours we get ready to roll. 4:15 am – Alan locks us out of the room. It takes 15 minutes to wake up the manager…. 4:55 am – we start in total darkness and cloud cover. This was strange since we usually always had people to follow – but today we are it. There is lightning to the North and East of us but no rain for us. Off into the darkness….. 7:01 am – we bike through Elk Horn – very cool Viking/Dutch town with windmills, Viking ships, etc… in fact we are so distracted that we took the wrong road out of town (remember – we are the first people to blaze the trail…). We end up realizing it only 1.2 miles from town – turn around and by the time we get back to Elk Horn there are people to follow – that have maps of the route – yeah! The hills are taking their toll on us – we are only averaging 11.3 mph today…. boooo

8:00 am – We stop in at Casey’s in Exira for snacks – while we eat the clouds all move out – we will have the full sun for the rest of the long day. Did I mention the hills…..

9:15 – We arrive at Heartland Tower – still 11.3 mph average.

10:40 – We arrive at Coon Rapids for another snack. We are starting to see the wind damage from the storm this morning. Corn fields look like a rock concert trampled them. Just past Coon Rapids we see where an apparent tornado destroyed a farm, there are multiple trees snapped in two, parts of a grain storage bin they moved off the highway, and other farm equipment in the ditches. Even the grass in the ditches is laying down flat.

1:20 pm – We finally arrive in Jefferson – hot tired and legs burning from our mile of climb. I was thinking if we had biked up the grand canyon which is a mile deep, then tried to bike 82 miles after that we probably could not have made it….. Luckily the last hour was relatively flat and our average mph went up accordingly. I’m going to bed for a nap… until tomorrow!

Brian & Pam

RAGBRAI Day 3 Report 53.3 miles 3 hours 40 minutes 14.1 average speed Temperature 64 @ Start – 72 @ finish Wind from Northeast at 4 - 7 mph 1,350 feet of climb 4:00 am -  We were awakened from our Days Inn alarm clock – checking the weather and then the usual morning get ready stuff. 5:41 am – We start off from Jefferson. The humidity is low this morning and as the sun crests the horizon it is blinding but beautiful! 7:47 am – We make it to Ogden and stop for a snack. We check our average and see we are making 14.5 mph average on the flat land – MUCH better than yesterday – in fact the amount of climb today is one fourth of what we had to climb yesterday! We see the same guy go by on a Velokraft recumbent for the third day in a row and finally ask him to slow down so we can talk. He is averaging 22 – 25 mph. Yes we have bike envy…. He said his last ride he did 104 miles in just over 4 hours. We will have to look into that…. 10 minutes to finish our ride we have a girl directly in front of us has her front tire blow out while we were doing about 20 – 22 mph and she gets thrown off her bike onto the concrete road. We stop to help but appears to be ok. This was the first accident we have seen this year.

10:15 am – We roll into Ames – our overnight town. We look up our “host” family, Al and Evelyn Bently who volunteered their house for us to spend the night. Very nice people – of course it’s Iowa right???

After a shower we decide to go to the Living History Farms outside Des Moines and Al gives us a scenic route to take instead of the freeway. We then drive back to Ames to eat dinner with Al and Evylin who cooked us a meal that can’t be beat including what else? – Sweet Corn! (We are in Iowa right??)

After dinner Al and Evylin take us to the Reiman Gardens at ISU which has a butterfly garden and several other gardens with every plant that can be grown in Iowa being on display. Not taking a nap today is taking its toll and we are now going down for the count at 8pm. Until tomorrow…..

Brian & Pam

RAGBRAI Day 4 Report 78.0 miles 6 hours 5 minutes 12.9 average speed Temperature 62 @ Start – 71 @ finish Wind from Southeast at 10 - 15 mph (yup – headwind all day…) 2,869 feet of climb Total RAGBRAI Mileage 291.7 miles 4:15 am - We woke today and snuck out of the house being quiet not to wake Al or Evelyn (I hear it worked). We hear later that Alan vacated around 7am. 5:01am – We depart the Bently’s house after eating our cereal in our van outside and getting everything ready. Everything was moving rather slowly this morning….. 5:22 am – We get Pam her coffee at Kum n Go – the Earth is now spinning correctly on it’s axis and all is right with the world! 5:55 am – We just passed through Nevada (Iowa) and between Nevada and Colo somebody threw carpet tacks down the highway for miles. We see dozens of people with their bikes taken apart to fix flat tires. We keep a look out but see no tacks and luckily do not have any bike flat tires. 7:58 am – 31 miles into today’s journey and almost three full hours and we smelled our first hog farm and skunk – a new RAGBRAI record for us! The wind is very strong for us now and we are now wondering why in the 11 days of RAGBRAI we have never had a tail wind – they lied to us! They told us they go West to East to be with the wind. So far we are 0 for 11 on that one….

9:03 am – We arrive at the half way point of today’s bike ride AND the half way point of the entire RAGBRAI. It is now 69’F and still sunny!

11:36 am – Alan calls us – he has a flat tire on the van AND the spare does not have any air. (What the van is only 9 years old and the spare does not have any air!!! – Whoops) Luckily he is in Toledo. (Our overnight town) Due to the language barrier we fail to find out the location of the van or Alan for that matter. 12:33 am – We roll into Toledo to find Alan. We finally find Alan about an hour later. We take the spare back off and strap it to the bike and off I go to find a service station with air. After that ordeal, we find the only tire shop in Tama/Toledo and caught Mike (the owner) just before he went fishing for the afternoon. And 30 minutes / $110 later we are off to find our host for the night. The town was crazy with traffic today as a bus with 27 people crashed just outside of town and the were re-routing the traffic through town. We arrived at Norma Ledvina’s house shortly after and she was so happy we found her. We tried to call her along the route but something was wrong with the phone lines and we could not get through. We had a bedroom in the basement to sleep in, she offered us her washer/dryer to do laundry, and we were off for our nap. We realize that it is now after 5PM and if we try to nap we will not wake up until midnight. We decide to take Norma our for dinner at the church down the street. They have pulled pork and after all we are in Iowa….. We visit with Norma for the evening and are in bed at 8 so we can get up at 4am…. Until then……RAGBRAI Day 5 Report 72.5 miles 5 hours 56 minutes 12.3 average speed Temperature 63 @ Start – 68 @ finish Wind from Southeast at 12 - 17 mph (yup – headwind all day…) 3,123 feet of climb Total RAGBRAI Mileage 367.2 miles 4:15 am – We awoke to find it raining today. I snuck over to the neighbors back patio to pick up their wireless to take a look at the weather radar – it showed that in 3 or 4 hours the rain may pass… so back to bed. 8:35 am – We finally leave Norma’s house – off into the cold, windy, rainy day. This marks the first time Pam and I have ever actually ridden in the rain. Last year it sprinkled on us one day but I would not call it rain. Today we wore our rain gear, covered our seats with trash bags, the whole nine yards.

9:40 am – We stop at “Farm Boys” breakfast burrito stand along the route and while we nibble at breakfast the rain stops. YEAH!

The wind today was brutal. Pam and I are not used to riding in the wind and those RAGBRAI people know how to route the riders into the wind no matter which direction we are riding. Another noteworthy mention, since we started riding so late today we were “in” the pack of riders as opposed to “in front of” the pack of riders. This makes for having to walk the bike through each town instead of riding through the towns due to so many people in the streets – it would be like trying to ride through times square in New York at lunch time. This serves as inspiration for us to start early everyday, rain, sleet or snow…. (so to say)

3:28 PM – We roll into North Liberty. We find our “host” family, the Ebberts, who have two very excited 6 and 3 year olds – so excited to have new people in the house. There is also one other couple from Coralville Iowa staying with us in the basement. They cooked us all dinner and were very hospitable to us all.

Two more days to go. The forecast for tomorrow is afternoon showers so we will start before dawn for sure. Until then…..

RAGBRAI Day 6 Report 64.6 miles 4 hours 54 minutes 13.2 average speed Temperature 64 @ Start – 73 @ finish Wind from South at 2 - 7 mph 3,051 feet of climb Total RAGBRAI Mileage 433.4 miles 4:00 am – We woke up to find it foggy out – a pleasant surprise since that means the wind is down – and it was for our ride all day. I checked the TAFF’s and it say’s cloudy all morning until noon. Yoo Hoo! 5:07 am – We leave the Ebbert’s house and do not hear the couple from Coralville at all… their loss! 6:56 am We arrive into Lisbon looking for the famous port-a-Jon’s but no such luck. On the way out of town there is a really nice park with tables, water fountains, and even better, a dry corn field. We take our morning break there. Today as we leave from our morning break we are thinking how much better it is starting early.  Even though yesterday we got to see more of what most people think of the RAGBRAI (the naked bike rider in his enclosed bike, the costumed bikers, and all the pass through towns with wall to wall people) we are glad today to have stretches of road where we can not see any other bikers for minutes where all we have is each other and the Iowa backdrop. We do however see the usuals we see every day like Bob Dillon from Colorado who amazingly remembers both of our names from day #2, and the guy on the Velokraft recumbent bike who also now says hi every day as he passes us – quickly.

11:06 am – We arrive into Tipton. We are able to quickly find Alan today and find ourselves back in Iowa City at HuHot Mongolian grill for lunch and our Motel 6 for the night. One more day to go we start to plan our escape back to Arizona today. The end of this years RAGBRAI is getting near… until tomorrow…..

RAGBRAI Day 7 ReportDay 7 Stats 

53.0 miles 

3 hours 30 minutes   

15.5 average speed  

1,835 feet of climb                 

Temperature 71 @ Start – 75 @ finish     

Wind from Northwest at 4 - 7 mph            3:30 am – We woke up from our motel 6 some 30 miles from the start point. Looking outside there is a pleasant surprise…. No clouds and an apparent tail wind for today’s ride – this will be the first day in the 14 days of RAGBRAI we will actually have the advertised tail wind. Yeah!

4:48 am – We peddle off into the dark night – over an hour before sunrise. NO we are not the only idiots starting this early – A lady yells to us from her dark porch as we leave Tipton that we are the 16th rider(s) to leave town from her vantage point. 6:01 am – We stop to take pictures of the sun cresting the Iowa landscape. Truly a picturesque morning with absolutely no clouds. 6:03 am – We stop again in Plain View and Pam runs into the local tavern “Slabby’s” to get her morning cup of Joe. They do not have any to go cups so she talks to the owners of Slabby’s and gulps down her coffee. 8:35 am – We arrive at the end of our RAGBRAI ride in LeClaire. They are still getting all the TV equipment set up as we dip our front tire in the mighty Mississippi. We call Alan to see where he is and he is still stuck in traffic. There is only two roads into town and we took one of them so no cars are allowed and the other is blocked off as well. Alan ends up having to park two miles from the official end point at a large make shift parking lot that was a hay field yesterday. He took a shuttle to come and find us to tell us where the van was. After taking a shower in the usual RAGBRAI style showers for $5 we are on Interstate 80 now heading West toward Arizona. The goal to make it home by Sunday evening. Another RAGBRAI comes to an end… another 34 hours of peddling time in one week. Ahhh the adventure, the exercise, the Iowa hospitality…. Will it happen again next year?????Overall RAGBRAI 36 Stats

Total RAGBRAI Mileage 487.7 miles

Total RAGBRAI Time 34 hrs 49 min

RAGBRAI Average Speed 14.0

RAGBRAI total climb 21,291 feet

 You all take care and get out and do your exercise. We are done for the year…..

Brian & Pam