RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
Friends of RAGBRAI

Blog

RAGBRAI Reflections with John Karras



by John Karras, Grampa RAGBRAI

A strange, but predictable, thing happened this year to Ann and I on our way to our umpteenth time to ride RAGBRAI–we were physically unable to ride it(we had a paltry 49 miles of training on out legs). It wasn’t the biggest disappointment of our 63-plus years of marriage, but it sure was up there in the top 20.

The onlyRAGBRAI moments we had were while stationed on the Karras Loop where Ann and Carol Molhandorf handed out Loop patches and I hugged the sweaty young ladies who wanted pictures taken with me. Not the hardest duty in the world

Another lesson from our RAGBRAI debacle: Preparation on a stationary bicycle does not transfer to the road, at least not the way I did it this year. I had 45 hours on the trainer here at Scottish Rite Park, but when we went out on the road we found ourselves worn out in under 10 miles. I believe that 45 hours of road miles would have gotten me ready for RAGBRAI. I haven’t felt this dumb or disappointed in myself in at least 10 years.

And apropos of nothing, it occurred to me recently that I’m perhaps the only one at Scottish Rite Park who thinks of a sweatshirt as a fashion statement.

John Karras is the co-founder of RAGBRAI

30 Responses on “RAGBRAI Reflections with John Karras

Don Clasen

July 30, 2014 at 4:30 pm

Hey. John–I’ve had the same problem lately, But these 83-year-old bones will get over it. I’ve pretty well given up my walks along the beach this summer. The old bod won’t move some days. But, like the Dodgers of old, I’ll expect to do better next year. You have certainly achieved greatness with RAGBRAI since those days on the copy nesk. Say hello to Ann.
Don Clasen
Chicago

Jason Hunter

July 31, 2014 at 10:52 pm

John,

Don’t feel bad. At least you tried. Keep trying! Don’t give up! Just get on your bike and ride as often as you can. Being married 63 years, congratulations by the way, I’m guessing your retired so time is on both your sides. You had 49 miles of experience. Gradually work your way up so you are doing 49 miles a weekend. Ideally to do the ride well you should be able to ride about half the distance a day for five days. So for example this year Ragbrai was 418 miles. You should try to do half in about 5 days. Not right now, build yourself up. If you can get yourself up to do that, I think you will do fine by the next Ragbrai. Yeah! Now we have a year to train till the next Ragbrai. The more you find yourself on the bike I think the healthier and happier you will be. You’ll have a healthier higher quality of life and be able to kick some meds good bye, if your on any that is. The human body is capable of miraculous things. This is true whether your 10 years old or 90. But in order for our bodies to change it has to first start with our thinking. The poorer health we are in the greater the challenge, but the reward is oh so great! You have the potential to turn Ragbrai from your top 20 disappointments into your top 20 achievements. I believe you can do it, otherwise I would not have written this comment. Although my challenges in just getting to Ragbrai next year are about as big as the challenges you faced this year, if I succeed. I look forward to seeing you next year.

Jason Hunter

July 31, 2014 at 11:35 pm

John,

Don’t feel bad. At least you tried. Keep trying! Don’t give up! Just get on your bike and ride as often as you can. Being married 63 years, congratulations by the way, I’m guessing you’re retired so time is on both your sides. You had 49 miles of experience. Gradually work your way up so you are doing 49 miles a weekend. Ideally to do the ride well you should be able to ride about half the distance a day for five days. So for example this year Ragbrai was 418 miles. You should try to do half in about 5 days. Not right now, build yourself up to it. If you can get yourself up to do that, I think you will do fine by the next Ragbrai.

Yeah! Now we have a year to train till the next Ragbrai. The more you find yourself on the bike I think the healthier and happier you will be. You’ll have a healthier higher quality of life and be able to kick some meds good bye, if you’re on any that is.

The human body is capable of miraculous things. This is true whether your 10 years old or 90. But in order for our bodies to change it has to first start with our thinking. The poorer health we are in the greater the challenge, but the reward is oh so great! You have the potential to turn Ragbrai from your top 20 disappointments into your top 20 achievements.

I believe you can do it, otherwise I would not have written this comment. Although my challenges in just getting to Ragbrai next year are about as big as the challenges you faced this year, if I succeed. I look forward to seeing you next year.

We all have hills we face in life. Some are more difficult than others but they are not unbeatable. When our actions are in line with our desire, a heart, and will we can overcome the greatest of mountains.

Bruce Woods

August 1, 2014 at 12:49 pm

To: John Karras

I persuaded a long-time friend from The Netherlands to ride with me this year. He’s an accomplished rider and only 65; I at 70 had to push some to keep pace with him. He was also fortunate enough to have his picture taken with you at Lone Rock where they gave your patches out. Thanks John! Hundreds of thousands of riders have enjoyed something special because of your efforts and foresight.

Sandaltan

August 1, 2014 at 7:36 pm

Debacle??? The word hardly applies to a few hours hugging sweaty young ladies. Maybe you have convinced Ann that you didn’t enjoy the hugging but not me. See y’all next year Karras.

RIDE RIGHT

Profile photo of villierseth

villierseth

August 7, 2014 at 2:47 am

Profile photo of villierseth

villierseth

August 7, 2014 at 2:47 am

Profile photo of costumecostume

costumecostume

August 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Profile photo of costumecostume

costumecostume

August 7, 2014 at 9:03 pm

Robert Van Every

August 8, 2014 at 8:57 pm

I am glad you were on the ride. I remember antics of you and Offenberger back in the day. The bloggers who suggest ways to train for rag ride crack me up. YOU wrote the book on how to get ready to ride!!

Ride On! ….(or maybe not. Collecting hugs from the dudettes makes for a Great Ride!)

BURMA SHAVE

Leave a Reply

Latest Blog Posts

  • RAGBRAI 2016: Route heads to scenic southern Iowa

    Don’t let perceptions fool you. The XLIV RAGBRAI course will lead cyclists across the state’s scenic southern terrain, but it’s not as daunting as ...

  • Honor RAGBRAI creators with a statue

    The amorphous summertime spree known as RAGBRAI is beautiful and revolutionary precisely because it’s in perpetual motion. Before “Star Wars.” Before anybody cared about ...

  • Bacon Biking Fever Returns!

    Ride for El Cured! The third annual BACooN Ride - the world's best bacon biking event - will be Saturday, June 18.

  • Download the New RAGBRAI Android App

    Check out our all-new Android app! RAGBRAI planning just got easier.

  • How to Watch the Route Announcement Live

    We can't wait to find out where we'll be spending our summer! Here's how to watch the 2016 RAGBRAI Route Announcement live this Saturday, January 23.

  • Guess the Route Contest Results

    The RAGBRAI XLIV Guess the Route Contest preliminary results are in! See where your fellow riders think we will go this year.

  • Guess the Route Contest for RAGBRAI XLIV is Now Open!

    Do you have what it takes? Can you guess the eight overnight towns for RAGBRAI XLIV? Enter the contest and see how close you come!

  • Make Plans to Attend the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party

    Do you want to know the 2016 RAGBRAI Route? Attend the RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party. This year the big event moves to CAPITAL SQUARE (400 Locust Street) for two levels ...

  • RAGBRAI Registration for 2016 Is Open!

    Been thinking about great Iowa hospitality and all that RAGBRAI has to offer? Relax! Registration is now open for RAGBRAI XLIV!! If you’ve registered before, take note: the username and password ...

  • Coming Soon - New Online RAGBRAI Registration System

    To meet higher security demands brought about because of internet fraud, we found it necessary to upgrade our online registration system. We took this opportunity to incorporate some changes that ...

Latest Videos

  • Register reporters talk with RAGBRAI founder John Karras about the announcement that RAGBRAI and the Des Moines Register were working to create a statue of Karras and fellow founder Don Kaul.

  • RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz talks about the southern Iowa 2016 route. "We haven't been to some of these towns in a long time!" he says.

  • Miss the live RAGBRAI 2016 overnight town announcement show? Join Kyle Munson, Michael Morain as they chat with RAGBRAI riders and towns vying for a spot on this year's route. And learn the overnight towns, of course!

  • Watch as RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz unveils the 2016 RAGBRAI overnight towns. The route is heading to the southern cities of Glenwood, Shenandoah, Creston, Leon, Centerville, Ottumwa, Washington and Muscatine.

  • Get the details on this year's RAGBRAI overnight towns in southern Iowa.

  • Join the "Tr3s" amigos for the 2016 BACooN ride June 18 on the Raccoon River Valley Trail. There will be a plethora of bacon.

  • What will the route go for RAGBRAI 2016? Register reporter Kyle Munson and Michael Morain try again to get the early scoop.

  • This year's logo theme is "It's time to take a break."

  • We made a new camel friend, played human foos-ball and did the required slip and sliding. Relive the 2015 RAGBRAI ride with some of our favorite moments. And get ready for the 2016 route announcement party in January.

  • "This is my gift to you guys," said pool owner Bud Henson whose house is right along the RAGBRAI route this year in Moscow, IA.

Find us socially

Email Signup

Sign up for the latest RAGBRAI news and notes (if there is no news in a day, you won’t get an e-mail).

© 2016 RAGBRAI | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy