RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
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Why do you ride Ragbrai every year?

(41 posts) (37 voices)
Started 3 years, 4 months ago by AzOcean
Latest reply from ts 3 years, 3 months ago

This topic contains 40 replies, has 37 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of ts ts 3 years, 3 months ago.

2012 was my 1st Ragbrai. It had been on my bucket list for a couple of years. So why do you ride Ragbrai year after year? I must have missed something the first time because I thought I was one and done. It was fun, but not necessarily a thing that would keep me coming back each year. Please read on.

To set the story straight, I am commited to ride Ragbrai in 2013. I am trying to find the answer to why people do it year after year. I grew up in a small town in western Iowa, and moved out after high school. Love small towns, the people, and everything that goes on.

I read the forums, did the training, and set my expectations accordingly. Stopped in each town, talked to people, and tried to get the full Ragbrai experioence. I talked to a lot of people last year that have ridden Ragbrai for 10-15 years. The best answer I could get of why they did it was because that is what they did each year.

So why do you ride Ragbrai each year?


  • Profile photo of AzOcean
    AzOcean
  • 2012 was my 1st Ragbrai. It had been on my bucket list for a couple of years. So why do you ride Ragbrai year after year? I must have missed something the first time because I thought I was one and done. It was fun, but not necessarily a thing that would keep me coming back each year. Please read on.

    To set the story straight, I am commited to ride Ragbrai in 2013. I am trying to find the answer to why people do it year after year. I grew up in a small town in western Iowa, and moved out after high school. Love small towns, the people, and everything that goes on.

    I read the forums, did the training, and set my expectations accordingly. Stopped in each town, talked to people, and tried to get the full Ragbrai experioence. I talked to a lot of people last year that have ridden Ragbrai for 10-15 years. The best answer I could get of why they did it was because that is what they did each year.

    So why do you ride Ragbrai each year?


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #464738

  • Profile photo of Ron
    giantron
  • I do it every year because I haven’t completed the 12 step program to stop yet.


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #469857

  • Profile photo of WILLIAM
    Sandaltan
  • Great story RagbraiNation!!! I have read it twice.

    RIDE RIGHT


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #469934

  • Profile photo of Wonder Woman
    Wonder Woman
  • My first year one of the first days was very hilly, I had some minor mechanical difficulties, then the mist started. Then it turned into real rain, there were no towns,then the wind picked up. I got a bee sting. I was mud covered,frozen, and miserable by the time I got to our hosts…where I was informed I could not have a shower. I had a cold beverage and said, “WOW, that was better than any day I’ve ever had at work!”


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #470034

  • Profile photo of Kevin
    Gypsy Rose
  • Often when I travel, including long-distance bike tours, I carry a book in my gear. I like to read, even if its only a few pages, before “lights-out” in the evening.

    For the past two years I’ve carried a book in the duffle that goes with me from Vermont to Iowa. (I’ve ridden in RAGBRAI VIII and IX, then took a few years off before returning to the ride in 2011 and 2012.) For the past two years not a page has been turned. I think I’ll leave the book behind this year. I’ve come to the conclusion that I don’t need any “quiet time” while on the ride. Total immersion in the RAGBRAI community is what I seek each year. I don’t want to miss a single waking moment of the people who make the ride what it is.

    Looking forward to seeing all of you in six months!

    Best,
    ~ Kevin


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #470132

  • Profile photo of Kevin Beeman
    Kevin Beeman
  • I’ve ridden 8 RAGBRAIs, 5 in a row and then every 5th year. Though I don’t go every year, I’m always there in spirit. It’s like a gathering of the tribes.
    For a week you share a common goal with thousands of new and old friends. There’s something about reaching the top of that bastard hill at age 50 and realizing it was the same one that challenged you at age 15. Reaching the Mississippi is not the end of the ride, only a pause until the last week of next July. There’s comfort knowing that the ride will be there River to River, Year After Year.


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #470566

  • Profile photo of tacook
    tacook
  • I did my first RAGBRAI for the same reason people run their first marathon– for the sense of accomplishment. Now I go back because I miss Iowa, the sights, sounds, smells and people. I agree that being away from the daily rat-race is a great feeling….just me and my bike, along with others striving for the same goal.

    I will say that the time of day you set out impacts your experience. We leave at 6am where I’ve found that the crowd that you ride with is different than leaving later in the day. Not that either is good or bad, just that different people want to be surrounded by different types of folks. Just my humble opinion.


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #470658

  • Profile photo of coloradoshortbus
    coloradoshortbus
  • Because I don’t want to miss out. I started on Ragbrai 13 and have been back every year since. Each year is filled with the wonder of being on a ride with so many others, looking forward to unexpected surprises each day, remembering how much faster I used to be, wondering why I keep doing this and most importantly, the chance meeting with many old acquaintances and friends.


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    Posted 3 years, 4 months ago ago #471036

  • Profile photo of Robert
    FarleyBob
  • My first ride was in 2007 at the age of 45. I was just coming off a year of cancer surgery and treatment, and was looking for a challenge to get back in shape. I was also looking for a way to celebrate life and all it has to offer!
    How appropriate is Ragbrai to serve both purposes! I struggled my first year. A short training window and a lack of experience had me off to a rough start, but by the third day I was feeling stronger and I was hooked! I have ridden every year since and hope to ride every year for the foreseeable future!! What a glorious way to celebrate being alive! Looking forward to some hills and cold beer in 2013!!!


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #471132

  • Profile photo of Michael Laber
    Michael Laber
  • I’ve ridden XXXIII & XXXV. Last year was to be my 3rd. I trained and was totally psyched, but wouldn’t you know that my car failed me just west of Peoria on friday evening after six hours on the road. I flagged down several caravans of folks heading to Clinton, but the helpful spirit wasn’t working for them, so I rented a car, cut my losses and headed back to Kentucky.
    I’m seriously hoping to return this year. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed riding every mile and touring with Bob Brancel and family.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #471462

  • Profile photo of Wild
    Wild
  • I started riding RAGBRAI in 1996. Over the years I have missed 2. I’ll be there again in 2013. Good friends, good people, bikes and beer. More fun than humans should be allowed.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #471687

  • Profile photo of OhioCyclone
    OhioCyclone
  • What an excellent posting! I have not posted since last July. Maybe this, plus the impending excitement for July will bring me back to the party.

    My first RAGBRAI was 2011, so XXXIX I believe. I graduated from Iowa State in 2010 (GO CYCLONES), had friends that had ridden “the ride” since high school, and witnessed the chaos as they rolled on through Ames in 2008. I am from Illinois, so at first this spectical of tens of thousands of bike riders riding across a state for fun, seemed insane, maybe a bit silly. I started riding in 2009 as a way to attempt to keep in whatever shape (not much to begin with) I had at the time, and as a possible exercise routine. So after several borrowed bikes and a few craigslist specials, I bought a Surly LHT with the money I received for graduation. I was hooked. The next step was RAGBRAI.

    I got in around 1000 miles from July 2010 to July 2011. Having never done any day long, long distance (over 50 mile rides), not to mention all of this in consecutive days, a few of my buddy’s from college and my aunt (all virgins to the ride) signed up with my sisters as co drivers of sag vehicle. So come July we saddled up. It was the most physically and mentally tasking thing I have done to date. I do not think any of us prepared enough. The heat, the humidity, the hills ( wasnt iowa supposed to be flat? LOL) made for an intense week. through all of this however, we had a blast. Great people, great food, and amazing views albeit very corn filled. That year I made it just under 300 miles. At the end, I knew I was coming back.

    XL was a whole nother beast altogether, as most of you already know.I had tripled my preperation, lost a decent amount of weight, and was prepared to enjoy RAGBRAI for everything that it offered, meaning that instead of just spending all of my time struggling to the next town, I could accomplish the ride and enjoy the towns, no longer concerned with being the last rider in ( results from the previous year). of the five that rode in 2011, two of us remained and we hooked up with a team. Now we rocked the jerseys the bus, the whole kit and kaboodle. Always someone to ride with, and if you were last, you weren’t alone. Despite the heat i finished the whole ride ( minus one half day for mechanical issues), didn’t walk a single hill, and had the time of my life. The challenge still existed, the accomplishment still gained.

    So as I babble on, I guess the reasons that I ride RAGBRAI are many. I look forward to the challenge, and ultimately the beneficial fitness gains that come of the training that I put in each year. I look forward to seeing old friends, that I only see once a year, and having a few cold ones (few is up to the discretion of the reader). I cherish the idea that I belong to a club that not many can boast of, riding approx 500 miles in 7 days on bicycle. All of my non cycling friends say it is stupid and crazy, a waste of time and money. To that I just say that they are scared and lazy.

    I save all year, and train the same so that for one swelteringly hot, 110% humidity, sticky, smelly, Lycra wearing week, I can enjoy the ride and reap the personal accomplishments of RAGBRAI.And I hope to do so until my body no longer lets me.

    The challenge of RAGBRAI opened up many doors in my life, and was the catalyst for a more improved lifestyle.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #471958

  • Profile photo of Denise Fuller
    Denise Fuller
  • Well it depends, did you go with a group that you knew? We have turned it into a family and friends reunion. I think my favorite thing is talking about years past, like when the starter went out on the RV and some guy hoped in and showed us how to “hot wire a rv with a pair of plyers, or when a lady walked across all the bike traffic and mom broke her leg, or when the septic tank fell off the rv on my dad when he was trying to fix the leak and the fire department came to clean up the shitty situation.
    I also like finding the hidden treasures Iowa has like the Grato, Tresill bridge and who knew Iowa had so many slip and slides.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #474373

  • Profile photo of Michael
    BigBird
  • This will be my 30th consecutive RAGBRAI. Why do I ride every year? Short answer is “Because I can!” Long answer is that RAGBRAI is the only vacation I’ve found where you totally escape the reality of the world and work. Your only worry becomes where you can take a shower, where you can eat and where you can get a beer. Couple that with the special bonding that only comes from eating, sleeping, and biking with team mates. That and the way everything becomes hysterical about Thursday as the sleep deprivation and exhaustion starts to set in. And then there’s the pie, Mr. Pork Chop, pancakes, and my personal and Team Flamingo favorite, the Beekman’s home made ice cream stop each day.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #476020

  • Profile photo of ts
    ts
  • I took last year off after having ridden 2008-2011. I’ll be back this year. Why? To be honest, I crave the isolation. In my job, I am virtually always “on call”, so even weekends aren’t always relaxing. When I get to RAGBRAI, I turn my phone off, make it a point to *not* read papers or listen to news (I make an exception for TdF coverage), and just immerse myself in RAGBRAI. It’s almost like living on another planet for a week. I love the fact that the only thing I *have* to do each day is just get myself to the next town – everything else is optional! I love living on Planet RAGBRAI for one week a year.


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    Posted 3 years, 3 months ago ago #476188

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