Registration for Great Iowa Fall Ride Open!

Reply To: climbing/ iowa hills.

fashimpaur, January 13, 2014 at 11:29 am

I agree with the earlier comments. On 5 Ragbrai’s I have only stopped on 2 hills and Potter’s Hill was one of them. Why?
I ride about 40 miles most years before I ride Ragbrai. I ride mostly on flat. So, my leg muscles aren’t prepared for major hills. Even when I have ridden a lot some summers, some people just have more leg strength and that can make a difference when you are muscling your way up the hill.
Why muscle it, why not just shift it?
Well…the year I was riding Potter’s Hill I was on my trail bike. My team teased me for three years for its thick tires and extra 25# I was carrying up the hill. It had maybe 18 gears but I remember on Potter’s Hill thinking I needed just 1-2 more gears and I would have grannied my way up it. I had a pretty clear shot, avoided traffic and made it over 2/3 way up. It just got to point where I was going so slow I could have walked it faster, so I did.
Here’s the thing. For me RAGBRAI isn’t about proving that I am super cycler who doesn’t have to “quit”. RAGBRAI is my fun team, its seeing new towns, its meeting the people of Iowa, it is waking up every morning for a week (not one day’s ride) and starting the whole thing again (even if it is 114 degrees on the pavement by noon and you rode 12 hours yesterday because headwinds cut you down to 8 mph).
It isn’t just a hill. It is a hill in the middle of week of rain, heat, late hours (in some cases) and traffic (they say there are 10,000 riders, but it is honestly up to 22,000 at times). My good friend rode Potter’s Hill with me and is an excellent climber but she was on the outside and two people ahead of her stopped suddenly. She had to come to dead stop at the near top of the hill. I wouldn’t have even been able to start pedaling again at that point, but she did and kept going and made it.
I think you have wrong impression about RAGBRAI. For most folks it isn’t about impressing others (though some like to race it)…it’s really about getting out and experiencing Iowa at a different pace and up close. I don’t think of myself as quitter because I chose to not torture myself to finish a hill and possibly exhaust myself for the next 30 miles and 10 hills (or whatever was left). Shrug. It’s pacing yourself and making sure you’re able to keep going for the day, the week and have fun doing it. :)

#732917 |


RAGBRAI L – 2023




Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters

Friends of RAGBRAI