Just want to report that this, my sixth year, was the best ever! Not exactly sure why, but I think it had something to do with just rolling with the flow. I kept a positive attitude for most of the week. Last day flat was a bummer.
Saturday evening in Onawa I saw an indicator that the week would be good. I was walking back from supper when I saw the tractor pulled shuttle coming toward me. On the sidewalk was a kid on a Big Wheel trike racing the tractor. And he was keeping up! The kid raced across five houses and then did a spin-out. It was so cool. All the people on the shuttle were cheering. It set the tone for the whole week.
My mourning armband handouts at the mile of silence could have gone better, but still worked out. I expected people to stop, but most were able to grab them from my hand. You guys surprised me with your agility.
Saw a lot of riders I’d met on previous Ragbrai’s and met several new ones. I know we are creatures of habit, so we tend to start each day at the same time, but with so many riders I am still surprised to see many of the same riders on the road. I fell in with three others on day three and we all missed the turn at Dana. We recognized each other on following days and joked about sticking to the route.
I was true to my goal of patronizing lemonade and Mom & Pop stands. Stopped in Charter Oak for pulled pork sandwich, and watermelon at a stand a few miles out from there. Must have hit four lemonade stands through the week. Would have stopped for more if I’d seen them.
Also stopped for postcards, sweetcorn and pie. Stopped for the free postcards and bananas on the road, and had the pleasure of talking to and getting directions from the locals in town. (directions to where to buy the cards)
Might seem like a little thing, but I thought of new preps for the next day. I used to pump my tires in the dark each morning, but realized I could slightly over pump them the night before. Also pre-filled my Camelbak, prepaid for my morning in-camp snack and pre-loaded one of my bags onto the truck once I got my kit for the day. It just made mornings go more smoothly. Should have thought of it earlier!
One morning, though, I was pulling the tent stakes from my rain-fly tie downs and found one missing. I thought “Who would do that? Was my guy line out too far? Who would steal a tent stake?” Then, once I got the whole tent down, my count of stakes was correct. I’d just missed putting a stake in to begin with. I had to chastise myself for mentally blaming others, but my faith in fellow campers was restored. Sorry guys! (no pun intended)
Through the week I was able to ride my own speed and stop where I wanted. Only three problems with riders not riding predictably. Let it go for the most part, but one was with Ride Right Ambassadors. They weren’t staying to the right! Oh well!
The weather was great! The food was great! Had two or three challenging hills, and saw lots of great friends. So, all in all it was a really good trip. I’m looking forward to next time!