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Best (and worst) RAGBRAI experiences

Just wanted to check with the RAGBRAI veterans and see what some of your best and / or worst RAGBRAI memories are?  Looking forward to my first trip and would love to hear some good stories of RAGBRAI’s past to get me stoked!

42 Replies

Sandaltan ., July 12, 2011 at 9:17 pm

Visiting with our Charles City home stay last year, sipping Gentleman Jack, saying “no thanks, we will not need your new Chrysler to go down town” and learning of her WW II experiences comes to my mind this evening.  Saggy Thursday also comes to mind.



barbara45000, July 12, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Worst memory……last year, riding all the way to Manchester in a down pour. The entire 4 or so hours of cold, pitting rain. But after I arrived in Manchester, the sun came out, so maybe it wasn’t a worst memory after all!!

The best memory…..too many to mention at this time. The one that does come to mind is visiting Parkersburg last year and seeing how a town that went through so much has grown for it all!! Unbelievable amount of town spirit there. Parkersburg was the true meaning of community to me….ride on in 11!!


tjdale, July 12, 2011 at 9:35 pm

After Potters Hill last year, the rollers coming into Dubuque was some fantastic riding.


knees36, July 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm



knees36, July 12, 2011 at 10:19 pm

High: Surviving Soggy Monday with its rain, headwinds and low temps. Completing the rest of the week with beautiful temps, riding my first century and getting to the Mississippi.  It was my first RAGBRAI and  I rode on a 1979 Schwinn Le Tour with steel rims and kinda fat tires.  I didn’t know any better when it came to bicycles. Low: Walking my first hill (Potter’s Hill) of my 30 RAGBRAI’s.  Walking the second hill wasn’t so “low” since I walked the first hill and  I was still alive.  But walking that hill probably had to happen sometime.  


A Regular Posting Anonymously, July 12, 2011 at 11:30 pm

My worst RAG was the one back in the late 1980s that I really don’t remember, mainly because I rode it with a BAC average for the week that would have probably set a Guinness World Record.

My best?  Any of the ones I’d ridden before then.  Or after.


Michrider !!!, July 13, 2011 at 5:34 am

Funny memory:  2007, Lance was on the route.  I was wearing my Livestrong jersey.  A guy rode up, looked at me and asked if I was Lance.  I told him that I was the taller, older, fatter, slower version of Lance!  He said, “OK, I was just checking”!!!! 


getbent, July 13, 2011 at 6:32 am

First day of my first RAGBRAI was the worst, because I treated it like a training ride and barely stopped and tried living off power bars and energy drink.

Best days? All the rest of them.


KittySlayer, July 13, 2011 at 6:52 am

Best – riding RAGBRAI with my wife, letting her see how much fun I can be when I take off my suit and tie and really cut loose. The RAG is like being in college again.

Worst – the year my wife rode RAGBRAI without me, although she had a good time with her girlfriends and the cabana boys they recruited.


Zinger, July 13, 2011 at 7:34 am

There are so many bests that it’s hard to chose just one. I just really, truly enjoy meeting and talking with people. So many wonderful, interesting conversations! There’s not one person on RAGBRAI that doesn’t have something to share and the fact that we all have biking in common makes us instant friends.

The worst for me was two years ago riding with poison ivy coving the backs of both my legs. I HATE poison ivy!!!


Hills-Angel 1, July 13, 2011 at 8:11 am

getbent said: First day of my first RAGBRAI was the worst, because I treated it like a training ride and barely stopped and tried living off power bars and energy drink. Best days? All the rest of them.

Did the same thing(how dumb where we) Thank GOD I met someone the 1st night that set me strate for the rest of the rides Ive done. Now all rides we do are like RAGBRAI


Sully, July 13, 2011 at 8:16 am

My worst was in the late 80’s – I had a wreck going downhill; and what made it the worst was that it was totally my fault.  I felt horrible because I ended somebody else’s ride that year.  A lesson was learned, and I have never had another incident since in 12 RAGBRAI’s.

My best was my first RAGBRAI in 1980 – went with a group of other kids I knew.  We were young, invincible and looking for fun – and for those who attended in 1980, you know it reached a fever pitch in Elkader on the last night!.  I have yet to recapture that year.  I can’t seem to get any of my friends to commit to go on the ride consistently.  I meet people each year, but never see them again.  


kicks9, July 13, 2011 at 8:36 am

Since last year was my first I dont have much to add.  I do recall one day riding up to I believe it was Algona.  I am spinning up a hill just at a normal pace and some guy comes up next to be on a high end bike.  Looks over and so I wave and say hi.  He grunts at me and sticks up his nose and starts dancing on his pedals up the hill.  This got under my skin a bit.  I sat there spinning for a bit and decided to go after him.  I stood up and climbed the hill like I was going for a stage win on a mountain top finish at the tour.  There were several big rollers left and I caught him and passed him and on my way by I grunt back at him and keep going.  There was a group working up the hill and Algona had a banner overhead to signify the edge of town.  So I kept fighting up the hill and by the end I was all out sprinting and got the group right before the line.  I threw my arms up in the air and acted the idiots at the tour when they win a stage.  (no pistols ie. Contador as that is just stupid looking)  The people at Algona were cheering me on and laughing because they noticed what I was doing.  It was fun and I felt strong riding that day. 



ciscore, July 13, 2011 at 12:54 pm

Best: Meeting some great people across the state, especially the Deckers in Independence.  They still hold the title of best host family EVER!

Worst: Losing a bike off the rack on back of our travel trailer in ’08.  Not a great way to start the week.  :/


AnnG, July 13, 2011 at 1:03 pm

I think that maybe my best experience was when it occurred to me that I had just one day left on my first RAGBRAI.  My thought at the time was along the lines of “darn, just one day left.”  Then of course I came to my senses.  A week is really long enough.  Dipping the front tire after my first RAGBRAI was pretty neat.  Worst?  I really hate riding in the rain.  I think the worst was the 5 miles of gravel after Anamosa in the rain.  After the first thousand riders or so went through it, it was the color and consistency of butterscotch pudding, but with grit added.  Everyone’s bikes, chains, etc. were full of road grit.  In the middle of that 5 miles, somebody looked at my name tag on the back of my bike and told me, “Hey Ann, you have mud in your hair.”  Yeah, thanks, good to know.  After those 5 miles, hundreds of cyclists were stopping in people’s yards and hosing the grime off of themselves and their bikes. 


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