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First RAGBRAI Memories

The 1994 Double Loop question caught my eye and evoked a bit of nostalgia. 94 was my first RAGBRAI and I remember absolutely nothing about the double loop. However that day is etched in my mind as clearly as if it were yesterday.

My older brother had ridden every RAGBRAI since the second year. Even though I had done considerable biking in Colorado I hadn’t seen fit to return to my home state and ride with him. That is until 94 when it became clear that the opportunity to join him on RAGBRAI was rapidly fading. The first few days of that year don’t evoke many memories – other than to remember that I was somewhat unimpressed by the lack of any good long stretches of “good riding” (was used to Colorado riding where it can be 25, 30 or even 40 miles between towns). Having to slow down, get off my bike and walk through a small town every 10 or so miles was really beginning to bug me. To say the least I was unimpressed with RAGBRAI.

That all changed on the Double loop Wednesday. I was just west of Madrid starting the climb out of the Des Moines river valley when I began to hear music from somewhere (perhaps 1/4 mile) up ahead. Don’t even remember what kind of music but I do remember thinking it is pretty darn loud – someone’s got a heck of a big boombox set up by the roadside. As music can make you do I soon began peddling to the beat and I found myself rapidly closing in on the mystery source of the tunes. As I rounded the last curve the volume intensified – close to rock concert levels – but try as hard as I could I did not see anything set up along the road. It was at that point that I realized that the source was not confined to the roadside – it was mobile! A bit more peddling brought me up to bike fitted out with what had to have been the remnants of 60’s hi-fi system and powered by (not one but 2) 12 volt car batteries!! Not only that, there were other bikes nearby equipped with odd paraphernalia – a grill among other things. That was my introduction to the BAD BOYS and I realized that RAGBRAI is not an ordinary ride. It was then that I was impressed. RAGBRAI truly was something very special and yes, often very different.

That’s my First RAGBRAI Memory. Anyone else care to share theirs?

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