First Year Rider's Comments and Reflections

2016 RAGBRAI was my first and won’t be my last. Nothing could have prepaird me for the experiece except for the experience itself. Experiencing all different people, their stories, where they have come from and why they are there was amazing.

MY FAV:
Meeting Lucy – A lovely 83 year old lady with the greatest personality. I can’t remember how may RAGBRAIs this makes for her but I hope to be that active when Im 83.

The Air Force Riding Team – These guy/girls were amazing. I can’t count the number of times I saw them helping broken down cyclists, diverting traffic for an accident, or what ever else need to be done. No wonder our Country is the Greatest in the Nation. You Guys/Girls did our Country Proud in 2016 RAGBRAI.

A Gentleman Who had a Prosthetic Right Leg – From the Knee Down – This guy lost his leg in a Mountain Climbing Accident. He and his partner got caught on a ledge. His partner died. He said he maid his peace with God and thought he was going to die. He woke up 2 days later in a hospital and lost his leg due to Frost Bite.

A Lady on the Lance Armstrong Riding Team – This lady beat the worst kind of Breast Cancer. Wasn’t supposed to survive but did…. only to watch her son die in his mid-twenties of Bone Marrow Cancer a few years ago. The only thing that keeps her going is her daughter.

A few other notes: The one guy who ran the whole RAGBRAI. The guy who rollerbladed the route. The guy on the Highwheel Circus Bike.

I’m sure there are a thousand stories out there that I missed, but for me RAGBRAI XLIV 2016 was a very Spiritual and moving experience.

3 Replies

Marla Shifflett, August 3, 2016 at 8:19 pm

I, too, love RAGBRAI because of the people and their stories. This wasn’t my first RAGBRAI, but it was my first time to ride all seven days (work conflicts in the past). I’ll add:

Scott: the rider with ALS who had the orange sign which read “no bad days.” Just when I was starting to whine (in my head), between Prescott and Creston, I approached Scott on his recumbent. I was so proud of him, and not-so-proud of myself. How fortunate we were to be spending a week riding our bikes in the company of friends. Scott is right, “No bad days.”

The Lady who told me I was “killing” the hills: little could she know that five RAGBRAI’s ago I was five years younger (still over 50), but in much worse physical shape. I was the rider hugging the white line, hearing “on your left” about 15,000 times a day. This year, I trained more diligently and while still not the fastest by any stretch of the imagination – to hear a compliment about my abilities on the hills sure made my year. Thanks!

The 8 year-old girl riding her bike from Shenandoah to Creston: Wow, just wow! All the kids out there riding, whether riding on their own or on tandems or tag-a-longs or in trailers. Ya’ll rock! You adults think you’re tough? Do it on a kid’s bike! With kid legs!

The kind folks in the churches and towns all along the way who opened up their homes and businesses: Thank you, thank you, thank you. We wouldn’t get to do this without you.

I agree with all of your above statements: Livestrong, Air Force, etc.

A few people go on RAGBRAI and never “get it.” It may have been more “charming” back in the day before there were “too many” people. We may have made more week-long friends when we could find each other more easily. But, the people and their stories . . . that’s what still makes it so special. It may be a “traveling freak show” to quote the Register, but hey, they’re OUR freaks. lol

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Michrider !!!, August 3, 2016 at 9:17 pm

mshifflett: A few people go on RAGBRAI and never “get it.” It may have been more “charming” back in the day before there were “too many” people. We may have made more week-long friends when we could find each other more easily. But, the people and their stories . . . that’s what still makes it so special. It may be a “traveling freak show” to quote the Register, but hey, they’re OUR freaks. lol

I love your comment, “It may be a “traveling freak show” to quote the Register, but hey, they’re OUR freaks.” That is priceless!!!

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Julie Peden, August 4, 2016 at 8:18 am

Hey Gthomp0419
You hit the nail on the head…wow what a fabulous first timers experience!
Loved chatting with Lucy. Didn’t do the century ride but maybe next year. The towns, the food, my butt, my awesome bike, new friends, snoring in tent city…might have been you Gary hahaha. Difficult to experience and capture everything the 1st time. Can’t wait for next year.

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