I hope this takes a break from the DMR/King drama, and avoids the “TJ is a good guy vs TJ is a monster” debate. This is me just pondering what the ride vibe will be for Iowa’s Ride, and how it could be unique from RAGBRAI. I already know what the RAGBRAI vibe is like. I like it a lot otherwise I wouldn’t be posting here. But there are also elements of the overall vibe that I personally don’t care for. A few of my dislikes include:
* Charters with big, militaryish encampments (won’t name names). I know they have their loyal fan-bases, and they are great for many folks but they don’t appeal to me. It feels like a gated community…sort of part of a community, but really not part.
* Larger organized teams/clubs that ride and socialize only with each other. Many may like that, but I just don’t care for that vibe.
* Traditions for the sake of traditions. Beaded roadkill is one such tradition that doesn’t float my boat. I don’t get the appeal of rotting animal corpses. They make me sad, smell horrible and would prefer that they be removed from the road.
* Some of the heavily hyped vendors (won’t name names here either) serve food that to my taste borders on institutional. Not worth a 45 minute wait when I can buy from a smaller local vendor and have the same quality.
* I love my beer, but the whole craft beer tent thing feels a little forced and corporate to me. Can’t put my finger on it, but it doesn’t really feel RAGBRAI to me.
Like I said, the pros outweigh the cons otherwise I wouldn’t be a repeat rider who looks forward to it every year. But each year I ride it, RAGBRAI feels a little less like a close-knit rolling community, and a little more like something else that I can’t quite define but doesn’t feel right. I’ve been feeling this way for awhile now. Maybe others have too. So I’m willing to give Iowa’s Ride a shot. Some things will be the same regardless…the nice people from Iowa and the pure enjoyment of pedaling across the state and unplugging from my day-to-day life for a week. But I am assuming that Iowa’s Ride will take on it’s own unique vibe right from the start. I might end up hating the vibe, but I might love it. We shall see.