Viewing 15 replies - 1,186 through 1,200 (of 1,205 total)
Don’t know about corn bats but the brown bat colony, population 4,000, of Yellowstone Lake State Park in Wisconsin do an awesome job on the mosquitoes there. They seem to keep the corn bears away too.
I use Verizon and it has always worked reasonably well in Iowa, during RAGBRAI. But keep in mind that when ~15k riders descend on a town with a population of a few thousand, or less, all the cell phone networks will be on their knees, begging for mercy. They weren’t designed for that load so the definition of “reasonably well” is judged against RAGBRAI norms. That these small Iowa towns can handle an event like RAGBRAI at all is surprising, that they consistently manage to do it so well is astounding and a testament to the Iowa and the human spirit, but more patience than normal is required for most things that you will want to do during the week. You will probably get through eventually if your network says it covers northern Iowa but you may have to be patient. Very, very patient at times. If you want to transfer a lot of pictures, for example, or other data you will want to look for free WiFi vans. Never used them but I assume they have a good land line connection.
It does look easy although it may be gravel which is not a big issue for those of us with 38mm tires. It may not be as welcome an option for the 70% who ride road bikes and probably use 23mm tires.
Iceman, exactly what is your problem? In order to promote safety I am trying to communicate what we are providing for the site to dip tires…
I think you misunderstand the tradition. It goes way back in time, to at least Sargon the Great who marched his army in the world’s first great campaign of conquest from the middle of Mesopotamia to the Mediterranean Sea and when he got there, washed his sword in the great “upper sea” as they called it. If his path of destruction had ended at a mountain range he would have climbed a peak and loudly proclaimed his greatness instead. The actual dipping of tires is neither here nor there, it is the riding from border to border that is the most important ritual to many. Tires are dipped because the borders are rivers and it is the obvious thing to do in that situation. Substituting an interior river for one on the border may be safe but it is unsatisfying, to those who care about the border-to-border ride. If safety demands that we cannot get to the border then we won’t try. And in that case many “purists” will forego a tire dip in a river that is no more ritually significant than all the others we will cross and not dip our tires in on the way to the Mississippi. It is bad form to deny us this privilege but we will get over it.
Here is a link that casts doubt on the link between dehydration/low electrolyte levels and cramping.
I scanned through that article and came to the same conclusion the author reached: the author doesn’t know any more about what causes cramping than the rest of us. I rarely get cramps except when dehydrated. I know I am dehydrated or at least marginally hydrated because this happens when I have been out in the sun on a hot day for hours, drinking all the time but never urinating. I don’t do this when biking but I used to fly model rockets and would do this frequently at big model rocket events. The author’s favorite theory, exercise, doesn’t apply in this case because model rocketry is not an exercise intense pursuit. There is a reason why a rocketry pundit once described an XXXL tee shirt as “rocketeer medium”! Often times when no theory fits all the data you have multiple causes and any given one may be the most significant for any given individual even though it cannot be generalized to help everyone. So, if you are cramping I would not dismiss hydration and electrolytes: even if they do not help everyone, they might help you.
No, you ride to and through Bancroft. A little past Bancroft the main route turns left but the loopers continue straight and then loop back through the two loop towns. Eventually you rejoin the main route upstream of Bancroft and ride through Bancroft twice. Just remember to take the main route the second time you get to the junction or else you could get stuck in an infinte loop!
My bike is a Fuji road hybrid that came with a 50/39/30 triple and a 12-25 rear. I got a new set of wheels a while back so that I could run wider tires and at the same time I got an 11-27 rear. I used all those gears a lot at first although when I changed the chain last year the middle ring in the front was worn out so I must have used that the most. Last year’s RAGBRAI was my first full RAGBRAI, my first full week ride of any kind. I started out using all the gears but by mid week I was just using the big ring and by the last two days only the top 6 gears on the rear. I might have used more of the rear on my own but my riding buddy struggles big time with hills and going up them at his pace by the end of the week I found that it was possible and more relaxing to pedal up them slowly, as I see some others doing. Training does do wonders and even “on the job training” during RAGBRAI itself is surprisingly effective. For some of us anyway. We are all different and there is lots of good advice in this thread so use what works best for you. It isn’t just age and weight however. I’ve been more than 60 times around the sun and I could stand to lose 20….
I think you want to prepare the kids the same way you prepare. Review the training recommendations you can find on this site, have them train with you on every ride or make sure that between you and hubby you are all getting in enough training, and listen to any complaints they have about their bikes on long rides. Listen to your own body about that too and then work with a local bike shop to correct any issues you have. I would think 9 year olds can do this ride just fine but like anyone else they need to be prepared. I’ve seen childen on the ride. I have never noticed if they were day riders or full week riders. I’ve seen them in trailers, in what ammounts to panniers, on attached cycles, and on their own bikes. I’ve seen adults on giant Big Wheels too but that is another story!
Riding is only part of it though. After that is the whole eating, sleeping, keeping them entertained (especially on those 40 mile days!), etc that goes along with child ownership and care. I have no experience in those areas, someone else will have to help you with that. But don’t neglect to find that help and plan accordingly because a week is a long time for a child to do something like this and life will be better for all of you if you are prepared.
But most of all I would say what a great thing to do with your kids!!! May God give you all a wonderful experience that you will long rememeber and often repeat.
Here in NorIll it is all matted down brown and tan. In another month or so it will be glorious green with wildflowers blooming. I did only 42 miles this weekend spread over both days but at least it is a start. I might have gone further if the unrideable snowy patches on the trail had not slowed me down. Well, they should be gone this weekend….
“Blame” the faster rider for “managing” to get around me??? That event happened on my first century, not RAGBRAI, but it is an event with enough riders to have a similar traffic density at times. I was just trying to finish the ride, as far to the right edge of the road as one could get and riding a dead straight line. A ton of people were passing me that day and I do not blame anyone for riding faster than me. This guy was obviously very experienced and very well trained, he wasn’t “managing” to get by me, he was flying by. He decided to shoot the gap between me and the rider he was trying to best because otherwise, horror of horrors, he might have to slow down. I wish I had a video of the event, I am quite sure you would vote to convict him if you could see it. He appeared suddenly with no warning and passed incredibly close to me. So close that if I had flinched at his sudden appearance we both would have gone down in a heap and several riders behind us would have had a bad day too. Defend him if you like but I don’t think he was following the code of behavior you seem to support.
I am not saying you should not ride straight, look before you leap, and generally respect your fellow riders. I am saying that even if you do those things you could still have a run in with this guy or his sister so having a mirror and checking it often is a good thing. At RAGBRAI trouble is as likely to come up on your right as your left so you might need two….
Unless you can set aside a week to ride RAGBRAI like distances every day and do it without padding or problems you will not really know until you get that saddle sore on day 5 that you should have worn padded shorts. Chances are you won’t be riding for a few days after you get one! Building up to once or twice a week rides equal to the longest RAGBRAI day won’t guarantee you that you can do 60 miles every day for a week. I am one of the few who ride in normal person’s shorts (although there seemed to be more of us last year than the year before). However I do wear padded cycling underwear under those spandex free shorts. Last year I started out without chamois cream the first three or four days and one cheek was starting to get a little tender by the time I switched to using it. I managed to make it through the whole ride but I could tell it was a near thing on that front (back?) even though otherwise I could have gone on indefinitely. I’d bring some padding and some cream and I would switch to them at the first hint of trouble because I found out the hard way once that this kind of trouble comes on real fast when it comes.
I’ve been cut off while holding a straight line by faster riders often enough on RAGBRAI and other rides that I don’t think we need to discuss if the OP was holding a straight line in this case. No matter how straight you ride you will be cut off so the question is a good one regardless of the circumstances that motivated it. I nearly had an accident caused by a faster rider driven to pass someone else and straight line or not I just happened to be in his way. We missed by a few mm at best and after he went by me I had a short while to admire the back of his jersey which proclaimed “Share The D**N Road!!” Sigh….
In my experience bar end mirrors work well. The bigger they are the better view they give you but the more likely they are to snag that faster rider. You may have to modify them with tape or something to get them to hold their position against road vibrations. In the end though they only work when you look at them and fast riders have an uncanny knack for evading your radar by appearing just as you look away and passing long before you would have taken another look.
I have not been buzzed by an ebike during RAGBRAI, to my knowledge. They are quiet, how would I know? Pretty sure I have seen one or two parked at a stop now and then but I could not tell you if they were used on the road or just around town. I have been buzzed by gasoline powered bicycles on one or two occasions. The Copenhagen Wheel looks innocuous enough. If there is no rule against it and you want to use one I think you would be ok. It isn’t like an electric motorcycle, it is a pedal assist unit and it is limited to 20mph. I am sure there are packs of cyclists doing RAGBRAI at that speed because I have been buzzed by them times beyond number. Listening to people complaining about hills I have often thought that they should have a bike that could store energy on downhills and use it to assist them on uphills.
This unit does that although it goes beyond that and stores enough energy for up to 30 miles. One downside is that when you are regenerative braking down hills with a few thousand riders behind you coasting at 30mph or even pedalling for all they are worth you will need to be careful to stay out of their way. The regenerative brake is going to limit your speed to ??? on downhills so that it can harvest that gravitational potential energy stored in your mass at the top of the hill rather than converting it to kinetic energy and dissapating it as wind loss as the rest of us do. The other con is that it only goes 30 miles on a charge. After that it is just dead weight except for whatever it returns to you after a descent. Given that even on this year’s short route you are doing at least 40 miles a day and over 60 on most days it might not be the friend you thought it would be. You could be cursing it even on this relatively flat route by the end of day 3.
It wouldn’t offend me to see riders using these but in the end you might be better served with a traditional human power only bicycle.
How fat does one’s bike have to be to qualify? Is my Fuji Absolute with 38mm tires “fat”? “Portly” at least? The bike is not particularly heavy but I do carry some weight in the trunk bag, perhaps more than a really excellent road bike weighs all up! If that does qualify as fat then I hate to disappoint you but it won’t add any real challenge to your RAGBRAI experience. They roll along just fine and the weight difference is likely to small a fraction of your body weight so it won’t matter unless you are racing someone. I have a set of 25mm Michelin Pro Race 3 tires for it too and while I am sure they make a difference you could measure in a careful experiment it is not big enough to be noticeable on a ride through the real world where so many other factors come into play. On the other hand my 38mm Vittoria Randonneur (now Voyager) Hypers are the best 38mm tires I could find….
So I put the data into Minitab (a statistical process control software package) and tried to find statistically significant differences between the last few year’s routes and previous year’s routes. If you compare the last few years to time periods of similar length in the past then the recent routes are easier than most. Curiously the first few years were about as easy as recent years. And you can’t say that there is a statistically significant difference to the normal 95% confidence level although the recent years are easier to about 90% confidence level compared to the hardest few years. I doubt that there is an intentional “dumbing down” of the route to accommodate anyone. If there is it would take a few more years of route selections for the trend to become statistically certain. You can find time periods of the same length in the past that were as easy as these last two years and the second hardest day of all time was last year’s century day.
I don’t see any way to directly get grade information from GeoBike. However if you load up this year’s route and click the “Google Earth Maps” link over on the left side of the page you can open the route in Google Earth. Then if you right click on the route you can select the option “Show Elevation Profile” from the pop up list. That gives you a graph that you can mouse over to see the elevation and grade at any point on the route. There is also some summary information at the top of the graph. This year’s maximum climb is 3.5% and the maximum descent is 3.8%. If you ride in the Pittsburgh area I don’t think you will have any trouble with this year’s or any other year’s RAGBRAI in terms of the maximum grade. No one hill is all that bad, the killer is that there is no end to the hills. On last year’s century day we were passed by a team that literally laughed at the top of each hill. We were at about mile 45 of the ride and they chanted “hill 55, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”. There can be more hills than miles….
Please enter your username or email address. You will receive a link to create a new password via email.