RAGBRAI ’18 – Wrap Up

Toni didn’t want to spill her saddle bag, so she let me do the lifting honors.

Toni and i successfully completed another RAGBRAI journey. Woo-hoo! (Toni and I have been joking about all the Woo-hoo women here! Ha!)

The ending day on Saturday was long… 69 miles and as usual, lots of hills as we got closer to the river. We were motivated to get home, but it was still an all day endeavor.

We were going to forego the dunk site and just head to the Jeep, but as we came to expect this trip, we had no internet service. Without Google Maps to guide us, we decided we were best off just to follow the route to completion and head to the parking site from there.

Elvis would be proud of my peanut butter and ‘naner Buca-wiche

We’ve had vehicle issues in the past, i.e. dead batteries, lost keys, etc., but fortunately the Jeep was ready to go when we got there. As expected, the smaller bike frame did not fit on the carrier, so I had to take the tire off my bike and put it inside. Everything fit, but it had to go in a certain way so nothing got damaged.

Again, without Google Maps, it took us a bit to find our way out of Davenport and get on the road. What should have been a four hour trip took a little longer, but part of that was our stop at Culver’s for Butter Burgers. We also imposed on their restroom to change clothes and take a wet nap sponge bath. (It felt really, REALLY good to get a real shower and wash my hair when I got home!) We make it back to our house about 10:00. Murphy actually barked at me! Apparently a week away made me a stranger, but he was ecstatic when he realized it was me.

Despite my constant use of sunscreen, I came back with a pretty good tan. I am apparently learning, because I didn’t have any spots of sunburn this year. Even better I didn’t get any of the sun rash that I’ve gotten in the past. I was tired, but felt like I got stronger as the week went on.

Toni and I were already discussing next year on the way home. We are always energized by the accomplishment. We had a blast! Here’s to next year! Cheers!

 

RAGBRAI Friday Morning

Sunflowers surrounding a farm where we had fresh peaches. Very pretty setting.

We’re still alive. Internet service has been poor. I’ve had trouble connecting the last couple of days. We’re in Harper, having breakfast. Pancakes, sausage, scrambled eggs and Bloody Mary’s. All the

Lots of uncomfortable people practicing their patience…

major food groups. Ha!

I did go ahead and buy the bike. I’ve had some issues with the derailleur. I transferred my old saddle over, but I’m still getting a bit sore since the different frame style has me riding in different positions than I’m used to. I think it will be better once I get used to it. I’ve basically taken it in each evening to have something tweaked. They all say it’s a good bike, but it just has some new bike kinks to work out.

Along with the internet issues, the lack of adequate Kybos has been an issue too. The picture to the left is an example of the lines. That gets to be an issue when you put off stopping until you need to! There’s a lot of dancing going on in these lines! Ha!

There are a lot of idyllic scenes along the way. Toni and I try and find places to meet up where there’s shade to take a break. We usually meet people to talk to and it’s fun to watch the seemingly endless line of bicycles go by.

This picture was one of our stops along the way. This was at the Templeton Rye Distillery. They weren’t giving out samples! Not that I’m much of a whiskey fan anyway… I would probably have tried Rye since I’ve never had it before.

Many of the iconic features along the way try and draw you in, even if they are off the actual ride route. Since the route changes every year, there are always new things like this to see. I didn’t take time to do the tour this time, but it was a cool place to stop. In the past I’ve done things like toured museums and dug for fossils.

 

RAGBRAI ’18 – Day 3

Today’s ride is more challenging than yesterday’s with 72 miles and about 2,500 feet of climb. It’s been pretty warm today too, though not horrible. I was cold last night with the temperature down around 60. I had brought a mylar blanket, but didn’t expect to need it. I didn’t want to get it out in the middle of the night since it’s so noisy and we have the tents set up almost side to side.

As always, there were some interesting things to see. The custom made Indiana jersey’s were impressive. I would have bought one if they were selling them! They had them made special for their team.

This giant cornhole game was pretty cool too! Brought new meaning to the term “throw pillows”. Some of the participants referred to it as a Pillow Fight.

So more on the Bike saga… My bike with the cracked frame is a Scott bike. I did an internet search and found that there is a Scott dealer in Ames, a town we’re passing through on Wednesday. I called them and they said they dealt in Trek and Scott bikes, but were more familiar with Trek’s warranties. Scott required a voucher be sent in for approval, so even if the damage was covered under warranty, they would not be able to do anything for me that day.

When I got into Denison last night, the Trek dealer said the black bike I had been riding was spoken for today and there were no other bikes available that would fit me. No one else was doing loaners so it looked like I was going to be riding the bus instead of a bike today. I explained my situation and they asked me to come back in the morning and see if the bike actually went out.

As I was walking away, I thought about it more. I turned around and went back and asked if I could go ahead and buy it. I told them that without the bike I couldn’t ride at all and whoever else was asking to do the demo still had their own bike to ride instead.

They decided to let me have the bike again today. I’m going in this evening to get some final tweaks on it and purchase it. They gave me a 23% discount on the bike and were trying to work out a way to get my old bike home to me when I left. They were very helpful and sympathetic. I wasn’t excited about the expense of buying a new bike, but I was thrilled that I wasn’t going to have to ride the bus for the remainder of RAGBRAI. So far I’ve never had to ride the SAG wagon and it was going to be a sad climb on that bus if I had to do it today.

15 more miles to go today. Wish me luck! There are a few additional things posted on Twitter if you want to look there.

RAGBRAI ’18 – Day 2

Rover Truck Stout, Garlic Parmesan Fresh-made chips and a loaded burger for supper Friday night.

Up at the crack of dawn to catch the bus at 6:00am. The Rover Truck Stout last night and the long day yesterday made for a good night’s sleep, though it was a little cool. The one good thing is that we’re on Central Time now so we gained an hour back. It was still way too early after my night in the tent. The bus trip is boring, but at the same time there is some anticipation excitement. Toni can sleep, but I rarely can.

We got into Onawa, Iowa about 1:00 pm. Got things unloaded, tents set up, etc. We decided to go into Town. My bike has had an issue with the tire rubbing and it’s been more than I could adjust out. I decided to take it to a shop here and get it checked out. MY BIKE FRAME IS CRACKED!!! They said that if I hit a big bump, it could break and throw me off. Not a good thing. Fortunately they had demo bikes to try, so I picked up this sweet black one to ride tomorrow. (Below) It looks fast so we’ll see. They did a custom fitting so I think I’ll like it.

Loaner Bike from Trek

Initially they told me that I could try a different one to demo each day, but after further discussion a couple of things came up: 1) They are only following the ride until Wednesday and 2) They have other people signed up for demo’s, so it will depend if they have one available for me. Really hate to come this far and end up riding the SAG wagon from town to town. I guess we’ll see how this plays out.

About 43 miles to Denison tomorrow. I’m hoping there’s not a break in period! This will be one of the shortest days of the ride.

RAGBRAI ’18 Begins

Well, Toni and I are packed and ready to head out. As always, this has been a challenge and we’re hitting the road a little later than planned – 1:30 in lieu of before noon… A challenge for me, not Toni. She was here early as usual.

On the positive side, I was able to get everything including my tent into my bag and under the 50 lb limit. So now I’m wondering what I’ve forgotten and whether I’ll be able to continue to keep it that tightly packed. Packing today was a lot easier than it will be inside a tent… in the dark… at 4:30 in the morning!

This has been a rough week with three nights that I didn’t get home until almost 10. I’m not exactly well rested as I head out today, so wish me luck! We’re looking at about a 4 hour drive through Chicago (which could extend the 5 hours) and across Illinois to get to the ending Town, Davenport, Iowa.

Check out updates here and on Twitter at: www.twitter.com/BergerAud15 Those will be a little more timely.