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.

RAGBRAI ’17 – The End

Someone spent A LOT of time on this cool arch.

Becky and Toni wrapped up yesterday and hit the road for home about 5. The drive back to Plymouth was 6+ hours to they were pretty wiped out when they got home a little after 11. They had a lot of issues getting out of the ending town. Apparently the End-of-Ride Festival had a lot of the streets shut down, so getting from the ending point, to the parking area, back to pick up the bikes and then getting out of town was difficult. It added time when they were already tired. They had decided they wanted something to eat, but that didn’t work out and they ended up just buying gas station snacks for the way home. Oh, and a Culver’s Concrete Mixer…

Exciting and sometimes scary with all the people on the slopes

Becky said the last day was tough, but fun, with switchbacks up and down though lots of small mountains. There are some pictures at the end of the post, but it’s hard to capture the scope and scale of the slopes. She saw several accidents and possibly one fatality.

She was frustrated on the one hill. There was someone in front of her going slow who stopped suddenly. Becky was going slow also and was right behind him, so was forced to stop. She couldn’t get enough momentum to get her bike going again, so she had to walk the rest of the hill.

Lots of people decorate their bikes

She said the Iowa Dairy Queen was out passing out milk. She usually stops for that, but since the beer tent was just past that, she decided to pass. For some reason didn’t she think beer and milk together would be the best choice when she was hot. The towns all have different things going on, so the wall that she signed and the bicycle arch pictures are just a couple of the things she saw. She says there is a lot of cool stuff out there.

Beer with 200 of my closest friends yesterday.

Apparently the craft beer tent is always popular. (Imagine That!) They have a drink ticket program where if you get it stamped enough times during the week, you get a T-shirt. Becky and Toni only stopped a couple of times, so they weren’t in the running for a shirt.

Becky always talks about the showers and when they get good ones, and how sometimes they aren’t so great. Apparently some people just avoid them! She said by the end of the week, there are some pretty stinky people! Standing in line with them is an added challenge. Ha!

She didn’t want to take my number…

I think that about wraps things up. Thanks for following.

RAGBRAI ’17 – Friday Update

Getting our Protein and Veggies

I didn’t hear much from Becky yesterday. She said they finally found the hills, but that has led to poor reception. It can’t help to have 10,000 other people around you trying to get service at the same time. She only sent one picture which I posted. Even at the end of the day in the larger town, she couldn’t get service to call.

She did say that she and Toni were having fun yesterday. She’s been having issues with her lips being windburned/sunburned. You can kind of see that in the picture from yesterday and the firefighter one from today. She said she would try and do better and send more. I’ll tweet them out as I get them.

Toni and I playing water ball with the hunky firefighters.

Today she’s been playing water ball with “hunky firefighters” and she just topped out at 42.2 mph going down one of the hills. The climb up the other side doesn’t sound like much fun…

Just had a huge downhill at 42.2 mph. It was awesome! Not looking forward to going back up the other side.

Rope Swing for cooling off

RAGBRAI ’17 – Wednesday Update


Riders are laughing at the sign and the “Duesey of a Town”, but I think they’re missing the explanation at the bottom.

The girls seem to be doing okay. Becky said things were getting to her a bit yesterday and she was grouchy, but Toni said she was fine. Vice versa, apparently Toni was a little testy tonight when they got in and their bags had been sitting out and got wet. They rode through a lot of light rain today, which Becky said was mostly okay. Better than the wind yesterday. She said she had wind burn from yesterday. They had mostly headwinds and the report was that it was consistently around 17 miles an hour.

There was a little excitement tonight. Someone slipped and fell in the shower. Feet went out from under her, fell backwards onto her back and hit her head. Had to be carried out.  She said it was a little scary. Then they went for Pizza tonight and waited over an hour to get served. They weren’t happy.

As if this isn’t difficult enough on my road bike!

Tonight she camped by the Kybos. Said that was the only option. She was mainly concerned about the slamming doors. Then some guy came in and set his tent right in front of her door. She’s going to have to climb over it to get out. She was amused when she signed off tonight. She just heard him tell his friend to set his alarm for 9:55. He’s not going to be happy when Becky’s alarm goes off at 4:30 and she gets up and starts packing up.  🙂

Enjoying Beer and Music in the Park in Garner, IA. A pleasant lunch spot!

Creative Water Bottle Filling Station

Cool House outside Clear Lake

Pancakes and Sausage for Breakfast Wednesday Morning

Looks like my dog, though I can’t imagine Murphy going for that! This have me a “dog fix” at least. I’m missing Murphy!

The things you see on #RAGBRAI… I didn’t know these even existed anymore! There was no dial tone though…

RAGBRAI ’17 – Monday Update

I’m taking over the writing here to update you on Becky’s RAGBRAI journey. I do this for friends and family, so thought it would be worth sharing with her clients following online.

  •  Kevin

Becky and her sister-in-law, Toni, headed out for Iowa last Friday. Toni got to our house a little before 10, but they ran into complications with the new bike carrier and didn’t get on the road until after noon. Both of their bikes have small frames, so getting them on the standard size carrier was a challenge.

Toasting their arrival and the start of this year’s adventure.

This RAGBRAI route is in the northern part of the State. It’s a little shorter at under 450 miles, but very hilly… or as Becky said, small mountains…. She had been worried about getting through Chicago, but said getting to Chicago was worse. Lots of road construction. Then at  the end of the trip, Google took her on a lot of county roads. She said it was pretty going around cuts into the hillside, but it wasn’t a direct route.

They had been concerned about rain forecasts in Iowa for Friday, but the rain had stopped when they got there. Unfortunately, the camp site was still wet and muddy. It wasn’t a huge campsite, but Becky was still concerned that there were only two Kybos for the whole site.

Saturday morning there were some issues with their bags when they got to the charter bus. They are allowed 50 lb and they’re always pushing it to the limit. Because of the wet tents they were over, so they had to do some creative repacking. The trip to the West side of Iowa was uneventful, though most of the trip was through Minnesota… that’s how far north they were. Becky said everyone sounds like extras from Fargo with the accents and speech patterns.

Becky and Toni on the Pea Pod

Saturday night’s campsite was a little better. They found a grassy spot to set up. Rich, the guy that traveled with them in the past, bailed this year. Apparently some health problems. Becky had bought some blow-up seats. They blow up by whipping them around to catch the wind and then they look like a big pea pod. Toni didn’t have room for hers, so they shared one. It got them off the ground, but she said it was tough not rolling against each other.

They always seem to find Ice Cream. They’re still hunting for the Maple Bacon Ice Cream they had a couple of years ago…

Sunday was the first day of riding. It was about a 60 mile day. Unfortunately they missed the sign for the campsite and added about 7 miles to the day. Becky said it went pretty well, but she was really yawning when we talked at about 9:30 last night. She was bummed that the battery charger on her bike wasn’t working so she was having to find places to charge the phone. Becky found the craft beer tent along the way. They met up and found ice cream and walking tacos along the way too. Last night was Chinese noodles for supper.

I’ve heard from her a couple of times today and she’s doing okay, though a little sore. She bought a new bicycle seat and hadn’t broken it in before leaving. Apparently it’s breaking HER in at this point.  She’s better than 3/4’s of the way through today, so she’ll be fine.

I think those are the highlights. I’ll also post some things to BergerAud15 on twitter if you want to follow that.


Those of you that know me, know I’m down to the wire in my preparations for RAGBRAI. (And for those of you that want to know more about this year’s RAGBRAI, follow the link here.)  I’m known to procrastinate in my training, but this year has been a little worse than usual. I’m not much for cold weather riding, so I didn’t get started as soon as I would have liked. Then I came down with a cold over Memorial Day weekend which turned into Pneumonia. It’s hard to ride a bike when you can’t breathe, so I lost almost four weeks to illness. I felt like I was back starting from scratch when I got back out after that.

I’m back on the saddle now though and putting in a few more miles each weekend. This weekend I took advantage of the holiday and got in about 100 miles. I rode around Ancilla College on Saturday, put in about 60 miles on the Nickle Plate Trail out of Rochester on Sunday and got another 25 miles in around Lake Maxinkuckee on the 4th. I’ve only got about three weeks to go though before I hit the road on the 21st  for Lansing, Iowa. They usually recommend getting in about 600 miles of training before RAGBRAI, but I’m going to be hard pressed to get that total this year.

If you’re interested in following me, I’ll have Kevin post some updates and pictures that week. Stop by and wish me luck before then! Plan your hearing aid breakdowns to be simple the week of July 24th. Sandy will be holding the fort down all on her own.