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RAGBRAI Continued

By days three and four we were getting into the routine of the ride. Naturally you need to drink and eat even if you’re not thirsty or hungry, and for me that meant stopping at timed intervals and drinking about a liter of water or diluted Gatorade. Mini breaks also gave me the opportunity to stretch my back and shoulder muscles, and get out of the saddle a few minutes to give the tired butt a rest! We also learned that once at the new destination it was wise to get the luggage and set up camp. Nick was usually at the site first and would set up the tents which really made the arrival for Gary and I less stressful. After an 80 mile ride the last thing you want to do is find your luggage in the heap of baggage, then set up the tent. Nick’s early arrival, luggage retrieval and setting up the camp site was especially appreciated by yours truly as I wearily peddled into the day’s destination.
The riders I met along the way were all very interesting. They were from all around the world, but most of the ones I talked to were from all across the US. The riders seemed to be split between seasoned RAGBRAI participants and newbies. They were all very courteous and friendly, always willing to help fellow riders. When ever a bike was on the shoulder, many would yell as they rode by, “you need help?” I also noticed that many wore jerseys from other rides, and most were fund raisers. They were sporting jerseys for the American Cancer Society, The Diabetes Foundation, Leukemia research, and Habitat for Humanity just to name a very few. I really enjoyed being associated with the caliber of person in this annual bike ride.
The enthusiasm in each town we passed through was also phenomenal. Gary said it best, ” the locals treat us like rock stars!” They had high school bands and cheerleaders and usually gave us free water or frozen slushies. And when we arrived, we came by the thousands!! The locals were happy because we purchased any and everything we could eat or drink. This annual event was a huge boost to the economy of every town we passed through. Many of the riders would visit the beer gardens since beer distributors were one of the main sponsors. Even though I wanted beer along the way, I disciplined myself to hold off on the brew until after I arrived at the days destination.
Some participants stayed in hotel rooms, some slept in schools and churches, but most stayed in tents. Our tent city was huge!! The sea of tents was quite a spectacle. The end of ride always meant a quick shower, dinner with live music and of course several cold, very welcome beers!!! Then in the sleeping bag by 10:00 or earlier because the Trumpet will be blaring again at 6:00am. No time to say I’m tired, just time to wipe the blood shot eyes, smear on the GLIDE, slide into riding shorts and start peddling

Town greeting

Town greeting

Gary taking a much needed break!

Gary taking a much needed break!

Posing with town greeters.

Posing with town greeters.

Nicks ready for lunch.

Nicks ready for lunch.

Tent City

Tent City

!!! More to come……..