During the last full week of July every year, ten thousand riders bike their way across the state of Iowa on a route that changes every year. This ride is called the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, and the ride in 2012 was the 40th. This was my fourth RAGBRAI and the longest one I’ve done to date. Although the route itself was 471 miles, by the end of my journey I had clocked 517 miles.
The ride this year started out okay, but then got excessively hot during days 2, 3 and 4. There were 9 of us that started out together. At the end of day 3 in Webster City, IA, three of our crew quit and went home. During the evening of day 4 in Marshalltown, IA, a thunderstorm ripped through our camp with high winds. It soaked my dad and his best friend’s tent and gear. They called it quits the following morning.
I arrived in Cedar Rapids at the end of a pleasant day 5 as there was a break in the heat. There were moderate winds that dried everything from the night before and made the evening very tolerable. Everyone was looking forward to the next day, which was an extremely short ride with a nice breeze and temperatures in the low 80s. Even riding slow, I finished before noon and had a long day to drink and relax.
The last day into Clinton, IA was my best ride of the week. Although I had woken up hungover and got a later start than most of my crew, I finished the 70 mile day, got my picture taken at the tire dipping site, got lost and found my way to the truck all before noon. That allowed me to dry out my tent and get a shower before the long bus ride back to Ankeny. With only four of us that made it, I really felt accomplished. I defeated Ragbrai 2012, and it felt great.