Sunday, January 25, 2015

2015 The Ragbrai: 1st Thoughts

One of the rituals of winter came and passed yesterday: the announcement of the overnights for the Ragbrai.  In years past I'd go out and purchase the Sunday edition of the Des Moines Register, the organizer, owner, sponsor and protector of the brand.  Then when internet and mobile phones came along I'd stare at screens and patiently wait.  Better still I'd find a bar stool at Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewery and wait it out there with a friend or two, map and Sharpies at hand and we'd plot out our summer's adventure.  Not this year.  My phone took a dump and it will be 3 to 5 business days until my replacement arrives.  And my friends are all dead or rather ride with someone else or rather be with others.  Damn near felt friendless and abandoned.  Planning to do the entire ride this year instead of fooking around drunk for 20 miles a day on near by trails none of this mattered.

I stayed at home and waited until 830 pm and caught the live stream from the announcement party.  Convenient especially since I cannot receive text for another 3 to 5 business days.  But the live stream was very annoying and the sound quality had me keep the volume at a minimum since I feared my speakers would tear.

Sioux City
Storm Lake
Fort Dodge
Cedar Falls

The route is North again.  Must be the 3rd or 4th year in a row that it is north.  This really does not bother me since i have not done the ride for nearly a decade.  We have been going self contained and making our own route for the last 10 years or so.  Last year we headed in the opposite direction.  Funny, Cedar Falls was the main target of last year's trip.

I do like northern routes.  Why?  because there are towns.  No 40 mile stretches of empty farmland.  The further east it goes the better the scenery.  No more looking for water towers, now looking for church steeples.  Hills help break up the monotony of flat corn land.

We bagged it out to Storm Lake the last time the Ragbrai stayed there.  Had a good time although it was the first overnight that I had to buy water.

Cedar Falls, Coralville and Hiawatha kinda bother me a bit since large metropolitan areas water down the Ragbrai experience.  But since we will be with the Road Pirates i am sure we will be experienced.  I am contemplating putting wide tires on the touring tandem and taking the Cedar Valley Nature trail to Hiawatha.  Yeah, a little off route!

I have been doing The Ragbrai since 1991 and never have stayed in Iowa city or Coralville.  Somehow we always seem to quit whenever the route overnights there.  So this year mary and I will break our "boycott" of Hawkeyeland.

I imagine the hills and views going into Davenport will be spectacular!  I miss riding along the Mississippi.  Hate to confess this but we have not ridden east of Des Moines since we started bagging instead of doing the Ragbrai proper.  I cannot wait to return on bicycle to that part of the state.

I am excited.  We will be riding with a group we have not ridden with.  Mary in I will be in outstanding shape having completed all our training by June in preparation for RASDak.  And the fact we will be on fast bikes for a change has us smiling.  We definitely will do the Century Loop.  Returning in style!

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