RAGBlog contains text and audio commentary surrounding my participation in RAGBRAI XXXIII, July 24-30, 2005. RAGBRAI, which stands for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, draws about 10,000 bicyclists each year for the weeklong ride. Go back to the July 2005 quotes for daily commentary on the ride.

Friday, July 28, 2006


I'm sitting here in SoCal looking in online at the RAGBRAI I have had to miss. These headlines, posted just after noon on the next-to-last day, do a pretty good job of summing up the ride:

Latest updates

* Kerry joins RAGBRAI riders today 12:15 pm
* Dangers of riding behind Armstrong 11:34 am
* Explosion on bike route injures one 10:12 am
* A bit of pie, palaver and presto - Armstrong hits Marengo
* Locally made pork on a stick lures bikers 10:11 am

What other ride has all of that?

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

See You in 2007

Until next time...

I will not be riding RAGBRAI in 2006. I wish good luck and strong tailwinds for those will be part of this year's event.

See you down the road.

Postscript, Sept. 7, 2006. For what it's worth, here's what I did on my summer vacation from RAGBRAI in 2006.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Let's Do Lunch in Lambs Grove

This is Ottosen City Hall. Ottosen was a pass-through town on the century loop in 2005.

The pass-through towns for RAGBRAI XXXIV have been announced, ending much speculation about the specific route. The estimated route length of 444 miles is now confirmed. There is a nice draggable map of the route on the Des Moines Register web site.

The John Karras Century Loop should add an additional 32 or so miles to Day 3. Exact routing and length of the loop has not been announced.

Pass-through towns are important on RAGBRAI. They feed us and entertain us. They let us take over their libraries to check our email and post to our blogs. But most of all these often-tiny towns let us get a glimpse of America away from the cities, even away from the Interstates. Honestly, how often do folks from Los Angeles or Chicago or New York get to visit Lambs Grove or Sully or Guthrie Center?

For more detail than you'll ever need about RAGBRAI routes past and present, I recommend going to GeoBike.

Friday, February 10, 2006

Why RAGBRAI Is About Flesh-Eating Goats

If you think of RAGBRAI as merely a weeklong cross-state bike ride, you're missing a big part of the experience. RAGBRAI is also about those delightfully odd little moments that can and do happen long before the first wheel is turned or the first pork chop is grilled.

It may be off the official RAGBRAI message board by the time that you see this, but the last few days have been full of postings about huge, super-aggressive mosquitos, river rats, Asian beetles and other scary critters in Marengo, one of this year's overnight towns.

The original warnings, colorfully written and a little over the top, first caused horror, then confusion, and then anger among the RAGBRAI message board faithful. Some thought the posts were absolutely on the level. Others thought it was a sinister plot to scare RAGBRAI riders into avoiding Marengo. And still others saw it as the bitter fallout from a recent city council election.

And eventually, in true RAGBRAI fashion, the drama and chaos turned to comedy. Dire warnings about freaky monkeys and flesh-eating goats made their way into the discussion. Marengo became a cross between Mayberry and "The Night of the Living Dead."

I imagine that on nights when the moon is full the flesh-eating goats of Marengo, Iowa mass near the river and bay in unison, "RAAAAAAAAAAG BRAAAAAAAAAIIII! "RAAAAAAAAAAG BRAAAAAAAAAIIII!"

It's a weeklong bike ride, yes, but it's also a lot more.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Happy New RAGBRAI Year!

This weekend--when the RAGBRAI route is officially released online and then in print--marks the beginning of the new RAGBRAI year. It's a time when people who are nowhere near Iowa start looking up the home pages of places like Sergeant Bluff (this year's start town) or Waukee (which ought to have a baseball team called the Ewers.) And maybe it's time to head down to the Auto Club to pick up an Iowa road map.

If you are thinking about riding RAGBRAI this year, I invite you to go through my posts from July 2005. It will give you some sense of how my RAGBRAI rookie year went. Send me any questions or comments. For a second, third and additional opinions, I recommend that you head off to www.ragbrai.org and take a look at the message boards.

See you down the road.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Time to Begin Thinking About RAGBRAI 2006

Monday, August 08, 2005

World's Largest Cheeto

RAGBRAI and Mutant Snack Food ... It was just meant to be.

I am filled with Cheeto Remorse.

The World’s Largest Cheeto was in Algona, one of the RAGBRAI overnight towns, and I rode right past it (the Cheeto, not the town).

So I put out a call on the RAGBRAI Message Board, asking whether anyone actually saw this mutant snack food, or if it was just a cruel hoax?

I'll let the photographic evidence speak for itself.

I also ran across a truly strange competition to do things, unspeakable things, to the Cheeto in Photoshop.