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.

Monday, July 25, 2005

DAY 1: Sensory Overload

The Chicago Urban Bicycle Society (CUBS) entertains the portapotty-awaiting masses in "KYBO Roulette."

The first day of RAGBRAI lived up to its reputation as an amazing festival of bicycling. All types--not just fast, fit club racers--ride this ride. Bikes range from beaters to the best that money can buy.

The headline in today's RAGBRAI special section in the Des Moines Register: "Ready, Sweat, Ride." It was hot, but temperatures probably did not get above the low 90s.

And there was a lot of fun on Day 1 of RAGBRAI. Kybo Roulette--where people bet on which portapotty door will open up next--was hilariously run by the Chicago Urban Bicycle Society (CUBS).

Team buses were all over. Some have rooftop decks and huge sound systems. In some of the pass-through towns bike traffic was so heavy that things slowed to a walk. Lines could be insanely long, but some things were oddly lineless.

Orange City was a particularly tidy little town on today's route. A nice little house was for sale in the residential district. Nice yard. Asking Price: $76,000.

Had my first RAGBRAI church meal from the Spalding Catholic Church. As with most, this was a fundraiser. Bratwurst and kraut.

Riders put lots of funny stuff on helmets: plastic ducks, dinosaurs, Twinkies, and one guy who had a 16-inch plastic ear of corn that looked more like the Hindenberg.

Met a man who rode the infamous "Soggy Monday" on RAGBRAI in 1981. He said the day was more cold than wet. He told me the way to deal with those weather conditions is to put baby oil or olive oil on your legs. It's warming and water-repellent.

A man with a 1980 or so touring bike said he wants to be buried with it: "What if you die and you find out it's one big bike ride up there."

Got to Sheldon, the overnight town, and one sign said:

$6 with band
$7 without band

I thought, that must be a pretty awful band.

(Turns out "band" meant the wristband given to all registered RAGBRAI participants.)

67.6 miles

Postscript: A whopper of a storm hit Sheldon after midnight. I'm a soggy survivor. Details in the next post.


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