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 29, 2005

DAY 5: Making Headway in Headwinds

The town of St. Ansgar had this nice bicycle-themed entryway.

The ride into Cresco was pleasant and fast overall, but the headwinds at the end of the day were a little rough.

A woman was riding into the stiff headwind, followed closely by two teenage boys. Said one of the boys to the other: "Bob, don't you feel embarrassed to be drafting off your mother?"

People get hurt on RAGBRAI. A bike went down near me as I was riding in a big peloton yesterday. It was near enough to be a little scary, but not so near that I was in any real danger from it. Best thing is not to hit the brakes because that can cause a chain reaction crash when riding in a big group.

A couple of times a day the ambulences will pass, sirens going. The Register said that the emergency vehicles are staffed with first year resident doctors, so that injured riders can get more care more quickly than a paramedic could provide.

We are in Mennonite country. Some of the families came out to watch the cyclists. Their clothes are straight out of Little House on the Prairie. They were curious about us and we were curious about them. All the Mennonite families seem to be big.

One group of Mennonites were selling handmade ice cream. The women were selling it out of a wagon while the men were hard-cranking it out back.

A group of Mennonites was selling ice cream along today's route.

Team Cow was on the road. The cow horns and ears attached to their helmets weren't so exceptional, not for RAGBRAI, but the cow-spotted bikes were above and beyond the call of duty.

Everyone from little kids to retirees come out to watch RAGBRAI pass through their town.

More on The Bicycles of RAGBRAI: I forgot to add in my audio post yesterday that Trek 520s--which I almost never see at home--are very common on RAGBRAI. It is good to see that there are others who appreciate the virtues of this not terribly fast or flashy, but rugged and reliable steel-framed touring bike.

Last Note on The Bicycles of RAGBRAI: There's a guy riding a vintage single-speed bike this week. The sign on the back says: "1941 Schwinn, 1939 Man." He has a second sign that says "Gears Are For Wimps." I passed him on a hill.

The headwind that made it hard to get into Cresco also made it a hassle to put up the tent. When I took the tent out it billowed like a parachute and wouldn't stop. I eventually got it pitched on the outfield grass behind the shortstop position on the high school softball field.

81.19 miles


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