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.

Sunday, July 31, 2005

DAY 7: A Dip at the End

RAGBRAI traditionally ends at the Mississippi River, which forms the eastern border of Iowa.

Iowa began to feel like something other than Iowa today. The roads began to curve, flatlands became rolling hills, towns got closer together, we began to share the road with a few more cars, and everything about the ride seemed to gently tell us that Iowa and RAGBRAI were coming to a conclusion.

I don't think people stopped at the towns as much today. Maybe we were thinking about getting back home.

It seemed like there was a little less complaining about the hills, even though there were probably a few more of them today. This is not to say that the RAGBRAI riders were completely accepting of the hills. One high school age girl I was riding near rounded a corner, saw another hill, and muttered aloud, "Oh, Sugar."

This was the last day of riding in an enormous group. When you are riding RAGBRAI and someone ahead shouts "RUMBLES," don't assume that it means the Sharks and the Jets are about to square off in a well-choreographed knife fight. It simply means you are about to go over rumble strips, which come in groups of three before intersections. They are very rough to ride over and most riders try to avoid them.

My last breakfast on RAGBRAI was at Danny Cakes. Team Cow was there too. They are on the right, wearing cow suits.

This just in: Taco in a Bag (mentioned in the Day 3 audio post) is also known as a Walking Taco. Don't know about you, but I'd prefer that my tacos just lay there.

Team Go Nuts has a demented squirrel wearing a bike helmet as its logo.

It is with deep disappointment that I report that I forgot to see The World's Largest Cheeto in Algona.

There were some nice pass-through towns--including Elgin, the Little Switzerland of Iowa--but the real star of today's ride was the Mississippi River. We reached the river at the town of Guttenberg and dipped our front tires in the water, signifying the end of the ride.

I got my first glimpse of the Mississippi after we emerged from a wooded section of The Great River Road. There were a large number of riders who had pulled off onto a grassy area on the left side of the road. I stopped to see what they were seeing. It was a spectacular river overlook.

After riding down a steep hill--both a sign and a police officer warned us to keep our speed down--we hit the outskirts of Guttenberg. Teams were assembling (in the shade if they could) in order to ride to the end together. Under one tree were the CUBS, who had been so funny doing KYBO Roulette. The Air Force team was massing near another tree. The guy with the enormous ear of corn on his helmet was waiting for friends.

Guttenberg is a charming little town. We rode First Street along the riverfront. It was a wild party atmosphere. I felt a mixture of sadness and relief that the ride was almost over.

The tire dipping was at a boat landing. There was a big picture-snapping crowd there, and it took a while to get the chance to dip. A few people were jumping off a nearby dock. As I was dipping, someone jumped and a little ripple of water sloshed into my shoe. So it was done. Both my bike and I had been dipped.

Here is proof of completion as I dip my front tire into the Missisippi River. If you look closely you can see a guy about to leap off the nearby dock, which caused my shoe to be dipped too.

I had completed RAGBRAI XXXIII.

57.04 Miles


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