This year's ride was really a piece of cake. I did very little training, probably rode about 250 miles in total prior to going and I did fine. There were a few days of tough hills, but it was offset with days of really flat rides too! We had crazy rain, crazy headwinds, and crazy heat...as usual a good time nonetheless!
On Saturday Josh drove me to meet up with Amy who I have ridden with since year 1. He dropped me and my stuff off and we decided to drop it off in the first overnight town. After exploring the town we thought - maybe a bad idea as we had no idea where the drivers we were riding with were going to camp.
So, we met up with them at their campsite and loaded our stuff into their motorhome. They were the aunt and uncle of Amy's brother's girlfriend...I know it takes a minute! But, anytime we can get a ride for our gear, we are up for it! Having the ragbrai truck haul yourstuff is less than ideal!
Sunday we got up early and Pat (amy's boyfriend) drove us to the starting line. We jumped on and off we went! It was only 55ish miles so really a great way to start! The weather was awesome, we got our biking highs and enjoyed the day!
We met up with our driving team. They were wonderful hosts, super sweet with a great puppy! I think they had fun with us too :) We had a great spot in Harlan, had a great shower and slept pretty well!
Day two we were excited because we knew we would have a real shower in Perry. We were meeting up with Edna as she lives there. We hit the road pretty early as it was an 80 mile day. We were also nervous about the approaching storm, Amy HATES storms :)
First stop of the day was a little town called Kimbilton. It had sub par food so we barreled through :)
After we got into Perry it took us a bit to find the campsite. They had found a place to plug in their RV, so it was way off the beaten path. We rode our bikes to Edna's and definitely enjoyed the shower. Em happened to be there doing puzzles, so was good to see her! We rode across the street and had dinner at a local church, called our families and were looking forward to seeing Hairball that night (80s band.)
The storm started rolling in and we hustled back to camp. We quickly set up our tent and it started to rain. Amy was the last one to get into the RV and then she went back out to get something. After she had been out for a while I stuck my head out to see what she was doing. She yelled "The tent blew away!!" So I get my shoes on and we run out to the cornfield to get the tent. We are soaked, the tent is soaked, we are muddy it was crazy. It became a big joke, because i wanted to set it up and she didn't :) We shoved the tent under the RV and slept on the couches that night :) Was dry and great with the crazy lightening, wind and rain!
Day 3 was a great ride! It was a short day, and I knew at the end of this ride I'd get to see my hubby and kids!! We quickly made it to Dallas Center and hung out for a bit. We had a snack, met a monkey, and enjoyed the crazies and some picture ops :)
I made Amy stop in West Des Moines at the Iowa shop and the corn hat.
We got to see this fitness place show off their dance moves, some bikers jumped in :)
After messing around in West Des moines for a while we decided to get going to Des Moines. The Ragbrai campground was in a big park by Grey's Lake and EVERYONE was there. I could not believe the amount of campers as far as the eye could see! Wish I could have gotten a picture. We beat our drivers, so took a shuttle downtown to Des Moines. We walked around the various booths and had a GREAT burger and beer at 3rd and court. Then my family came down to visit us! My mom brought Chels and the kids. We walked around some more and they got ice cream sandwiches, which was awesome. Was really hard to tell them goodbye, Zachey and Kenna were pretty upset :(
We managed to get back to the campground and searched forever for our drivers. They were tucked way in the back corner behind some trees. So happy to finally spot them! We showered and waited for Josh to come and visit after work. He drove us back downtown where we enjoyed some of the concert and I just really liked seeing him!
Two under 50 mile days in a row is really a piece of cake! We road through Des Moines and saw the capital.Weaved through all the little neighborhoods and crowds. Got held up by a train crossing. Riding over the lakes was always fun and pretty!
Shinanigans happening in Monroe!
We had a good time in Fairfield. All of the town squares started to look the same, but we tried to enjoy our last night! Saw a guy raising money by wearing a speedo - pretty sure it was a good charity...we had chinese and met some guys that did the "ride the rockies" bike ride...much more conditioning is needed, and people die every year....no thanks!
Because I waited too long to write this I think that day 6 was the day we were starving...nothing for breakfast all along the route and finally found something in the meeting town! I had a BLT and it was the best thing I ate all week!!!
Everyone else stopped too to enjoy the food, we were starving!
There were a few things that we wanted to do before we got to the end. I had not had a porkchop yet, which is one of my favorite things...so we stopped in line to get one...man that was a LONNNNNG line as they weren't operating on Saturday, so everyone knew it was their last chance!
I totally need to get in with these guys next year! Superhero group!!
Don't think Amy was as impressed as I am with the porkchops :)
Josh told me that a few miles outside of Fairfield (final town of the day) he had heard on the radio that someone had made THE BEST brownies on the earth and that I should stop and buy one. So I was sort of keeping my eyes open. We stopped a few miles outside of town at this farmer's house. He had a ton of beer, a band and had created a waterslide out of an electric pump, hay bales and tarp...it was pretty amazing. We use the porta potties and watched people get totally muddy and wet on the slide :)
We took off and was almost into town. I rode my bike by what looked like an acadia and a guy selling gatorade. I had to look twice because man did he look like Josh. On second glance it WAS JOSH!! I quickly turned around and out ran the kids from the car all screaming "Mom!" He had been waiting there for quite a while waiting to meet me on the route. It was probably the best surprise I had ever had. I was COMPLETELY shocked....was soooo good to see them all!
Josh took the kids to a waterpark that night and met us at the finish the next day :) What an awesome surprise!
From West Point it was only 10 miles until the end! We booked it and made it in great time! Got to ride through the whole town and enjoy some great speedy downhills to the river! We were not going to wait in the dip your tire line, so snuck off into the rocks and did our bike pose!
Got to sit by Kenna on the way home...we had some silliness happening in the back of the Acadia :) Was fun but each year I get more and more homesick...and this week I had to keep up with work since there really was no one watching things since Char was off!! One more down, it was really not very difficult this year...will have to train a bit more next year as it will probably be much longer!