RABRAI is a bike tour/party we need to do someday with ten thousand other cyclists. The route is mostly flat, hot, and 442 miles with lots of beer.
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Mostly flat!? Hah. In 2003 when I did it the 1st time, we were riding fully self-supported on our cross country tour and there was 16,000 feet of elevation gain, mostly 100-300 ft at a time. The route went across the south that year.
We’ve never done it, but noted in the marketing materials that they said, “flat.”
Just got back from my first RAGBRAI (2010). I went with a bit of arrogance and a bit of anxiety (“what if I play like it’s not a big deal and it kicks my arse?”) not to mention that my wife was coming along with.
The first day I hit the wall about 50 miles into it mostly because of the heat, humidity and my lack of hydration in spite of trying to keep a constant intake of fluids but after I ate and figured out a hydration routine I had no trouble keeping pace with the rest of weeks party.
There was a mile long 19% grade roller on the last day also known as Potter’s Hill but the only reason I briefly thought I might get off was so I wouldn’t run over the walkers. I kept upright and pedalling however and my wife estimated that about 90% of the riders walked up the hill, however, by then most, of them had already consumed a case or two of Miller Lite (one of the major advertisers of the RAG). In fact many onlookers and roadside cheerleaders had a cold frosty in hand to pass off to any riders who would partake and I must admit I took them up on their offer a couple of times on that hot day but only until I was in Dubuque of course.
Yes, the promoters will tell you that RAGBRAI is flat and to a PNWesterner it comparatively is but like Josh mentioned, there are some routes particularly the southern routes as I’ve heard which are very hilly. But until I meet that part of Iowa, the most challenging part of RAGBRAI is trying to keep ahead of Team Lizard, a rolling Animal House, but behind the girls in kilts - evidently someone told them that “real men don’t wear anything under their kilts” and decided to one up the kilted men… which I can attest to. Maybe that’s what got me up Potter’s Hill!
BTW: a little Bike Hugger splash on Le Tour de Iowa: http://twitpic.com/298gzt
excellent report! Thanks.
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