RAGBRAI L: Epilogue

Omaha to Los Angeles, 1,500 miles, 32,000 feet of climb. 🙂

I’m writing this two months since RAGBRAI L. I’ve had plenty of time to mull over the event and gather my thoughts. I’ve probably done my last RAGBRAI.

Was RAGBRAI L fun? It was. For me, it’s all about Iowa and its people. The locals that come out and cheer the riders on. Offering cold water, spraying cold water. Passing through small towns you’ve never been to, and probably won’t again. Miles and miles of corn, a pretty spectacular site. The riders that come in every shape, size and skill level. Road bikes, touring bikes, mountain bikes, recumbent bikes, tandem bikes. Unicycles. The Air Force team.

Yes, I have fond memories of RAGBRAI L. Tempered with memories of crowds, long lines, heat, hills, and headwinds. RAGBRAI L was radically different from RAGBRAI XLVIII that I rode in 2021. Longer overall route, averaging over 70 miles per day. If you were riding across the U.S. and you had a day where you rode 90 miles, the next day would probably be a recovery day.

There are no recovery days at RAGBRAI. Every day you must have the mindset that you’re going to get up and ride to the next overnight town. You can take your time getting there, but get there you must. No choice.

Your expectation should be that the ride won’t be a piece of cake. That you may have bike issues, like I did. I certainly hadn’t counted on damaging my crankset, but that’s what happened, and I was lucky to get it replaced and continue the ride.

I still haven’t mastered the logistics of getting to and from RAGBRAI. The nonstop flight from LAX to OMA was good, but choosing a second charter to get from Omaha to Sioux City was a mistake. I wasted an entire Saturday doing so. Next time (if there is a next time), I would rent a car at the airport, drive and then park at the ride start town. Get a weekly rate. Assemble my bike and leave the travel case in the trunk. Utilize one charter to get my stuff from town to town, and then a ride back at the end. Car waiting for me.

Whether or not I’ll actually do another RAGBRAI is uncertain. But you never know…

Author: brianbartleyberlin

Adventure cyclist. No spandex, carbon fiber or cleats. My ride is a 2010 Surly Long Haul Trucker, made of steel, built to last.

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