by Sheena Adkins + Mike Frampton, PeopleForBikes East Coast events crew
Sheena and Mike ready to roll at their first RAGBRAI.
For weeks leading up to RAGBRAI, people told us countless stories about their RAGBRAI experiences. These stories got us excited about the famous event we were about to take part in. From the long days of riding to its many food stops, RAGBRAI clearly has left a lasting impression on thousands of participants. We couldn?t wait to experience it firsthand.
Little did we know just how much RAGBRAI would push our limits. In just one week, we packed in a number of cycling firsts:
Never have I ever (until RAGBRAI): Ridden more than 35 miles in one day
Although this might seem obvious, RAGBRAI is a LONG ride. Most days were at least double what we had ever ridden before. Riders warned us to buy some chamois cream and stay hydrated, but all the advice couldn’t prepare us for what riding 70 miles in one day would feel like. Luckily for us, it felt great!
Never have I ever (until RAGBRAI): Eaten pie for five days straight
Pies, pies and more pies. Inside restaurants and churches and fire halls, RAGBRAI is filled with so many delicious pie stops. We wouldn?t have had a true RAGBRAI experience if we didn’t stop each day for a giant slice.
Our daily pie
Never have I ever (until RAGBRAI): Taken multiple cold showers from a hose
We were told camping in each town would be a breeze. Open camping is found all throughout the cities, and showers were at most of the camping sites. What people failed to mention was that a “shower” may just be a hose hooked up to a faucet. Each day we lathered up in our full riding kits while others sprayed us down with a garden hose. It’s a great way to make new friends quick!
Never have I ever (until RAGBRAI): Ridden in a paceline
This was both the scariest and most exciting part of our week at RAGBRAI. On our century day of RAGBRAI, we were fighting some very strong winds. A group of riders from Indianapolis came up beside us in a pace line and yelled ?Join us!? We were very skeptical at first, knowing we had never ridden so close to other riders, but since we were struggling to fight the wind we decided to give it a shot. We moved into the line and announced that we had never ridden in a paceline. This was the key?by announcing that we were newbies, the group was able to give us tips and help us make the most of our time in the pack. Within half an hour were had found our groove and saved a lot of energy that we desperately would need for the rest of the week.
Never have I ever (until RAGBRAI): Tossed a toilet bowl
Riders that participated in the optional century loop were fortunate to ride though Burt, IA, home of the “World Famous Toilet Toss.” Upon arriving in town, we saw the sand pit for the toilet toss. Male riders tossed a toilet bowl and female riders tossed a toilet tank lid. We both gave it toss! No records were broken, but it was exciting to hear the crowd cheer after every toss.
After a full week of firsts at our inaugural RAGBRAI, it’s safe to say that we’ll be back for seconds!
Tossing toilets in Burt, IA