Wow, two years ago my first RAGBRAI lasted a loooooong time, LOL. The first or second day I could barely imagine how the next five or six days would pass. This time the days have flown by!
Today’s ride was hilly again, big surprise. And I found that I was tired. My hands and wrists hurt, my foot was getting fatigued in the clipless pedal, my leg muscles are tender. But again I rode up all the hills as slowly as I needed to. Others in my camping group spoke of being tired today, so I was gratified to know it wasn’t just me. That said, I know I’m in nowhere near the discomfort I was in this time two years ago (thanks in large part, probably, to heavy use of Chamois Butt’r!).
Our first pass-through town was Pella, a very cute little Dutch town. Lots of good food! We fueled up on Dutch traveler’s sandwiches (big slabs of bread, ring bologna, Gouda cheese, & a fried egg) & Dutch letters, almond paste-filled pastries. Passed through a couple other towns. Ride was scenic, but the weather was not as good as yesterday. It turned hot today, and a little humid. We just drank and pedaled, drank and pedaled.
You can see just about any kind of biker on RAGBRAI. Well, demographically, mostly rich white people (and here I’m talking about rich by world standards, not necessarily USA standards). But you see all kinds of bicycles, and all kinds of bike riding styles, from the fastest guys riding the most expensive carbon fiber bikes in pace lines, to an 86-year-old woman riding a comfort bike “just for kicks.” Yep, I’ve seen her every day. So, even though I feel a kind of kinship of cycling with everybody here, I also have to acknowledge that not everybody rides like I do. I don’t have to keep up with anybody, and nobody has to keep up, or down, with me.
I’m grateful that my spouse chooses to keep pace with me. A lot of people come to RAGBRAI with friends, but they split up on the road and meet in towns or at some other point, like Mr. Porkchop or Beekmans ice cream. As for me, I think i would find that most lonely! I love cycling, and I love my solitude, but I’ve never been drawn to solitary road rides. It’s a social event for me. I feel the same way about traveling. Sure, I can do it by myself, and I have done it, but I enjoy it so much more when I’m sharing the experience with somebody.