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  • Writer's pictureBig Rick Stuart

RAGBRAI I Did It! The Question Is...

the 2021 RAGBRAI route is going to be announced this Saturday online at

This is a post from 2017 I did on my old blog after I got back from my 1st Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) with some updates


Would I do it again?

I am working on getting my photos together and writing more about RAGBRAI the Registers Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. There are so many stories to tell and things I was surprised by it will take me a while. It is hard to describe. It is so much more than over 10,000 bicycle riders spending a week on bicycles going across Iowa.

Part of my RAGBRAI experience was doing daily phone reports to our morning show Good Morning Bob on 99.3 The Vine in Napa.

Would I do it again? I want to. This was the 3rd shortest route and 3rd least climbing (no Iowa isn't flat) and every day kicked my butt. The weather wasn't as hot as usual - so they all said.

Every day was tough. I could barely get to camp to have dinner then was so tired I just about collapsed and was asleep by 9 or 10 every night.

I missed all the night time concerts and fun stuff in the overnight towns because I was too tired. By mid week 45 miles in to a 60 mile day I was struggling.

Don't get me wrong it was really fun. The daytime towns we visited were really cool and interesting and super fun!

Iowa's The Spacemen rocked out at the 2017 RAGBRAI doing covers of AC/DC and more. People loved them!

The towns welcome the bicycle riders with food, music, cold beers, games to play and more. I've even seen Pro Wrestling matches in a real ring setup in a town square!

Team Flamingo is a group of 35 or so from the Cedar Valley Iowa and beyond that have about 40 years of riding Ragbrai. In that time, the team has raised over $100,000 for a variety of causes, such as a handicap accessible playground and scholarships for at-risk kids. You can't miss them on the ride.

Yes I had fun and saw a lot of crazy things but in 2017 I don't think I could have done it if it was longer, had more climbs, or was hotter.

All my friends that ride would love RAGBRAI and they are all in much better shape to enjoy it all. I highly recommend they do it no matter the course route (it changes every year)

So the answer is yes I would do it again but I have to keep at it to get in better shape. I want to have even more fun and not finish every day so whooped.

It was the toughest thing I have ever done and I am really glad I did it. A benefit many RAGBRAI riders talk about is "the decision to do RAGBRAI changed my eating and exercise choices for the year before the ride."

That's true for me for sure. I'm probably in the best condition I have been in for a long time and I don't think it is that far to go to be able to comfortably do the ride again if I stay at it.

I'm in better condition now than in 2017. The fun and challenge have combined to make a healthier me. That's a big win.

I remember the hand crank lay down paraplegic trike bicycle rider I talked with, the 90 year old RAGBRAI veterans, the big guys and gals that I saw riding, and I will think of them all as I train.

During the week I thought about the 1st time I did a nonstop 5 mile bicycle ride in the Oakland Hills. I was so flippin happy! It was so tough to get that milestone. That wasn't so long ago!

a 2017 overnight tent city with Pork Belly Ventures the RAGBRAI charter I used for my "week in the corn" on RAGBRAI 2017, 2018, 2019

I went back in 2018 and 2019. I was in better shape and more relaxed because I knew what to expect during the week. Riding with that many people can be stressful but you learn a few road manners and fall in line and ride your pace. Everyone looks out for each other.

The week ends up being 7 days and around 475 miles with a long day of about 80 miles and the rest 50 - 60 mile days. One day has a 100 mile "Century" option and one day has a Gravel loop.

I went back for more! 2018 and 2019 all had their own adventures and once again I had a great time. The Pandemic cancelled 2020. As of Jan 2021 there is a RAGBRAI scheduled. I am not sure if it will happen the last week of July as scheduled. I am not sure if I will choose to go.

But I REALLY want to go!

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