"If I can make it there I'm gonna make it anywhere..."
Atlantic, Iowa RAGBRAI 2019
The 1st day of the 2019 week long bicycle ride across Iowa was wet. It rained almost all day until about 3pm.
That was ok since it kept the temperature down (but it wasn't cold) and most of the 20,000 riders had some kind of rain gear.
The hot shower trailers from my camping group Pork Belly Ventures were a welcome sight.
I was tired after a wet 60 mile ride. I set up my tent in a barn and grabbed dry clothes.
I got in the fast moving line for a hot shower.
Then music started to play.
A guy starts to introduce himself.
Then he sings Sinatra songs. He was really good!
It was totally unexpected and put a smile on everyone's wet and somewhat exhausted faces.
After dinner there was a rockin' roots surf band on the Pork Belly main stage.
Every night there is music in camp but the Sinatra at the Showers Show was a surprise.
That's how things are on RAGBRAI.
Every day is different and while it is 7 days and about 470 miles on a bicycle it is everything else that happens on the ride that you remember.
The small towns you visit every day love to have you.
The slightly bigger towns where you spend the night always have big downtown parties.
Farmers make rope swings at their ponds.
Mr. Tuba is rocking out in a park.
Mr. Porkchop has giant smoked pork chops on a stick with a beer, margarita, and karaoke party on the lawn next door.
Music is everywhere. Food is everywhere. Bicycles are everywhere. Corn is everywhere!
Don't miss the water slides locals have ready for you to try out on their front lawn.
Buy bananas and water to help the local kids improve a baseball field, or go to Washington D.C. on a field trip, or help fix the leaky roof at the church.
The volunteer fire department probably has an all day breakfast.
It is probably really really good.
You spend a week with various people with various abilities and disabilities of all ages from all over the world riding about 70 miles a day. It's not always easy but we somehow pull each other along. You will see people in their 60's, 70's, and 80+ doing the ride.
The hundreds of members of the Air Force Cycling Team help fix flats, broken chains, boost morale, and more. No charge.
It is people at their best.
That's why I say the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) is 51% a bicycle ride and 49% so much more.
Right about now I should be shipping my bicycle to Pork Belly Ventures Headquarters in Council Bluffs, Iowa.
It isn't happening this year. I will miss it.
Adventure Documentarian Ryan Van Duzer has a few videos about RAGBRAI like this one