I returned home from Ragbrai on Saturday evening, and I’ve been trying to find a word to describe the entire experience.
I mean, I’m a writer, lover of words, but I couldn’t really come up with a good one. Sure, amazing, tiring, scary, unforgettable came to mind. Those are all fine and dandy.
But how do you put to words riding 407 miles in five days. I did the math…yes, I needed a calculator…81.4 miles per day.
I can’t even say that without shaking my head in disbelief.
So, I figured I’d take a little bit at a time and chat about the ride this week.
Arriving in Sioux Center was pretty emotional. It was my first time returning after my mother-in-law, Lynn’s, funeral. Lynn had such a significant impact on me and my writing, it stung a little. She would have LOVED this Ragbrai event.
But, her name was on my bike. There are a few names on there as you can see. Mary, Lynn, and Bob lost their battle with cancer over the past 12 months. That’s three deaths in twelve months. My heart breaks for the loved ones of those who have passed. It’s such a painful experience to watch one you love die from cancer. Sandy and Penny are fighting through chemo and radiation. And my dear friend, Josh, recently suffered a traumatic brain injury after being involved in a bike crash.
So, this ride was for you all!
The pain I suffered on that hilly 104-mile day was nothing compared to what you guys face. When I wanted to quit, I thought of you. Especially Penny. She was scheduled to be on this ride, not me. And when she was diagnosed, she transferred her registration to me. So, she’ll be getting that Ragbrai jersey and patch for sure!
We had a great welcome to Sioux Center and had a great time at the expo and pasta feed. The energy was high in anticipation of an early morning start. Day one was 54.4 miles from Sioux Center to Cherokee with 1,675 feet of climb.