Tana enjoying some gelato

Whew! We did it! Okay, to be perfectly honest, I only did the last three days of RAGBRAI, so I can’t really brag, but for those of you who might be interested, here’s my impressions of this year’s ride.

Our first day, Thursday, from Tama to North Liberty, was the toughest for me. First, my chain picked up part of a tiny bungee cord, so I wasn’t able to change gears. Then, it rained — just a spit or or sprinkling at first, but enough that most folks got out their rain wear, and yes, some were sporting garbage bags! Finally, there seemed to be a lot more hills than I expected, or maybe it was just that the headwinds didn’t help. At any rate, we completed the 73 miles and were most grateful that we had real beds to sleep in that night.

Friday wasn’t too bad. I scored my first piece of homemade pie (apple pecan –yummy) at 9:49 a.m., but actually all the stops seemed to have gotten that memo and there was pie readily available all day long. I did notice that there has been a definite shift towards healthier foods since my last RAGBRAI. Mr. Porkchop was still there, but Tender Tom’s (grilled turkey) seemed more popular. Plus, there were lots of other options, such as vegetarian chili and fruit smoothies. The vendors also do a great job of promoting their products, many using the old Burma Shave poster technique. My favorite was” I scream — You scream — We all scream — for Gelato? — Italian Ice Cream Next Stop! I tried some blueberry pomegrante and it was delicious!

The last day, Saturday, was a breeze! We had beautiful weather and a tail wind to boot. We were easily an hour ahead of our expected schedule. Our nearby neighbors, Eldridge and LeClaire, were fully prepared and provided excellent reception parties for us. Eldridge even had a crew cleaning the porta-potty’s — that was a definite first! LeClaire organizers had festive balloon arches and real cheerleaders, plus, they also dramatically timed the entrances of the Air Force and Army Cycling Teams — it gave me goosebumps.

We had a great time! And now that you know that even little old lady librarians can do RAGBRAI, maybe you’ll consider joining us next time?