I lost my virginity today on RAGBRAI. I can no longer listen to the stories and not have at least one of my own. The full experience lasts 7 days but I figure you can’t be a little pregnant and you can’t lose a little of your virginity. I rode the first day of RAGBRAI XLI and it was awesome.
Weather is always a factor – the ambiance of the experience definitely sets to the tone. Today the clouds provided a light cover to the direct sun. There was a small breeze but nothing that impeded the ride. We took off at 6am as the sun was rising and finished just after noon as the sun was peaking. We rode in temperatures that were in the high 80s.
I had the accessories to make the most of tempting my ride. I had a new du-rag cap and purchased some Eurostyle Chamois Butt’r to make sure I was comfortable in the saddle. My bike chain had been cleaned recently. The bike computer was charged and ready to document the memory for me. I put on my new gloves and my glasses and topped it off with my helmet. I was looking good for suitor.
There were two major climbs in the day, the first one came about 10 miles in as we came out of Council Bluffs. I traveled with the group of riders as expected; some passed me and I passed some. I was ready for the second climb which was slightly steeper at 300 feet in 1.7 miles. It wasn’t all down hill from there but we rolled with it.
I shared my first experience with Phil and Dennis, two veterans of the ride, each with over 15 tours across Iowa. They were good to me both pushing me and waiting for me. Their patience and considerations in letting me take it all in at each stop really added to the experience. We had a little dance where they would make it to the top of the hills first but gravity allowed me to race past them to the bottom where we would all meet up again.
I talked the boys into succumbing to the teasing signs Mr. Pork Chop had along the road. We were looking for breakfast around 9am and at this point the signs said we were just two miles away. We enjoyed a thick fresh smoked Iowa chop in a napkin with a glass of lemonade. It was a first for them as well. They gave up Tender Tom’s Turkey legs for my desires that morning.
We needed one more orgasmic food experience and it came near the end of the ride. I’ve heard about Beekman’s Ice Cream. The churns run throughout the day to keep up with the demand. We had the choice of Chocolate, Peach, Raspberry and Vanilla. My indulgence was a Styrofoam cup of Chocolate. We enjoyed our cups under a tree with 50 or more other riders.
I rolled in for the final experience though a finish line that had a volunteer waving a checkered flag across a strip of checkered tape on the ground. Harlan, Iowa’s mayor was cheering people through the finish line and into his town. We rode with Dennis to his camp ground so he could find a shower and get his tent to set up. The beauty was that we were able to drive home and relax in a warm shower and will sleep in our bed tonight.
I lost my virginity but it was a quick affair with the RAGBRAI. I don’t yet know what it’s like to have a real week long relationship with the ride. To commit to a week of packing, riding, weather and tent sleeping is much more intimate. I’m easing into things and my next relationship with a bike tour will be in three weeks in Maine.
May Maine be gentle with me.