|Abby, Judy, Jim and I all made it the whole way!|
The final day of RAGBRAI 2016 was bittersweet. While our bums and legs were hurting and would enjoy not getting back on our bikes, our hearts and minds were just starting to get in the rhythm of getting up every morning and eating pie :)
Although we left at our usual time of 6 am, the route was much more crowded than usual. I guess everyone was eager to get into the final town and then head back home. The route was the flattest of the whole week. It was humid but not hot and the miles went quickly. I left Jim waiting in line for a burrito at Farm Boys, and rode 10 miles before he made it to the front and got breakfast!
That gave me time to hang out at the Bike World mobile shop and get a smoothie for breakfast. We all met up again in the first town, and crossed a large bridge over the Iowa river.
The town of Letts was absolutely crowded with bikes. We joined the horde and had another smoothie and a brat. I was hungry from all that riding! Jim likened it to a horde of locusts descending on each town. We swarm in, eat up all the pie and pork, and then zoom off to do it again in the next town!
There were plenty of spectators along the route as we got closer to the finish. Many signs proclaimed that this was "The Last Hill" before the river. It never seemed to be, but soon enough we were turning the corner and riding along the levy that is the Mississippi river and the Iowa border.
And just that fast, we were done with all the cries of "Car UP" and "Bike OFF" and "Ruuuumbles". We were done with the endless stream of entertaining bikes and costumes and helmets. We were done with the constant signs for Ice Cold Water, breakfast burritos, pie, pork chops, and smoothies. We were also done with the heat, humidity, and headwinds (not that we had much wind this year!). We dipped our front tires in the river in the timeless tradition, and had our photo taken.
Or at least we thought we were done! Following the signs from the finish to get to Bike World, we weaved along the river for another 3 miles before finally getting to the trucks. But it was flat and shady and beautiful and we didn't mind too much. There at the trucks we could give our bike to the shippers, change out of our sweaty bike shorts for the last time, and get on the air-conditioned bus.
Will we do it again? Well....perhaps we need to try a northern route someday....
|The RAGBRAI Rider count for each day of 2016|
|Lover's Leap Bridge in Columbus Junction|
|Team Pie Hunters|
|Columbus Junction was a busy town on the final day|
Here's some interesting facts about todays route from the official RAGBRAI Pre-Ride back in June: