My RAGBRAI 2013, vol I

January 28, 2013

A couple aspects of my first RAGBRAI experience are coming into focus now.

I’ll most likely be driving there & back afterward with a friend of mine, LB, and her husband TB.  LB is a real hero of mine in addition to being a friend; her own weight-loss journey and successful transformation into an active, athletic person has been a real inspiration to me.  Also, it’s fitting to be enjoying so much of the excitement of RAGBRAI with her as it was from her that I first became aware of RAGBRAI.

A funny kind of story, that – in the closing weeks of 2011 I’d sent out an email to several coworkers (including LB) that one of my New Year’s resolutions was to ride the full Katy Trail sometime in late 2012.  LB, always supportive and encouraging, replied something to the effect that “Bill, I know you’ll do great, and after riding the Katy you’ll be doing RAGBRAI!”  Well, I’m bemused now to concede that I didn’t know what the hell RAGBRAI was  🙂  Fortunately Google & Wikipedia are your friend, and after some quick research I immediately realized it was something I wanted to partake “some day”.

Fast forward to a few months ago – I’d successfully ridden the Katy Trail with my buddy Mr. V – and LB informed me she was doing RAGBRAI in 2013!  I was immediately onboard.  It’ll be the first time out for both of us, and we are geeked up to put it mildly.  LB was born & grew up in Iowa (in fact Council Bluffs if I am not mistaken – the starting town of this year’s ride!) and so RAGBRAI held a special fascination for her since she was young.

I’ve decided to go with a charter service for my first year.  For my non-RAGBRAI readers (and, hell, *I*  didn’t even know about this till a couple weeks ago!), charters are groups that host and support RAGBRAI riders (for a fee) in a variety of capacities.  Exact services vary from charter to charter but typically they’ll include reserved space on the campgrounds, some number of meals, charter-group-only showering areas, bag transportation and delivery, etc etc.  Many hundreds of people at RAGBRAI go with charters year in and year out; but especially for the RAGBRAI newbie, it’s a great way to “break in” to the RAGBRAI experience.  With a charter comes a certain level of hand-holding, of support, of assurance of facilities and accommodations along the route, etc.

After doing some research online I’ve decided to go with what seems to be the overwhelming favorite charter service of RAGBRAIers year in and year out, “Pork Belly Ventures” [website here].  I’ve registered with them now and anticipate being a part of their group this year. As a first-time, wide-eyed rider, I find their wide range of support and amenities comforting.  I also kinda like the idea of a specific group of folks that you’re going to be spending a lot of the time with in the evenings, versus catch-as-catch-can camping.  RAGBRAI is known for forming friendships that cross state lines and last for years – even if, frequently, you only actually see one another once annually in the last week in July – and being part of a collegial arrangement such as a charter seems conducive to that.

The overnight towns for 2013 are obviously known now (post here); as to the exact route, RAGBRAI.com has posted saying “The complete route including roads and pass-through towns will be announced in mid-March.”  Needless to say, I’ll be looking forward to that!

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One Response to “My RAGBRAI 2013, vol I”

  1. Karen said

    You guys are going to have an amazing and awesome time. I can’t wait to hear all about it, although I know it won’t even compare to actually being there.

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