Sunday, January 31, 2010


Well they just announced the RAGBRAI route for 2010. RAGBRAI, you might ask? Why yes, that lil' ol' week long, all the way across Iowa ride on bicycles utilizing Iowa's vast network of blacktop roads. It happens every year on the last full week of July. Has every year since 1973. Pretty amazing, eh?

I won't sugar coat it either. I think RAGBRAI is good for a laugh. Once. It gets pretty dang old after that. As far as riding a bicycle goes, it has gotten beyond lame, and stale. No thanks. You might think RAGBRAI is soooo totally awesome that you think I am off my rocker, but that is okay. I've done the whole she-bang once and parts of several other ones. They are all the same. To me at least. A total cycling snooze-fest.

Ya see that road up there? that is a road! No cars, no hordes of party people pretending to be cyclists, and no over regulated, high priced canned entertainment and food vendors. No pretensions. You either ride it and make it, or not, and it is beautiful, peaceful, and much, much more challenging as a cyclist than RAGBRAI.

I came up with an idea about three years ago. I called it GRBRAI. (Gravel Road Bike Ride Across Iowa) I said someone should hop on that and do it. Well, no one did. No surprise there. It takes a lot of logistical work to make a gravel route, much less one all the way across the state. Of course, I've had plenty of experience with that.

Now the RAGBRAI committee has handed me over night towns that make doing a route an almost no-brainer. Check this out: Sioux City to Storm Lake. I've been through here on black tops and going off on gravels would be new, but I know the lay of the land out there, so I know it can be done. Next is Storm Lake to Algona. Okay, now we're talkin. I probably already have one half to three quarters of that day mapped out already from T.I.V1-2 and the aborted plans for the cross state T.I.V3. Algona was our half way town. Nice! Next is Algona to Clear Lake. Again- that's entirely in the can with the exception of the last 5-7 miles into Clear Lake. Next up is Clear Lake to Charles City. Oddly enough, I have a route mapped out. It was from the aborted T.I.V3 course. (We decided to abandon point to points before I finished the course planning that year) Next we have Charles City to Waterloo. I've ridden all of this route with the exception of about 12 miles from Chuck Town to Nashua. Again- easy. Next we have Waterloo to Manchester. Using training route knowledge and Trans Iowa recon knowledge I could piece together this route in five minutes. Manchester to Dubuque is the final leg. This one would prove more difficult since Dubuque County has dang near paved the entire road system within its boundaries. (They must feel that they are part of Wisconsin or something) I'm sure I could eek out about half that days mileage in gravel. Maybe more.

So, I am going to draw it up on Map My Ride and when it is done, ya'all can print it off and do it. I may do a couple of days of it, but since the ride is coming through W'loo, I may be tied down to the shop here doing repairs. We'll see. Last time the ride came through and stayed in Cedar Falls it wasn't that big of a deal.

So, if you are like me, and you want a challenge, you want to get away from people wearing beads and stupid flamingo costumes, and you want to see parts of Iowa that no one else will, hang on. I'll announce when it is ready for public consumption with about 12 disclaimers and what not! ha ha! (Here are a few now!) Remember_ Iowa's gravel roads are public roads and carry lots of different types of traffic, have wild animals running around on them, and may break your bicycle and your body. This isn't a canned, supported, lame-o ride I am talking about. This would be really tough. You would be on your own. It might even really suck.'ve been warned! I will never and do not now take any responsibility for whatever may happen if this route is drawn up and you ride it. The roads may not even be there in places. Too bad! Figure out yer own re-route.

Okay, I'll do the line drawing later. Now go for a ride ya'all!

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