So this year was my first time riding ragbrai and I had the pleasure of riding across the northern part of the state with Team Party Pants! It was an absolute blast!
I’ll be honest going into this I thought this whole thing had a serious party atmosphere. But I was pleasantly proven wrong. There is so much more to this whole event. Seeing all the different people out riding and crushing out miles was so cool! The stories that were shared are out there are inspiring! Everything out here is for a reason. For example, two teams that come to mind first are Team Jess who rides for domestic abuse and Team Good Beer who rides for good craft beer and shares that beer with everyone riding (they also donate all the proceeds that they make to incredible causes).
I think that everyone deserves to pat himself or herself on the back for this ride. But those who deserve the real acknowledgement are those who have been doing this every year since ragbrai started, the ones who did this for their first time, all the kiddos biking with or behind one of their family members and all of those who set a goal to get into shape so they can cross the state! You should all be so proud of what you accomplished last week! 411 miles is a long distance! (Don’t get me wrong everyone deserves to celebrate what we just did. But these are some of the most memorable conversations I had from last week.)
Along with the biking there was so much more to take away from this. It is amazing how much the state if Iowa buys into this. From all the State Troopers who are out there keeping all 20,000 riders safe to all those host families who opened up their homes to ragbrai riders. I was shocked time and time again as I would be invited into their homes, offered dinner and breakfast and told there’s a bathroom down the hall feel free to use it whenever you need to! I couldn’t thank these individuals enough for all the help they offered us!
There was always something going on for activities or things to stop at along the ride, or free beer being given away to the riders! There was everything from pools to rope swings into private ponds to slip and slides to concerts in the evenings!
Now that we are all back at work and sitting a little differently because of the saddle sores we can reflect back on all of the incredible friendships we build, memories we made and conversations we had. Thanks to all those who rode and made this such an incredible event! I hope to see y’all on the trails and again next year!