We rolled away from the YMCA on Day 6 of RAGBRAI this morning under cloudy skies and much cooler temperatures.
Six days in and I finally feel like my body is used to the routine.
At first, my quads burned and my neck ached. But now I feel strong, like I could do this every day. And that’s the thing – at home, I manage an hour-long swim and an easy bike ride every day. But I’ve pretty quickly adjusted to five or six hours of cycling a day. Already I can tell my legs are stronger.
There’s so much to see. Every town we ride through – four or five every day – turns out to watch our rolling carnival. Homeowners set up lemonade stands and pull chairs onto their front lawns. They ring cowbells and hoot and holler as our massive stream of lycra-clad bodies wheels past.
And at night, they open up their homes.
Tonight we’re staying outside the little town of Washington, where a family has allowed us to pitch our tents in their yard and grill fajitas on their back deck. They set out bottled water for us, and opened up a bottle of wine. Now the homeowner is pulling out his guitar, preparing to play music.
Other highlights of the day?
Petting a calf, lamb and two piglets at a small petting zoo.
Eating a giant smoked pork chop from a food trailer known as Mr. Porkchop.
Riding my bike alongside Batman.
Stopping at a stand handing out free sweet corn.
Admiring a bunch of weathered old barns.
Tomorrow marks our last day of riding. My legs might appreciate the break, but I’m feeling a little sad.
I’ll have to adjust to a world where cars take priority over bicycles once again.