My RAGBRAI Adventures: Weird Bikes, Mr. Porkchop & Epic Last Leg

This was my third year riding RAGBRAI, and it has been a great experience every year.  For me, the week serves as a way to step away from work, the news, and all other distractions of everyday life.  Many people are intimidated by the task of riding across the state, assuming that it is geared for competitive cyclists. This could not be further from the truth.  The ride is broken up into 7 days and follows an awesome route that leads you through “small-town” Iowa.  I have lived in Iowa my entire life, but each year I am more and more impressed with the people and scenery that many of us have grown to take for granted.

So what made this year so memorable?

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The spray painted bus and 4 bonus Craigslist riders!

The Bus – If you have $100,000 or so laying around feel free to spring for an RV, live in the life of luxury for the week, and not miss a beat from your everyday life. What fun would that be? Why not just have your brother and a few other riders buy a 20 year old bus, 13 cans of black spray paint, and a makeshift bike trailer on the back, and ta da! You have a one-week party on wheels.

Team Bonding -A school bus that gets 5 mpg can take a major toll on the checkbook. Unless you find 4 complete strangers on Craigslist to split the cost with who are looking for a team to ride with, and transportation for the week. All you can do is pick them up, and hope they don’t kill you in your sleep. They turned out to be a complete blast to hang out and ride with all week. And what better way to get to know someone, than to spend six hours crammed in a bus together! Bonus team bonding? I was joined by my mom who tackled RAGBARI for the first time!

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RAGBRAI was a family affair with Nick’s mom and brother joining him.

The Ride – It felt great to hit the open pavement the first day.  There is a small town about every 10 miles that has its own party. The weather was great, and you get to meet riders from all over the world.  Throughout the week, I got to meet riders from as far as Australia and Japan, and as near as a few streets down.

The Food – The weekend would not be complete without eating your body weight in pancakes, pork chops, ice cream and good beer. If you are hungry on RAGBRAI, you must have strayed off the route.  Chris Cakes pancakes, Mr. Porkchop, Beekmans Ice Cream, and the Iowa Craft Beer Tent are places you must stop!

The Weird Bikes – 1, 2, or even 3 wheels…It really doesn’t matter.  While most riders opt to ride a traditional road bike, this past week I saw unicycles, tandems, recumbents, a bike with fur dressed to look like an alpaca…and even an adult sized “big wheel”.  If it has at least one wheel and pedals, it is classified as a bike.

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Dipping their wheels at 1am!

The Last Leg – With one day of RAGBRAI left and our legs feeling great, we decided that it would be a great idea to ride back to Davenport a day early and run the Bix 7 road race. So, we packed our lights and reflective vests and logged 153 miles on Friday from Hiawatha through Coralville arriving in Davenport at 1am on Saturday. We were the first to do the traditional “dipping of wheels” in the Mississippi. Pretty sure that means we “won” RAGBRAI…and will never do that again!

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Tom P

Since joining Performance, I have made huge gains. The process of recovering from knee surgery has been much easier because of the expertise of the Performance staff in helping me get back to full strength. I would recommend this gym to anyone.*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Kim C

Performance Fitness Member

“I joined Performance and it has changed my life. Gone are the days when I dreaded trying on clothes at the store, Thanks to Performance, I feel like a super fit mom.”*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Seth D

Performance Fitness Member

Under the guidance of trainers, I have been able to decrease my 5K time from 28 minutes to under 20 minutes in just 2 years.  I have also lost 30 pounds while increasing strength, endurance and power.*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Connie R

Training over the last few years at Performance has been the best health decision I have ever made.  Leslie, my current trainer, keeps me on track to stay fit and strong, makes our sessions interesting and challenging, and is always positive, even when I have setbacks.*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Barry C Testimonial
Barry C

Performance Fitness Member

“I am a competitive cyclist and have been in personal training at Performance for 6 years. The best part about the trainers is that they know our medical histories very well.  Leslie is great at modifying a training session specifically to each individual person’s limitations so as to avoid injury.”*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

Pat S

Performance Fitness Member

“I’m retired and enjoy a full, active life. This is due, in no small part, to the time I spend at Performance. The group classes provide a great workout and lots of variety. Plus, a fun way to meet new friends!”*

About Nick Pacha, Member Advisor

Nick Pacha, Member AdvisorNick Pacha is Member Advisor at Performance and is also an avid cyclist and triathlete who is training for his first Ironman.

*Results may vary