Sunday, July 19, 2015

Day 1: Sioux City to Storm Lake

If this is the worst RAGBRAI 2015 brings -- and it was the longest day by a few miles with the most climb by a long shot -- we've got this.

All 22 riders successfully navigated the 76 miles and 4,000-foot climb from Sioux
City to Storm Lake. We were treated to showers and dinner by Tim and Erin Toomer Smith '99 in their new home west of the lake. We must have left a good enough impression when they also hosted Team CoeBRAI in 2010.

As pleased as I am by the riders and drivers who return year after year, hosting is a special commitment that is especially appreciated. We're fortunate in our 11th year to have been welcomed back by a handful of hosts a couple times. Thanks, Erin and Tim.

As for the ride, I was less impressed by the climbs as the descents. The 40+-mph cruise into Washta was especially fun. That was the meeting town, and we were greeted by first-time support driver Seth Light '14, who has proven worthy to the task. 

That is also where I grabbed my first Tender Tom's turkey sandwich of the year. I top it with mustard and a pile of cramp-fighting dill pickle slices for an energizing lunch. Sorry for not getting a better picture, but RAGBRAI is nothing if not a culinary event.

We've taken precaution against the threat of morning rain, but hope to arrive safely and dry tomorrow in Fort Dodge after biking 69 miles with a mere 1,300 feet of climb. 

Tomorrow is also the inaugural gravel loop, but it remains to be seen if CoeBRAI veterans and gravel-lovers Bob Beer '83 and Jim Strickland are up to the challenge.

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