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Updates from RAGBRAI: Clinton and Postscript

Day 7: Anamosa to Clinton
69.4 miles; 2,811 feet of climb

It’s a beautiful day for one more bike ride. We stopped at the Hale Tap supper club for breakfast, but the swarm beat us there and this local institution had already run out of egg sandwiches and moved on to lunch fare. It made no difference to the hungry throng; at least they still had bloody mary’s. So we queued up and waited patiently for grilled chicken and pork tenderloin…at 9:30 a.m.

We made good time along the remainder of the route, assisted by a number of long, cruising downhills. At last we arrived in Clinton, and joined in the ceremonial dipping of our front tires in the Mississippi River. We made it!

Many thanks to Pops for driving the USS Savannah all week. Bravo Zulu, Captain.

Daily tally
Pork chops: 1
Ears of corn: 3
Pieces of pie: 4

Here’s the final food tally for the whole family this week. (Note: we also ate plenty of hot dogs and watermelon.)
Pork chops: 19
Ears of corn: 13
Pieces of pie: 12

I once asked a 20-some-year RAGBRAI veteran what had changed since those early rides. Without hesitation, he said, “People have much nicer bikes now.” Although the event has become more commercial, recreational cyclists’ spending has been estimated to generate $346.8 million in direct and indirect benefits to the state–it has stayed true to its local roots. RAGBRAI began as a hare-brained scheme to rediscover Iowa, and so it remains 40 years later.

People say that Iowa is home to 3 million of some of the nicest people in the world. One of the remarkable things about RAGBRAI is the courtesy and generosity of the hosts and the other riders. On RAGBRAI, you don’t need a bike lock, but you are expected to pick up your trash.

You might wonder whether it’s the state or the event that deserves credit for this esprit de corps. But Iowa and RAGBRAI are inextricable. Thank you to the Register staff, the State Police, and all the local volunteers who make it happen, year after year, all the way across Iowa.