The entire route will be new RAGBRAI territory as will journey travels 44.8 miles with some nice climbs totaling 3,200 feet throughout Allamakee County. You will not think you are in Iowa as scenic landscape and winding scenic byways show off the splendor of the Driftless Area. RAGBRAIers will visit the town of Waterville for the very first time and then ride through the Yellow River State Forest. Riders will then pull into Harpers Ferry, another first time RAGBRAI community. Riders can dip their tires if they wish in the Mississippi River at one of Harpers Ferry’s many boat ramps. The last 13 mile leg of RAGBRAI XLV will travel north along the Great River Road as we travel to Lansing to end is the beautiful river town on Lansing. If you didn’t get enough fun on the bike, you can climb the ultra-steep Mt. Hosmer just blocks from downtown and the river. Lansing will be a great ending to RAGBRAI XLV!
This was a tough, but very fun and very scenic leg of the RAGBRAI! Luke, Lee and I lost each other early on, but were able to meet up the last 20 or so miles. Those hills were killers, but both Luke and I agreed that we would much rather have the diversity the hills bring us rather than the flat flat flat areas we encountered on the western edge of the state. Some of the very steep inclines lasted more than 1-2 miles and despite sharing the roadway with perhaps 30 people within a very short distance, there was no noise, no talking and just heavy breathing as we all trudged ever so slowly to the tops.
The Mississippi river valley is absolutely gorgeous and despite living here for a large portion of my life, I will never get tired of the beauty. The changes in elevation even brought some drastic changes in temperature with us experiencing very low 50s in the deeper shade-covered valleys and then out in the sun at the tops of the hills it was in the high 70s. I stopped several times during the last 10 miles to take pictures and Lee and Luke went on ahead, but luckily they waited for me at the end so we could all experience the ride into Lansing together.
Once there, according to RAGBRAI tradition, we dipped our front bike tires into the Mississippi River (the back tires are traditionally dipped into the Missouri River at the start of the ride) an finished our few miles into town. Noah was waiting for us in town and we hung out for awhile as the remaining team members arrived. Brandon, broke a chain while en-route and the Air Force, once again, came to his rescue!
Luke, Noah and I headed out in the early afternoon and were able to make it back to Steinthal by 7:30 PM, just in time for a movie and popcorn. One of their personal favorites!