I joined about 3,000 other cyclists this past Saturday for the Bacoon Ride 4, a 75 mile jaunt along the main loop of the Raccoon River Valley Trail northwest of Des Moines. The ride is billed as a RAGBRAI tuneup. Almost the entire route was on trails so there were very few interfaces with automobiles. State troopers were positioned at most major road crossings. The route included over one thousand feet of climbing (Iowa isn’t as flat as many think!) but since it’s along a railroad right of way it was barely noticeable. There were also lots of stops for bacon and booze along the way. It was pretty informal in terms of organization.
One thing that took me a little by surprise is that there were no aid stations. Lots of enterprising folks set up tents and tables and were willing to sell you water, but the organizers provided none. The only other organized cycling event I’ve ever participated in is Colorado’s Tour of the Moon, and they offer lots of opportunities to hydrate. Seems like that just makes sense when you fork over a $50 entry fee and are covering this kind of distance, but maybe I’m being unreasonable. I don’t know. It wasn’t a big deal. I carried plenty of water to get me home.
Temperatures were cooler than they have been recently, topping out in the low 80s. There was a light cloud cover that kept the sun at bay and it only sprinkled a little along the route. All in all, another great day on the bike. Here are some screen grabs from my GoPro.