One last pic of those "road ahed" deals. These are my favorite type of shot.
One of the topics of conversation among the "virgin" riders was what type of hills lay ahed near Burlington and the word was there was one "real big killer one" and you could tell you were getting near by the flock of buzzards circling above it.
After getting the lay of the social landscape during the first few days of Ragbrai it becomes eveident that the pecking order of the 10,000 riders are :
1-the 1000 hot shot "real " bikers who actually believe that the other 9,999 riders are at Ragbrai just to watch them ride. These are the racers --the folks who decided to ride the Ragbrai instead of riding in France with Lance and the other world class riders this week.
Watching these guys is like watching the Westminster dog show in that each one looks like they hve been groomed as a show dog. Also, when they meet each other they also act like dogs meeting in the park. They look each other over and then sniff each other while checking out each other's equipment and packages(ger rings).
2-The 4000 "real" biker wannabees who dress-talk-act-drink like the #1's--these folks are racers also --just like the #1's except with a lot less tlend but they look the part and are probably the reason most of the bike accessory companies are in business.
3-The 3000 regular people who are not trying to impress anyone and are just having a good ride thru great country. Real Americans.These riders are what you would call "tourers" and ride to enjoy the country side and the people they meet along the way.
Tourers are looked down upon by the racers.
4-The 1000 riders who are just hanging on every day trying to make it to the end so they can say they did it--they work hard and grind out every inch of the ride.
5-the 1000 "A.O.'s" which includes recumbent riders who are at the low end of the bike world . Recumbent riders are looked down upon by both racers and tourers, mostly because we are pretty much old fat guys and are easy to pass on the uphills.
The reason for this pic is that it is unusual to see more than 2 recumbents riding beside each other , maybe because more than 2 forms a sort of blog clot in the flow of bike traffic, so when I saw these 3 I pulled up as a 4th and said "Hey recumbents--looks like we got us a convoy" Several other nearby bikers started laughing but none of these 3 old farts would even make eye contact with me. So I rode on.
This is the last stretch in downtown Burlington and the Mississippi River . I must say it was a sense of accomplishment .
This is where the finishers dipped their front wheels in the Mississippi River as a symbol of completion. When they started in Council Bluffs they dipped their back wheels in the Missouri. Personlly I think this act of symbolism is a waste of time unless you have dirt on your tires and want to wash it off.
In this particular situation it was very warm and sunny and after riding 45 miles bikers were standing in line up to an hour to dip their wheels in this one spot, just to be able to say they did it during lulls in the conversation at their next cocktail party or backyard bar b que. It takes a while for 10,000 bikers to get their front tire wet.