RAGBRAI draws a diverse array of riders and support vehicle folks.
At just after 9 a.m. Thursday, some of these people were already at the main camp ground on the northwest corner of Oskaloosa, near the Elementary School and Lacey Recreation Complex.
Crystal Thorpe, of Dixon, Ill., arrived as a part of a support vehicle for a team, which have been riding RAGBRAI for six years.
Thorpe said she arrived in Oskaloosa around 8 a.m. Thursday to get a camp site set up.
“It's nice,” said Thorpe. “Usually we're just in big fields that they just mow down that day. So, this is really nice with grass and it looks really nice.”
Getting to the camp site early is important, according to Thorpe.
“If you don't get here early, you don't get a good spot,” said Thorpe, adding that it's good to find a spot near trees that can provide shade.
When asked what she was looking forward to in Oskaloosa, music came to Thorpe's mind.
“You look for a good band,” explained Thorpe.
According to the National Weather Service, overnight rain was possible into Friday morning. That didn't bother Thorpe.
“We go with the flow,” said Thorpe. “You have to on RAGBRAI.”
Wendy and Martin Myers, of Kansas City, are riding RAGBRAI for the first time this year. They arrived at the campground on the northwest corner of Oskaloosa early on Thursday, as well.
Martin explained that they grew up in Iowa and RAGBRAI is something they grew up with and simply wanted to do.
So, how's it been so far?
“It's been great,” said Martin. “It's very fun. It's challenging on certain stretches and just kind of fun to talk to everybody.”
Listening to the stories of their fellow RAGBRAI riders is a big part of the experience, said Wendy, adding that she likes to hear stories from veteran riders, as well as those from all over the U.S.
Wendy said she was impressed by how things have been well organized along the way in the host communities.
Several RAGBRAI riders said they enjoyed the ride from Knoxville to Oskaloosa as they stopped at the Edmundson Park information booth.
David Cawein, of Morrilton, Ark., stopped on Indian Way near the Edmundson Park information booth to send a text message.
“This is the second time I've done it,” he said of riding in RAGBRAI. His first time riding was two years ago.
“I turned 60 this year and I wanted to do it one more time before I get too old,” Cawein said.
Cawein said the ride Thursday morning was a good one.
“It's been good. The last two days have been hilly, but we have hills like that in Arkansas,” he said.
Cawein said he has really liked the people he has met while on RAGBRAI as well as the food.
“I really enjoy the people. They're really friendly,” he said. Of the food he has eaten, Cawein said he really liked strawberry-rhubarb pie.
Dick Nehring, of Alden, is a veteran RAGBRAI rider.
“This is my 25th in a row,” he said.
Nehring also enjoyed the ride to Oskaloosa.
“It was great ride,” he said. Wind was not a factor and when it did gust, it was a tailwind, he added.
Nehring said he is riding with a group.
“There's seven of us. We're called High n Dry,” he said. The group includes his daughter, grandson and granddaughter, he added.
Nehring said the group used to have a bus; now, they have a 15-passenger van.
Pat Peyla, of Wabasha, Minn., left Knoxville at 5 a.m. to ride to Oskaloosa.
“It was character building, but it was very nice,” she said of the ride to Oskaloosa. “It was hill after hill after hill.”
This is Peyla's sixth RAGBRAI and her first stop in Oskaloosa.
“The weather was perfect, gorgeous,” she said.
Peyla also rides with a group of 30 people — Jokers Wild.
This is RAGBAI number 16 for John Reed, of Des Moines, and his first stop in Oskaloosa.
“It was a beautiful day. It was just perfect,” he said. “There were nice rolling hills and woods. It's just pretty.”
Jim and Rose Fuller, of Marshalltown, rode a tandem bicycle into town.
“It was good, it was nice, good weather,” Jim said. They had left Knoxville at about 6:20 a.m.
“We're riding a tandem bicycle,” Rose said.
Jim said riding a tandem bicycle is “not bad.” It's a heavier ride up hill, but downhill is easier, he said.
Dan Jaworski, of Orlando, Fla., said it took him about three hours to ride from Knoxville.
“This is my second time,” he said. “I have some friends who live in Des Moines.”
“It was great — the weather was perfect,” he said. “It's as good as it gets.”
Jaworski said he liked the hills on the route — something he doesn't experience in Florida.