by John Karras, Grampa RAGBRAI


A strange, but predictable, thing happened this year to Ann and I on our way to our umpteenth time to ride RAGBRAI–we were physically unable to ride it(we had a paltry 49 miles of training on out legs). It wasn’t the biggest disappointment of our 63-plus years of marriage, but it sure was up there in the top 20.

The onlyRAGBRAI moments we had were while stationed on the Karras Loop where Ann and Carol Molhandorf handed out Loop patches and I hugged the sweaty young ladies who wanted pictures taken with me. Not the hardest duty in the world

Another lesson from our RAGBRAI debacle: Preparation on a stationary bicycle does not transfer to the road, at least not the way I did it this year. I had 45 hours on the trainer here at Scottish Rite Park, but when we went out on the road we found ourselves worn out in under 10 miles. I believe that 45 hours of road miles would have gotten me ready for RAGBRAI. I haven’t felt this dumb or disappointed in myself in at least 10 years.

And apropos of nothing, it occurred to me recently that I’m perhaps the only one at Scottish Rite Park who thinks of a sweatshirt as a fashion statement.

John Karras is the co-founder of RAGBRAI