After talking myself down to one day of riding I eventually had a great time. I also figured out the best way of riding it all on gravel. The best way is to have all of your gear hauled for you and ride only with the bike, a camelback, and some cash. That's all you would need for an easily ridden week of gravel. So next year I will try to get a REAL RAGBRAI pass, have them haul a tent, etc. for me, and try to ride the route about a mile off!
I rode over to Jefferson via 230th (gravel) and was happy to have only taken about 2 hours exactly to get there. I put on a Bob Marley/Men at Work/Jack Johnson playlist and zoned out in the fog and dew. Just enough tack to the gravel to kick up some grit.
I rode out of Jefferson with my big brother Theron and a couple of his buddies. Since Theron was wearing Crocs and camo shorts I knew this was the slow crowd, so I just hung out. I rode no-handed to Grand Junction in an attempt to stay with them, but even that was too fast. So I waited at Ferg's for a stinkin' beer, and that took too long, so I bolted to Casey's, grabbed a couple of Powerades, a Coke, and some granola bars and split. A couple of people were looking at my Diamond Back poor man's 9er, trying to figure out what the hell it was. "How did you get the brakes to reach the rims?" one guy asked(thinking that it was a 26" frame with 29er wheels;) Makes some people scratch their heads to see it, and freaks people out when they hear it coming from behind them on pavement. A good choice of bikes for the trip.
Continuing North out of GJ I rode about a mile or so on pavement before peeling off and hitting some gravel for the rest of the trip to Ogden. Along the way I ran into Jason Parkin from KCCI Weather. I remembered seeing him at the 24 hour race last year (he was walking through the pits at about midnight with his camcorder) so I stopped to chat with him. He was telling me how cool he thought Banner Lakes is, and said he was weirded out at the 24 and didn't know how people do that kind of race. I said that beer helps and he should give it a try. I don't think he is interested. Jason, if you are reading, put up a 2 person co-ed team with Matinka! That could work!
I had a good ride, got in about 60 miles of gravel, 15 or so of pavement, and got home in time to go to a movie with my wife and kids. Next year I hope I can do more, even if it means a day or two of road bikes. Crazy huh? I have to admit, it would be fun to pass people all day. Later!