I did the ride 15 years ago. If you can find a group - or organize a group - to do the ride with you'll have a better time. Check with your local bike shops and see what they have to say. (I did a quick web search and there are quite a few gay cycling clubs around - so you should be able to join up with one to do the ride.)
If you go with a club, this may not be necessary - but... I'd also recommend that you pay close attention to when the route is announced so you can call and get hotel rooms in as many of the overnight towns as possible. The tent camping in fields and parking lots wore me out more than the cycling.
Check out RAGBRAI's website - lots of good info.http://www.ragbrai.org/
Note... Nov. 15 - RAGBRAI XXXVII Registration Begins