Feels like: 3°F
Wednesday, Dec. 11, 2013
Following RAGBRAIPosted Wednesday, July 25, 2012, at 2:27 PM
It has been several years since I was assigned to go out and take photos of the RAGBRAI riders so I didn't know what to expect Monday when I went out my door.
I left the house at 5:30 a.m. and bike riders were already out, most likely wanting to beat the heat, on their trail from Aurelia to Hanover to Schaller and down the road to Nemaha, Sac City and finally Lake View.
I intended to help the ladies of my church prepare for the great many hungry eaters they were hoping to feed in the Aurelia Park but after only a few minutes of moving things around for them, I switched into a reporter. I still feel guilty I didn't contribute more help to them.
It is in Aurelia I met up with Brenda McVinua, the Storm Lake woman who lost her leg to cancer but has been looking forward to riding RAGBRAI for 30 years. I was so excited for her and could see her compassion.
As she left, I stood for awhile in amazement at all the riders coming and going and standing in line for several minutes to get breakfast at one or more of the many stands that were set up at the park. Entertainment was provided by the Alta-Aurelia Jazz Band, who were crowned as state champions in April, under direction of a brand new director.
It then went to looking to noticing people. I came across the Dream Team of Des Moines - made up of 34 teenagers from Des Moines, 13-18. They were accompanied by adult mentors. The Dream Team worked hard beginning in March to condition themselves for the long trip. Each was required to ride at least 1,000 miles on a bike; beginning with a stationary bike and moving on to outdoor training. They even participated in three camp-outs to get them used to the camp outs they would encounter on RAGBRAI.
The former director told me that the idea for the group is to get the teenagers excited about making goals and working to achieve them. Some were already on their second trip and for many this was their first.
One girl said she was worried about riding in the heat and another said she just hoped she didn't throw up.
Then I met the Just Ducky Lucky Ducks, made up of two sisters and a daughter of one of them. They sported duck beaks, though they looked more like toucan beaks to me, on their helmets. Their goal is to "follow the beak and have fun." They were a little disappointed, however, that someone stole their bright yellow Just Ducky shirts from their clothesline the night before.
And then I met two members of the Road Hogs. The two brothers sported stuffed pigs on their helmets. One brother has ridden five time and the other four.
I made my way to Schaller and discovered, I think, all 20,000 riders and again, I just watched as they all ate again. (And there was plenty of food to choose from.)
It was a breeze getting into town but when I left, there was no way out except Hway 110 - the same route the bikers were taking. So for a little over a mile, I followed, watching ever so closely to those bikers in front, in back and to my side. I was never so relieved to get out of such a mess!
I admire all those riders and wish them all a safe ride.
* Lorri Glawe is a member of the Pilot news staff. Reach the columnist at email@example.com
Lorri Glawe is a reporter for the Pilot Tribune in Storm Lake.