Saturday, July 23, 2011

Mankato riders on RAGBRAI

America's largest -- and arguably best -- noncompetitive bike ride kicks off tomorrow morning as the 39th edition Register's Annual Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) departs from Glenwood.

From there, the 10,000-plus riders will travel east across the Hawkeye State with nightly stops in Atlantic, Carroll, Boone, Altoona, Grinnell, Coralville and Davenport. Collectively, the week-long ride will be 454 miles, ranking right in the middle compared to previous years in terms of distance and difficulty.

As much as I enjoyed doing RAGBRAI last year, for a variety of reasons, I won't be embarking on it this year. However, there will be other Mankato residents riding across Iowa. At least 11 of them, in fact.

With the exception Chris Hughes, the 11 riders are all members of the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Mankato. The group departed from the church this morning, with the bikes and gear loaded on trailers and each member sporting a fashionably yellow team shirt. Hughes termed himself as the "honorary Catholic member" of the group, as he is a longtime friend of another rider in the group.

With the exception of David Rice, all 11 riders will be doing RAGBRAI for the first time. Like any other first-time rider, they are all nervous and excited for the experiences that await them in Iowa. The week won't be easy for them, but it will indeed be memorable.

Good luck to the Mankato riders. May their bikes cooperate and their course be relatively flat.

I managed to snap a quick photo of the group before they left:

(L to R) First row: Gail Finley, Bob Finley, Steve Dunn, Vicki Dunn, Truman Rice, David Rice and Dennis Cramblit
Second row: Lee Ganske, Linda Ganske, Carrie Rice and Chris Hughes

1 comment:

  1. Bet you wish you were going! Weather looks great for it!