July 25, 2012 – RAGBRAI Hosts

Tonight we hosted RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) riders. It was our way of giving back to the world. Last year we were scrambling for a place for Claire to live in D.C. and a Unitarian minister hosted her free of charge for the summer. So, when I learned RAGBRAI was going through Marshalltown this year, I did a search for Unitarian and RAGBRAI. I found an online sermon from a minister in New Jersey, got in touch with him, offered our place, and here is team Woody Van.

Their stuff arrived early in the morning in one of the sag wagons and around 2:00 team members started rolling in.  It was the hottest day in 29 years in Central Iowa, reaching 106. Some riders did a half day, some the whole day, and one did the special “Century Loop” an extra loop that made the ride over 100 miles for the day.  The guy who did it, although being one of the oldest in the group and having ridden his bike coast to coast, said the day was the hardest cycling day he had ever completed – 100 miles, 100 degrees plus, with a 20-25 mph headwind for about 1/3 of the day – all after the two previous days of 100 degree plus riding.

Here’s part of the team – we also hosted part of Team Skunk from Ames.  Most elected to sleep in the air conditioned house, but a few started the night in tents – until the hail, heavy rain and 50-60 mph gusts arrived.  It was an early evening for the crew, some were in bed by 8:00 and everyone by 10:00.  Rev Charlie Ortman from Montclair NJ is hard to miss in his blaze orange.  Other members of the team were from New Jersey, Arizona, Iowa, Ohio, and Minnesota.  One of these guys even did the route on roller blades!  It was a great to get to chat with as many of the team members as we could.