RAGBRAI XLIV Countdown – July 24-30, 2016
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Kyle Munson: He’s ready to pedal RAGBRAI for 1st time



It no longer matters whether I think I’m “ready” to ride the 39th annual RAGBRAI.

The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa starts today. Time to man up (while wearing “bicycle bib shorts”!?), hop on the bike and … maybe walk up a few of the killer hills amid the rolling farmland of southwest Iowa, as I pedal today through my childhood landscape of Glenwood, Silver City, Carson, etc.

It’s rather impossible to sum up RAGBRAI – as many different versions of it as there are riders, much like the Iowa State Fair. This will be my first time bicycling along, but I’ve covered the ride before in by car.

So let me close with this paragraph straight from my notes. A few weeks ago I was brainstorming RAGBRAI stories and angles, based on some of the pre-ride chatter as well as thoughts that riders submitted when they registered. Maybe it does as good a job as any in providing a snapshot of RAGBRAI’s varied human drama:

Cancer … Charity fundraisers galore, particularly cancer and diseases … 8 knee surgeries … Hundreds of pounds in weight loss … Luther alumni and rugby players … From Scranton, Ia., but living in Paris, France … One man who’s had a stroke, cancer and heart operation all within the last 7 years … Left leg amputee … “I am a bicycle mechanic who is drifting through life.” … Bar exam Monday, Tuesday, Weds, then riding RAGBRAI Thurs, Fri, Sat … Catholic priest from Ghana on sabbatical in the U.S. … roadbikereview.com – many never met in person … Bucket lists … RAGBRAI honeymoon … Memorial rides … Father-son and mother-daughter and father-daughter and so on … 87-year-old …

See you on the sag wagon …

-Kyle Munson, Des Moines Register Iowa columnist

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