Sun, Jul 24, 2011 | by Kyle MunsonShare
On one hand, the first day of my first RAGBRAI as a bicyclist as well as journalist made me feel like a complete outsider.
I rolled up behind one conversation on my way north out of Griswold and couldn’t help but eavesdrop: The guy was talking about how he and his brother aim to ride across every state in the nation, while the woman was from Alaska and said that she was able to bike to within 150 miles of the Arctic Circle.
I was just steeling myself for the rest of the way into Lewis!
And apparently I need a cadence meter for my bike to help keep myself at the peak rpm for my knees and the rest of my legs.
On the other hand, I’ve been seeing so many familiar faces and places on RAGBRAI that it feels like old home week. Well, I guess it was old home day: I grew up in southwest Iowa. My parents still live in rural Silver City, and I graduated from high school in Carson. (Fellow southwest Iowan Chuck “Iowa Boy” Offenburger even chatted with me about the convergence of my first RAGBRAI and my roots in Mills, Pottawattamie and Cass counties.
Here are some snaps from my first day:
My cousin Brooke Freiborg, left, and her business partner, Deb Amorde, launched a new line of women’s bicycling tank tops this year, Moxie Cycling, and sold them in Glenwood. I ran into their booth at the expo and have since been spotting the Moxie tops on the route:
Phil Joens of Sioux City is riding this year’s RAGBRAI. He’s the ball hawk whom I wrote about in June 2010. I’m also happy to report that Joens has decided to launch into a journalism career and will be attending college at Mizzou. (Journalism can use all the young talent it can get these days.)
Bikers streamed past my childhood Methodist church in Silver City, the day’s first pass-through town. Pancakes (courtesy of “Mr. Pancake”) were being lobbed heavenward in lieu of prayers in the church and parsonage’s front yard:
Jacque Jerkovich of Council Bluffs took care of the annoyance of rolling up her sleeves by having friend Rich Lang of Council Bluffs hack off the sleeves with his pocket knife on the side of the road in Silver City. And she gave me one of them to hang on my bike. So I guess I’m collecting sleeves rather than RAGBRAI team koozies:
Matt Donovan of Ankeny is roller-blading RAGBRAI this year because of his bad back (from high school pole-vaulting):
Deb Rozeboom of Sauk Rapids, Minn., took a horrible spill last year on her first RAGBRAI and broke her left arm. But she’s back in the saddle this year and showed off her scar from surgery to install a plate as long as 6 inches, with six screws:
I have to admit that I wasn’t as impressed with the roller-blader when I learned that Blake Anderson of Iowa City is skateboarding RAGBRAI for charity:
My Carson-Macedonia High School class of 1990 was represented well along the route: The biggest parties on either side of Carson took place on two of my classmates’ farms.
Todd Richardson had everything from Mr. Pork Chop to Kelly’s Berry Best Pies on his 5-acre farmstead. (Oh, and free beer, which might have made a difference.) Here’s Todd in front of the throng:
Riders stoot in cool mist and also signed their hometowns (or countries) to a map:
And then on the other side of Carson, near Griswold, classmate Amy (Canoyer) Wyman and her family had their Canoyer Country Greenhouse well stocked with vendors — and strategically placed at the top of a stubborn hill in the middle of a sweltering afternoon.
But let me end with an image of a RAGBRAI pie — my first piece of the ride, a “Berry supreme” slice from the Richardson farm:
Much more to come … I need to crash now so I don’t tomorrow …
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