RAGBRAI news team
Sun, Jul 21, 2013 | by Emily SchettlerShare
Gary Whitby has a long list of foods to try on his three-week trip through Iowa and the United States.
Fortunately, the 45-year-old from Perth, Australia, has a week of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa to help conquer many of the staples.
Whitby has already crossed off sweet corn and steak on a stick, thanks to his Iowa host, Tom Casavant.
What’s left? Rhubarb pie, pork chops and Beekman’s Homemade Ice Cream, for sure. And maybe a State Fair corn dog for good measure.
“This is going to be my gastronomic tour of Iowa,” Whitby said Saturday as he relaxed in the food tent after downing a fresh-squeezed Iowa lemonade at the bike expo that precedes RAGBRAI.
The nation’s oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event starts this morning in Council Bluffs along the Missouri River and ends Saturday in Fort Madison along the Mississippi River.
Whitby flew into the United States for the first time on Thursday. While here, he’ll also travel to Colorado, California and Wyoming.
Despite that, the three-time Iron Man competitor had several people ask: of all the places to visit, why Iowa?
“Tom told me about this ride and the opportunity to get a little crazy so I said, ‘Let’s do it,’” Whitby said.
Fewer than 1 percent of the estimated 10,000 participants in RAGBRAI come from overseas, according to RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz.
This year, they hail from Nepal, Germany and Japan, among other countries.
Whitby traveled 11,000 miles to participate in the seven-day trek across the state. It’s similar to the trip Casavant took in 2012 to participate in Perth’s Rottnest Channel Swim.
The University of Iowa professor swam a 20-kilometer race across the channel from Perth to Rottnest Island.
Whitby, a stranger at the time, volunteered to be his skipper and follow his route in a boat. The two became fast friends, and Casavant invited the Australian to come take part in another uniquely local challenge.
Though Perth and Iowa are nearly half a world apart, both men say there are strong similarities between the two.
Like Iowa, Perth, in western Australia, often gets written off when people think of the country as a whole, they said.
“There’s no respect, but there’s a lot of interesting and awesome things about it,” Whitby said.
The same goes for Iowa. And, said Casavant, much of that is on display during RAGBRAI.
“I think he’s going to find out there’s a lot here,” he said.
Want to ride with us all week for RAGBRAI XLIII? The deadline for registration is April 1, just under a week away.
The deadline to register online as a weeklong rider for this year’s RAGBRAI is midnight, April 1.
Zoom in on the towns and byways for RAGBRAI 2015.
During a driving vacation out west, I noticed the popularity of bumper-attached bicycle and luggage racks. Are there any rules with these?
The definitive guide to how riders will get fed and cooled off (oh, and maybe see some important stuff) during RAGBRAI XLIII.
RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz previews the 8 towns that the ride has never visited.
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RAGBRAI XLIII's full route and more details to be published HERE on Sunday
RAGBRAI XLIII is still five months away but that is no reason not to think about getting on your bike and starting your preparation. I don’t know what the weather ...
RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz points out highlights of the pass-through towns along the route cyclists will follow July 19 to 25, 2015.
RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz previews the 8 towns that the ride has never touched.
Tune in to RAGBRAI.com this weekend to be the first to know the details of this year's route. RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz shares when the rookie pass through towns, full route map will be announced.
RAGBRAI director TJ Juskiewicz annouces the 2015 overnight towns. Ride will start in Sioux City and end in Davenport.
The Register's Kyle Munson and Michael Morain attempt to get an early look at the 2015 RAGBRAI route
We are excited to reveal our new logo for RAGBRAI XLIII and 2015! If you join us on our ride across the state next year, you’ll be sure to see welcoming Iowans, lots of farmland and… well you’ll just have to watch the video to find out.
Look back on the ride of 2014 in this video highlight reel.
A group of friends from Canada spent the week on RAGBRAI and recount their best moments.
As RAGBRAI XLII comes to an end, friends from California talk about the emotion behind dipping their tires into the Mississippi River at the end of the ride.
Riders react at the Guttenberg dip site.
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