The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa

2014 RAGBRAI

Colorado couple undaunted by RAGBRAI’s tiny hills

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Dave and Kathi Dibbern of Auroroa, Colo., pause for a snack in Garber on the final day of RAGBRAI 2014. (Kyle Munson/The Register)

Dave and Kathi Dibbern perched themselves on a tree stump Saturday in Garber, the final pass-through town before RAGBRAI’s finish line in Guttenberg.

They ride a tandem bicycle. And they’re unafraid of hills.

Partly that’s because this couple comes down from the mountains to ride RAGBRAI. The Dibberns hail from Aurora, Colo., and routinely pedal their way up and down the Rockies.

Dave, 64, plans to spend next weekend with his son on a Colorado bike ride that will require them to pedal 20 unbroken miles uphill.

But they’ll get to do it on single bikes. So his work this week on a tandem is good conditioning despite Iowa’s comparatively flat landscape.

“You get on a single bike, you think you’re on a Ferrari,” Dave said.

The Dibberns embarked on their first bike ride some 20 years ago, and this is their second RAGBRAI after an initial visit in 2012.

They’ve pedaled through driving snow and worse, mostly out of stubbornness, Dave said.

“If somebody else can do it,” he said. “I can do it.”

Kathi tried to characterize RAGBRAI’s unique atmosphere: Other bike rides also wind through small towns with all their Americana on display, but rural Iowans tend to greet bicyclists with an extra dose of enthusiasm.

Colorado’s small towns nestled near the Rockies “get a lot of tourists anyway,” she said.

Iowans go wild for RAGBRAI and the rare chance to see couples from Colorado and all points around the globe roll into town.

After I left the Dibberns I heaved my way up a steep Iowa hill that felt like a mountain to my Midwestern legs.

 

4 Comments

Susan Nelson, Jul 27, 2014 at 1:43 pm

I remember them. They really loved the toffee butterscotch brownies.

John Gilpin, Jul 28, 2014 at 8:45 pm

Thanks for the great blog. I too am from Colorado, and at the age of 71 I trained hard for my first Ragbrai. There were some hills in Iowa, but for the most part I was able to ride them in my large gear. 12,000 vertical feet–200 ft at a time. I really did enjoy the ride, and glad that I trained on hills that exceed 12 percent, so the Iowa “humps” were a piece of cake.

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