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A little friendly rivalry

  • 29 July, 2011

Riders traded out their official RAGBRAI and team jerseys out for some school pride Friday. And some rivalry.

Larry Gross listed the rivalries he could take advantage of while riding in his red University of Wisconsin jersey.

There’s Iowa, of course, with its border feud. And Minnesota — it’s just too bad the new divisions in the Big 10 means that game will happen less frequently.

But he was especially happy to yell at anyone nearby in a University of Nebraska uniform, the newest addition to the Big 10 conference.

“Whoever came up with this spirit day was a genius,” he said, walking his bike through Brooklyn.

Friday’s theme is Spirit Day and riders were instructed to wear jerseys from their favorite college teams.

Gross, who is from Chicago, (also making him a Bears fan — he’s ready if there’s ever a NFL themed day) is riding his fourth RAGBRAI.

“And I’ll be back next year. And the year after. And the year after,” he said.

He walked away yelling, “Go Badgers.”

As expected, University and Iowa State jerseys dominated the crowd, making for rivalries even within teams.

And on a nearby patch of grass Cindy Visser sat with Geoff Eastburn enjoying a cold drink and breeze.

Visser, who has done RAGBRAI for 20 years, wore a Hawkeye jersey. She graduated from the University of Iowa. Eastburn proudly sported his own alma mater’s colors: Iowa State.

They agreed the majority of shirts they’d seen so far were from the two teams, though there was a fair number of University of Northern Iowa jerseys too.

“But more Hawkeye jerseys because they’re better, of course,” Visser said while Eastburn scoffed.

Even aside from RAGBRAI’s trademark friendliness, they said Spirit Day gave riders yet something else to talk about.

“It’s a good idea,” Visser said. “It’s a new twist to RAGBRAI.”

Ten minutes watching the crowd, though, also proved just how diverse the crowd was, and how far some people had traveled.

Aside from the Iowa state schools, plenty of Big 10 schools were visible: Wisconsin, Purdue, Michigan, Indiana. But amidst the cyclists stood riders in jerseys from Simpson, Florida State, University of Florida, University of South Dakota, Luther, University of New Mexico, Colorado State and University of North Carolina.



  1. Otter

    Wish I could have rode today and helped represent UNI.

  2. Matt Smith

    Since I was wearing my Santa Clara University jersey I was able to meet an incoming freshman. It was a great way to make connections.

  3. Toni

    Wartburg College was also represented! GO KNIGHTS!

  4. Gordie

    As a cyclone, technically I did not finish the route this day, because I went around the imitation Kinnick Stadium. Just couldn’t bring myself to ride thru it, even though it was very cool!

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