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Man brings cancer-victim’s ashes along on RAGBRAI

  • 28 July, 2018
  • Dani Gehr

A cancer victim got to ride RAGBRAI this year postmortem with the help of someone who didn’t even know her.

Scott Weber is helping out a friend, Chris Rodman, who wanted to give his deceased wife Christine a chance to experience the ride across Iowa, something she wanted to do before dying of cancer in 2011. Weber road all seven days with Christine’s ashes in the back of his bike.

Weber entered the Rodmans’ lives through their son Quinnie Rodman, 17, who is drum major at Mount Vernon Highschool, where Weber is the band director. Weber got to know the family, later learning Christine died when Quinnie was young.

Christine, who loved traveling and finding new adventures, always talked about riding RAGBRAI, thinking it’d be fun to do with her son Carter, who is now a junior at Coe College. Right when she was thinking about signing up, Christine was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer Sept. 11, 2006. She died January 2011 and asked that she be cremated, and her ashes spread in Hawaii, though Chris saved some, thinking the kids could put them together when he dies.

“Christine was very much live in the moment,” Chris said. “People were more important than things. Very family oriented, kind of quiet, but she always let you know where you stood with her.”

Chris and Christine were high school sweethearts, graduating from Kennedy High School in Cedar Rapids. They dated for eight years and were married five before having children.

“Her theory was she wanted to go and travel and do some things before she had a family because she didn’t want to have to wait to do them until she got older which was a good thing because she passed away when she was (in her 30s), so she wouldn’t have done the Hawaii trips and the Colorado trips and the ocean trips,” Chris said.

A couple years later he thought he could find someone to take Christine’s ashes along with them on RAGBRAI, so she could technically still ride. That person turned out to be Weber, who started at Mount Vernon High School in 2015.

“When we were doing the marching band meeting, I thought as he was talking, I thought there’s the guy I can get to do it,” Chris said.

After finding out Weber did RAGBRAI, Chris asked him last year if he would bring Christine with him, though some conflicts kept Weber from riding. This year, when he asked again, Weber was ready to do it.

Weber said he was honored and found the experience to be motivating through the 500-mile journey, saying he feels more motivated to finish than he has in past years. The ride is especially meaningful because of how close he is to Quinnie since she became his drum major. The two constantly work together, and his job would be impossible without her help.

“The whole time that I’m riding, you kind of have that in the back of your head that I’m doing this for Chris and for Quinnie,” Weber said. “It gives me purpose I guess, sounds weird but knowing that I’m doing this for someone who lost somebody who was so special to them, it’s pretty cool.”

He said he feels like Christine is with him, even talking to her a few times during the more difficult parts of the ride.

“Just like, ‘Please, please, help me up this hill,’” Weber said, adding he had just biked up several horrendous hills that day. “I said, ‘I am doing this for you, so any help you can give me to make my legs stop burning would be awesome.’”

Weber has done the ride several years now, following his college roommate who is now on his team, Team Pie Hunter. He said bringing Christine along embodies what RAGBRAI is about, bringing people together.

“There’s a lot more than just biking that’s involved in it,” Weber said. “It’s like 10,000 of your best friends, you just don’t know them.”

With four children, all heavily involved in school whether it be athletics, music or both, Chris still makes it out to every event or makes sure to send a grandparent.

“My answer when people say what do you do for fun is I take a nap,” Chris said. “I don’t know what I would’ve done without the kids because Christine was my best friend and my high school sweetheart, so if it wouldn’t have been for the kids, I don’t know what I would have done.”

4 Comments

  1. Frank McDermott

    This story hit home for me. My wife passed away on Oct 02, 2015. She, too was cremated. I brought her with me in July, 2017. She rests in Anthon, my hometown,
    and she rests in Orange City, Iowa.
    Our Grandson, Connor Sams graduated from there in May, 2018.

  2. Frank McDermott

    This story hit home for me. My wife passed away on Oct 02, 2015. She, too was cremated. I brought her with me in July, 2017, on RAGBRAI.
    She rests in Anthon, my hometown,
    and she rests in Orange City, Iowa.
    Our Grandson, Connor Sams graduated from there in May, 2018.

  3. Frank McDermott

    This story hit home for me. My wife passed away on Oct 02, 2015. She, too was cremated. I brought her with me in July, 2017, on RAGBRAI.
    She now rests in Anthon, my hometown, and she rests in Orange City, Iowa. at
    Northwestern College
    Our Grandson, Connor Sams graduated from there in May, 2018. They had a special
    bond. It still is a special feeling. Frank McDermott, San Clemente, CA

  4. Scott Anderson

    This hit me as well. I have stage 4 Appendix cancer and I was planning on going to RAGBRAI this year. I did not because of my chemo schedule and the fact that I am not as strong as I used to be. Cancer sucks!

    This brought tears to my eyes as I read this, because I know this cancer will kill me and RAGBRAI was always on my bucket list. I live in Virginia now, but was raised in Des Moines.

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