When you’ve riden 411 miles, what’s .7 more?
LANSING, Ia. — Some people are just gluttons for punishment.
After 411 miles and seven days of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, some cyclists chose to conquer one last, very steep hill.
After all, what’s .7 miles when you’ve already done 411?
Mount Hosmer is a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It’s located 250 feet above Lansing and is accessible only by a narrow, curvy road.
The first turn and steepest slope is a 17 percent incline.
Mount Hosmer is named after Harriet Hosmer, a famous sculptor who in the 1850s won a foot race against a steamboat crew to the summit. She made it in 7 minutes and 3 seconds.
So to celebrate the end of RAGBRAI, the city decided to host The Mount Hosmer Challenge: Can you make it to the top by bicycle and beat Harriet Hosmer’s time?
Officials expected several hundred to take it on. Forty two had completed the race by 10:15 a.m.
Richard Wang, 54, of Honolulu, said it was a no-brainer to add this one last thing to an already challenging week.
“It’s not about winning anything, it’s about accomplishing things,” he said. “After a long week of riding, it was a very appropriate, achievable goal.”
Gary Auten, 49, of Sunnyvale, California, said he tried The Mount Hosmer Challenge because he enjoys climbing and competition. He regularly logs his times on the hills of California using the bicycle tracking website Strava.
“I didn’t think it was going to be that steep,” Auten said after he finished. “Someone told me it was easy, so that was wrong.”
But the view from the top was worth it, they said. Both planned to take in the views on the more casual descent downhill.
Participants were timed electronically and will be given their results later in the day. The fastest unofficial time this morning was 3:53.
It was much faster that Harriet Hosmer’s time, but then again, she was on two feet.