RAGBRAI rides again
15K cyclists descend on Fort Dodge
With an excessive heat warning and temperatures already rising at 9 a.m. Monday, Ed Movic decided it was the perfect time to cool off with a cherry sno cone as he walked around Callender.
Movic, of Hendersonville, North Carolina, was one of more than 15,000 cyclists making their way across Iowa for RAGBRAI XLVIII this week.
The bike ride started Sunday morning in Le Mars before heading to Sac City for an overnight stop Sunday night.
Monday morning, the cyclists packed up and hit the road, heading 67.5 miles east, making stops in Lytton, Yetter, Lake City, Rinard, Callender and Moorland, before heading into Fort Dodge for the second overnight stop.
Movic, like other cyclists who stopped in Callender, walked around, checking out the vendor booths and enjoying the small town hospitality from community members. The purple stuffed eagle attached to the top of his helmet was his constant companion.
“I bought it in Eagle Grove on my first RAGBRAI,” he said.
The eagle rides with him for every RAGBRAI now. Movic said he’s only ever missed one year of the bike ride, and that was because his daughter was getting married.
“I like that I wake up when I want to, I can do what I want and no one’s telling me what to do,” he said of his motivation for doing the 400-mile bike ride each summer.
For Michelle and Rob Trayer, of Stuarts Draft, Virginia, RAGBRAI is an anniversary of sorts.
The couple met for the first time in Rolfe while riding RAGBRAI in 2007.
“We’ve been married for 10 years,” Rob Trayer said.
The Trayers continued riding RAGBRAI for a few years, but stopped about a decade ago. They decided to make the trip out west once again this summer for RAGBRAI XLVIII.
“I enjoy biking all day and the people,” Michelle Trayer said. “And the small towns and how they welcome you.”
The Trayers ride with The Tall Dogs cycling club from Des Moines during the weeklong ride. But back in Virgina, they spend time riding in the Shenandoah Valley.
“We like the miles, but some RAGBRAI riders don’t train at all,” Rob Trayer said. “They don’t have any miles in. We’ve already ridden 4,000 miles this year.”
Chris Mayer, of Melbourne, has completed eight RAGBRAI rides.
“I just love doing it,” he said. “It’s a challenge every year.”
While the 454 miles and 11,954 feet of climb of the ride’s route make up much of the challenge of RAGBRAI, this year, the oppressive heat — with temperatures rising to nearly 100 on Wednesday — greatly adds to that challenge. But Mayer has a plan.
“For me it’s plenty of water, plenty of sleep and no alcohol,” he said.
Nancy Klatt of Charles City, felt Monday’s 67 miles of distance and 996 feet of climb from Sac City to Fort Dodge was a piece of cake compared to Sunday’s 84 miles of distance and 2,681 feet of climb from Le Mars to Sac City.
“Today seemed like a breeze,” she said. “Yesterday was brutal. It was 94 degrees. It was a long, hot day.”
Monday’s ride route also included “a lot of good beer stops,” she added.
Klatt was riding with friend Kush Chandak, of Minneapolis. The pair enjoy people watching during the RAGBRAI stops.
“The best part is going through small towns and actually talking with the local people and meeting new people and making connections,” Chandak said.
Klatt said she was impressed with the city of Fort Dodge and the entertainment area down Central Avenue in downtown Fort Dodge, acknowledging all the time and effort that goes into planning and organizing an overnight stop.
“It’s the volunteers that make the difference,” she said. “It doesn’t go unnoticed. We do know it takes a lot of work to make this happen.”
The more than 15,000 RAGBRAI riders and their crews will be packing up and hitting the road this morning. Today’s ride is almost 55 miles of distance and just over 1,000 feet of climb to Iowa Falls. The riders will pass through Duncombe, Webster City, Blairsburg, Williams and Alden.