Written by: Joel Derksen, Blue Ride
Day 41 and we’re rolling on through Iowa. Today had us riding 75 miles from Osceola to Ottumwa. Not that anyone knows where either of those places are. The ride was calm and relaxed, as we continued up and down the rolling hills, and finished off the day with a lovely 15 mile stretch down an empty country road.
We’re used to having a bit of the spotlight as the out-of-town cyclists in these small towns, but not here in Iowa. Our route and timing this week happens to coincide with Ragbrai, an annual event where 20,000 cyclists show up to bike across Iowa. While we aren’t staying in any of the same cities as this other group only slightly larger than ourselves, we certainly notice their presence. We’ve found ourselves regularly passing other cyclists on the road, seeing their many SAG buses and vans, and saying to locals for the hundredth time, “No, we’re actually not with Ragbrai!”
We’re currently staying at the Willard United Methodist Church here in Ottumwa. They must really like cyclists, because as soon as we get out the door tomorrow, they’ll be putting on a huge meal for hundreds of Ragbrai participants as they pass through. And even so they’ve been gracious enough to warmly host us and provide us with our own wonderful (if slightly smaller) dinner.
My evening was spent walking in and around a nearby park, enjoying the company of a few other riders and letting ourselves be kids again on the monkey bars, see-saws, and swings. With all the fun we had, maybe next year we’ll change things up a bit and inaugurate the FCPA: Fuller Center Playground Adventure!