The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 20, 2013

RAGBRAI begins journey today

By Ted Schultz
Special to the Herald

GRINNELL — It’s late July, so in the state of Iowa that can only mean one thing — RAGBRAI!

Hard to believe, but this will be the ninth time I’ve done the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa.

Before I continue, let me back up and introduce myself. My name is Ted Schultz, and I served as sports editor at the Clinton Herald from 1994 through 2007, when I took the position of Sports Information Director at Grinnell College.

My history with the ride goes back to 2004, when I rode for the first year and wrote daily columns for the Herald. And while I loved my initial ride, I never had plans of doing it again … I considered it checked off my bucket list.

So in 2005 I skipped it, but as I read about the ride in the Des Moines Register, the urge to do it again came calling.

Sure enough, I was back on the road in 2006 for what proved to be my most adventuresome RAGBRAI (fighting serious heat and head wind between Ida Grove and Audubon, sleeping in the bathroom at the Waukee athletic facility since my tent was flooded out by a monsoon, etc.).

Ahhhhh … memories.

This year will be interesting, to say the least. It is one of the shorter RAGBRAIs in history, with the weeklong ride consisting of just 407 miles (non-bikers still say that’s pretty far, but overall it is quite short for a week).

We begin in Council Bluffs today, the same starting spot as 2009. From there it’s to Harlan and then Perry, that 83-mile route being the longest of our journey.

Then we go for a bunch of “short” rides, to Des Moines, Knoxville and Oskaloosa.

After that we head to Fairfield and finish things off in Fort Madison.

As an added bonus, word is that Lance Armstrong will be doing part of the ride again. There has been much made about how he’ll be greeted by other riders. I think I speak for most when I say “don’t know, don’t care” … I suspect I won’t even run into him.

Anyway, pray for dry skies. I can handle heat and hills on RAGBRAI, but riding in rain is no fun.

Check in later.

Ted Schultz is a former Clinton Herald sports editor and is the sports information director at Grinnell College. He will be writing columns about RAGBRAI from the road, with those columns to be published in the Herald throughout the ride.