The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa


July 29, 2011

Saturday marks RAGBRAI’s last stretch

CORALVILLE — While all days of RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) have been exciting, Friday may have topped the list.

Why? It was College Spirit Day, and several riders came out in full support of their allegiances with various college jerseys.

Before I talk about Friday's ride, though, a HUGE thanks to Rod Schultz for writing Friday's column! As he indicated, Grin-nell was hopping the whole day and I heard from many riders Friday that Grinnell was the best overnight town of the ride.

We hosted some riders Thursday night at our house outside of Grinnell. That group included my friends Ben and Brad, two guys I met on RAGBRAI two years ago, as well as their driver, Lee.

Also at our house were my brother-in-law John and his fiancee, Brenda.

Ben, Brad and I rode together Friday. Ben and Brad were decked out in their Iowa Hawkeye “FryFest ... Salute to Dan Gable” bike jerseys and me in my Grinnell College jersey.

Throughout the day, I saw dozens and dozens of colleges represented on jerseys. It was great ... one minute a University of Arizona jersey, the next a North Dakota jersey.

Our 75-mile journey began with a 15-mile jaunt to Brooklyn, where a booming voice on a loudspeaker gave shout-outs to various jerseys the announcer noticed. He saw me and said “Grinnell College is in the house ... the first team to play Iowa in a football game.

This is true ... Grinnell and the University of Iowa played each other in the first collegiate football game west of the Mississippi River, and the Pioneers won! Look it up if you don't believe me.

From there it was another eight miles to Victor and six to Ladora, during which we saw a skateboarder who has been doing the entire RAGBRAI route. With all the bumps in the road, that does not sound fun.

From there it was another seven miles to Marengo before we buzzed through the Amana Colonies, which included a stop in Homestead. I remember stopping there a few years ago and there was great entertainment, and that trend continued Friday with a band called Past Masters.

They were excellent, playing anything from Buddy Holly to 70s music!

It was another six miles to Oxford before we headed on a long 18-mile haul to Coralville. The latter trek was broken up by a stop at a farm pond where people were given the opportunity to swim (I didn't, but many did).

Well, tomorrow we finish things up with a ride to Davenport. I'll check in later.

Ted Schultz is a former Clinton Herald sports editor and currently the sports information director at Grinnell College.

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