Many of you reading this know I’ve written daily columns about my adventures on RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) over the years.

The reason for writing initially was the fact that my first full RAGBRAI, in 2004, ended in Clinton while I was serving as sports editor of the Herald. I figured it would be fun to lead readers from start to finish.

This year’s 452-mile route begins in Glenwood, where on Sunday we take off for Atlantic. From there it’s off to Carroll, Boone, Altoona, Grinnell, Coralville and Davenport.

While my first RAGBRAI, with its end in Clinton, was a “coming home” of sorts, the 2011 version of the week-long ride will be as well.

Why? I have lived in three of this year’s overnight towns. Highlighting that group is Grinnell, where I have been since 2007 since taking the position of Sports Information Director at Grinnell College. Ahhhhhh...a night in my own bed and not a tent (plus MY OWN shower).

I’ve also lived in Atlantic and Boone, the latter while serving as a camp counselor at Camp Hantesa following my freshman year of college. Yeesh, I still can’t get all those dang camp songs out of my head after all these years.

This will mark the seventh time in the last eight years I’ve done RAGBRAI. Hill-wise, it’s supposed to be much tougher than last year, but easier than two years ago (which was a BEAR).

Last year I brought my baby, the recumbent bicycle, but due to the hills this year I’m taking my traditional cycle on the journey.

Training conditions this year, I’m sure any cyclist in the state could tell you, were good once we got rid of the rainy, windy, and overall plain yucky weather we had up until early June. With a good combination of hills and distance, I should be geared up to go (and yes, I immediately noticed the “geared” pun as soon as I typed it).

Speaking of training, I’ve done a good portion of my miles with Camanche native Rod Schultz. Rod is Grinnell College’s Managing Associate Director of Development and organizer of the college’s RAGBRAI group.

Just as last year, I will take a day off from my writing duties and Rod will take over for the article that will appear in Friday’s Herald. I like to read the perspective of others on the ride, so that will be fun.

Well, I’ll check in later.

Ted Schultz is Grinnell College’s Sports Information Director and former Clinton Herald Sports Editor.

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