The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

Opinion

July 21, 2013

Trek takes riders to Harlan

HARLAN — What could have proved to be a day with some difficulties on RAGBRAI turned out to be a piece of cake.

There were rumors that Sunday’s opening day of the Register’s Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa could be filled with thunderstorms.

But instead, riders were greeted by pleasant weather conditions as we worked the 55-mile route from Council Bluffs to Harlan.

Sunday morning began oddly when I woke up at 3:15 a.m. to the sounds of a tent being dismantled a short distance away. My neighbor had told me the night before he likes to get on the road early during RAGBRAI, but seriously??? 3:15 a.m.??? It would be dark the first few hours of the ride.

About an hour later I awoke again to the sounds of thunder, as well as some lightning. I stayed in my tent until about 4:45 and thought, “If I don’t get my stuff packed up now, I’ll be doing it in a pouring rain.”

I not only got it packed up in quick fashion, but the clouds and rain stayed to the south, it appeared.

It was a beautiful view leaving Council Bluffs, where a look to the left gave riders a wonderful glance of the Omaha, Neb., downtown skyline across the Missouri River.

A bit later we began climbing a hill…and climbing…and climbing. It wasn’t the steepest hill I’ve ever encountered, but maybe the longest. Seemed like it was never going to end.

From there it was a flat 11 miles to Weston, which I’m not sure is even a town, and then another five miles to Underwood. The curiosity of riders was aroused when signs kept popping up, “Sasquatch Crossing, 5 miles,” Sasquatch Crossing, 3 miles,” etc.

When we arrived in Underwood, there were at least three signs or references to Sasquatch, as well as a stand where three girls were handing out samples of Jack Link’s Jerky. Then it made sense (the Messin’ with Sasquatch commercials … one of the girls told me there is a Jack Link’s distribution plant in Underwood, thus the connection).

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