The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

July 24, 2012

Schultz: Fun to be had at RAGBRAI

By Ted Schultz
Special to the Herald

CHEROKEE — Ask any RAGBRAI (Register’s Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) rider to sum up Monday’s 62-mile route from Cherokee to Lake View, you’ll get one answer – hot!

The temperatures were not only pushing or surpassing 100 degrees, it got steamy pretty early. Already at 8:30 a.m. I heard a rider complaining about the heat.

Let me go back to Sunday, though. After that day’s ride to Cherokee, there were some fine acts downtown but NOTHING that matched the singing of a 13-year-old girl. This young lady had a voice that exceeded her age. Simply amazing.

More RAGBRAI coverage online.

For the second night in a row, we got rained on while sleeping. But it was just a quick shower, so not much got wet in my tent even though I hadn’t put the fly up until it began raining.

Monday’s route began with an eight-mile pedal to Aurelia, where Clinton native Heather Parker spotted me. I coached Heather in cross country and track when she was at Clinton High School. It was great to see her again.

After that it was 10 miles to Hanover Village, which really wasn’t a town, and 11 miles to Schaller. During that trip I saw not one, but two, unicyclists on the ride. There is no way that could be easy.

I got some good advice while stopped at Schaller. I was looking at a fire hydrant that riders could use to fill their water bottles, and a resident said, “Don’t drink that water.” I asked why and she said,  well, I’m not going to type what she said, but I think you know what I’m saying.

I thought maybe she was just some disgruntled customer of the water company, so I got in line to fill my bottle anyway. As I drew close, a man and his daughter (both residents, as well) walked by and were talking to those filling their bottles. I asked him what he was saying to them and he said, “Take my advice … don’t drink that water if you’re not used to it. You’ll get sick as a dog.”

Then his daughter said, “Yep, it’s really gross.”

That’s all I had to hear. I figured my water bottle could go unfilled until the next town.

Quite a time later, I stopped at a food stand and heard a lady say, “Man, the water in that one town was awful.” I asked her which town, and sure enough, it was from the fire hydrant.

She’d already downed a bottle of it and I told her what I’d heard. All she said was, “Well, that might explain something.”

That’s more info than I needed.

After Schaller it was 12 miles to Nemaha. During that stretch I saw none other than Joe Murphy, a friend of mine back when he was a photographer at the Clinton Herald. He was shooting photos for his new job. After Nemaha it was another 12 miles to Sac City and then 10 miles until Lake View. The final stretch to Lake View included some hills, for the most part I think everyone got in OK.

When I arrived in Lake View I was greeted by my brother and sister, Tom and Jackie, and brother-in-law Scott.

They came up to visit me as well as my sister, Paula, who is doing her first RAGBRAI.

Other family members up here to visit are my mom, sister Karla, my niece Miranda and her daughter Lily, niece Reigan, and nephew Isaac.

Karla and Scott have a place in Lake View and that’s where I’m spending a nice night in comfy air conditioning.

Today it’s off to Webster City. I’ll check in then.

Ted Schultz, of Grinnell, served as the Clinton Herald’s sports editor from 1995 to 2007. Catch his column this week in the Herald and at clintonherald.com.