Outdoors

RAGBRAI DAY 4: The struggle bus

Laura Sievert, right, arrived Wednesday in Centerville after the longest day of RAGBRAI. | Submitted Photo
Posted: Jul. 25, 2019 4:10 pm Updated: Jul. 25, 2019 4:22 pm

Editor's Note: Laura Sievert, executive director of Arts Quincy, is participating in the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa or RAGBRAI. The 427-mile trip will have her pedal Sunday through Saturday from Council Bluffs to Keokuk, Iowa. Laura is blogging about her adventure and the home-baked pie along the way.

I rode my bike 90 miles today. That's a long way.

After a nice morning that started at 5 a.m., we rode a little harder than previous days. It was good and I felt like I was cooking right along until about 40 miles in. About then, I was really in the thick of RAGBRAI, riding the struggle bus. It got hot, and I was climbing a two-mile long hill that was just a slog. And then I had a "RAGBRAI moment."

A lady looks over at me, both of us going about 5 mph up this hill, and asks, "Are you OK?"

"Not really," I said.

"Me neither … but we got this!"

And we powered to the top together. The lady's name is Lynn, and she's from Cedar Rapids. We paired up and started chatting, and soon the miles started clicking away. We had a lot in common, not the least of which was a love of cycling and the arts.

That's the thing I love the most about big rides. There's this spirit of camaraderie and helpfulness that's special. Making friends passes the miles. Passing the miles makes great friends.

We finished the day together and celebrated at the top of a big hill to finish off our longest day on RAGBRAI.

The famous Iowa ham balls in Centerville. | Submitted Photo

In addition to this great moment, I basically ate in every church basement on the route today. I had cookies and saw a quilt show in Liberty Center. Fun fact: there were more cyclists in the church than people who live in the town – population 26! We ate a big breakfast burrito and a delicious sticky bun in a Catholic church in Chariton. And then I experienced the famous Iowa ham balls, lovingly cooked by church ladies in Centerville. A gourmet day provided by the lovely churches of Iowa.

On to Fairfield next, just 65 miles down the road. Two hundred fifty miles down for the week. Not bad at all!

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