INDEPENDENCE— Friday was a mini-retreat from paid jobs as I drove support for a small team of riders on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). The first ride was Aug. 26 through 31, 1973, when people got whatever bike was in the garage tuned up and headed to the Missouri River for what was to become an annual event with thousands of riders on more expensive bicycles.
The day began at 4 a.m., and I arrived to pick up my team in Waterloo around 6:30 a.m. We waited and watched weather radar maps for a couple of hours until the storms passed. Rain held back Friday’s morning start, but in the end, it was a great day for being outside, and in Iowa.
The support driver drops the riders off at the day’s starting point, which was in Waverly. We met in Sumner for lunch, and then I drove to Independence to pick them up. I was also on standby should something happen to one of our riders.
I spent a few hours at the public libraries in Sumner and Independence, and then sat on the front steps of the U.S. Post Office watching riders pass, and waiting for my team to finish for the day. It was time to do something different and get away.
We ended at a church spaghetti supper put on for the riders. It is a big deal for non-profits when RAGBRAI comes to town, and riders seek to carb up for the next day’s ride. After dropping the team at the motel, I headed home, making it back after 9 p.m. It was a long, thoughtful day.
Here are some photos from the rest stop in Sumner, where we had lunch.