Saturday, July 28, 2007

Day 7: Dyersville to Bellevue- All Good Things Come to an End!

After a fast paced and hilly 56 mile ride from Dyersville to Bellevue, I dipped the front tire of my bike into the Mississippi River and just like that, my ride across Iowa was over. In some respects, it was along week. On the other hand, it went by in a flash. We traveled a long way. Iowa may not be the biggest state, but ride across it some week and you won't refer to it as small. 477 miles. Mostly cross wind, often into the wind and seldom with the wind. Such is the whim of the weather Gods in Iowa. At least we were spared unbearable heat.

When I think about the week I had, I will remember it for two things. First and foremost I will remember it for the RAGBRAI experience. RAGBRAI is the most unique cycling event in the country and arguably one of the most well known in the world, aside from The Tour de France. It is the oldest and longest annual state cycling tour in the country. If RAGBRAI is about anything, it is about Iowa. People from all 50 states and 21 foreign countries came to Iowa to experience RAGBRAI. The people we met whether in a town of 150 or 15,000 were warm, friendly and welcoming and made me proud to be an Iowa resident. I was also impressed by the beauty of our state. Rolling hills, endless fields of corn, rivers, streams and quaint little towns are what Iowa is all about. Sometimes it takes 477 miles of pedaling to really appreciate what we have in our state. And of course, the things you see along the way you will never forget. Whether it is the guy pedaling a bike encased in a banana, the "sail bike" or the guy riding the unicycle (all the way I might say), there is always something to make you smile, no matter how sore your butt may be.

I will also always remember my week for my participation as a member of Team LIVESTRONG. Riding with Lance Armstrong was an honor, quite an honor indeed. But the real honorable thing that our team did was raise $350,000 in support of The Lance Armstrong Foundation's ongoing battle against cancer. I am eternally grateful to all those of you who so generously supported me. Your generosity made me the events top fundraiser. It was a proud accomplishment that I share with all of you.

During my week, I rode with countless numbers of cancer survivors and patients. I was inspired by their strength, energy and optimism as they embrace the LAF's mantra to "LIVESTRONG". Whether it was Lisa who was between chemo treatments yet still rode a little ways with us every day or Joe who is a 13 year cancer survivor, I was amazed at the passion these folks have for life.

The LAF is a wonderful organization. If you or a loved one is facing cancer, checkout It makes endless amounts of valuable information and support available to you. While at the site you can also join the LIVESTRONG Army and become a cancer advocate.

Tomorrow will be a well deserved day of rest for me as I will stay off my bike. But I am sure some time next week I will get in the saddle and go for a ride. I'll miss not hearing Mr. Porkchop, the sight of Tender Tom's Turkey stand, the aroma of the Pastafarian and smoothies at the Garden of Eden. I'll also miss the Key Lime, Apple and Pumpkin pie. But I'll still have my bike and the open road ahead which as they say, is better than a day at the office!

Once again, thank you so much for all of your support.

And for the final time, I'll

See you down the road!


Friday, July 27, 2007

Day 6: Independence to Dyersville- What a Ride!!!

Riding with Lance this week hasn't been a real easy event as he has started at 11am most days. By that time most of us are a pork chop and two slices of pie into our ride. Today, he started at 9am and we were all there to join him for a group ride. It was without a doubt the best day I have ever had riding a bike. 150 of us started out on a fairly leisurely ride out of Independence towards Dyersville. A few miles in Lance picked up the pace and only about 40 of us were able to hang with him. I was one of the 40 and before I knew it I was side by side riding with Lance at 22MPH, chatting and having a ball. All told, I rode with him for 25 miles before he bowed out to head to France to watch his team (Discovery Channel) win it all at the Tour de France. I sat on his wheel, I pulled for him, we climbed a hill together out of our saddles and we lead the team into a 15 MPH head wind for almost 10 miles. When he peeled off, we kept an aggressive pace and I actually completed the 65 miles ride in better than 20MPH. It was a day I'll never forget.

So here we are. 421 miles down, 56 to go. Tomorrow will be our shortest, but hilliest day of the ride. I am looking forward to it. I like hills and I am looking forward to patsrideacrossiowa coming to an end.

Tomorrow my post will come from home. I'll take some time to reflect on the week and the experience and share some of my feelings with you. It has been a week that I will always remember.

The pictures of us with Lance were taken right before our ride. We also made it to the Field of Dreams. Looks just like it did in the movie, right down to the "black sox ghosts" walking out of the corn.

Best food of the day: Turkey/Bacon/Guacamole sandwich.

See you down the road.


Thursday, July 26, 2007

Day 5: Cedar Falls to Independence- Training Day

Today felt more like a training ride through the Jefferson county countryside than a leg of RAGBRAI. I got out a little bit before 6am and completed my 63 mile ride by about 9:15am. There were not a lot of other riders on the road and many of the pass through towns seemed surprised to see cyclists so early. I felt real good today, with no real problems. Saddle is getting a little sore but that shouldn't be a real problem with two relatively short days left. 360 miles down, 120 to go. I am looking forward to Dyersville tomorrow as I have never seen the Field of Dreams.

The top picture is of me starting my ride to Independence at sunrise. Jack, can you tell I am wearing my Wisconsin Badger cycling jersey? The other picture is of the red hat ladies that I met as I was riding into Independence. Our mom's are red hat ladies, so we thought they would enjoy the picture.

Not much else to report from the road. Did a little laundry today and otherwise just resting and catching up on email. I'll have a longer report for your tomorrow, the eve our our final ride.

I would like to thank Sam for his comments and let him know that I did indeed thank Dallas Clark for beating the Bears in the super bowl! Keep those comments coming.

Best food of the day: Pancakes, eggs and bacon at the R&R Cafe in Independence.

See you down the road.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Day 4: Hampton to Cedar Falls- Over the Hump!

Today was "hump day" on RAGBRAI. We have now completed 300 miles (only 30 of which have been downwind) with 177 to go. I had a real good ride today. Legs were strong and I "pulled" my group for many miles today. Pulling means riding on front which is tougher than sitting on someones wheel. I'm starting to sound like a real cyclist, aren't I? My saddle, while a little sore, seems in good shape to get to Bellevue. Tomorrow is a short day at only 62 miles. Winds will be light and in our favor most of the way. We don't have a team start so I am on my own. I plan to go out early and be done well before noon,

We had a chance to go to a VIP reception for the LAF. Here is a picture of Denise and I with John Edwards. Nice guy, but a little too far left for me.

The other picture is of me and my out of control riding partners at the Blues Traveler concert.

Special thanks to Annette, Ryan, Jack and Mae for their comments. Annette, I hope your recovery is going well and I look forward to swapping RAGBRAI stories with you soon. Ryan, your emailing me on DAHI time is okay but don't make a habit out of it or you may be without a job in the next few weeks. Jack, check back tomorrow for a cool Badger picture. Mae, I will only ride across China if you ride with me. Starting training those little legs.

It's getting late, so I need to get to bed. I'll be back tomorrow with another update.

Best food of the day: Chicken Salad sandwich at the Peacock Cafe in Ablington...amazing!

See you down the road.

Pat, Dad, Uncle Pat, etc........

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day 3: Humboldt to Hampton- Where's Lance?

Whenever we ride in groups with our Team LIVESTRONG jerseys on we constantly get people along the route asking us "where's Lance?" For some reason, with my helmet and sunglasses on people mistake me for Lance. On Sunday a guy asked me for an autograph. Today, a guy came up to me and thanked me for everything I do with my foundation. Unfortunately, I don't have one. Needless to say, my riding partners get a big kick out of this and now whenever anyone asks "where's Lance?", they just point to me.

The lower picture is of two of my teammates. In the middle is Joe Schneider, a 13 year cancer survivor and a fellow top fundraiser. On the left is John Tuite, another fellow top fundraiser who came all the way from Ireland to ride across Iowa. The other picture is of the Eagle Grove cheerleaders who were hawking breakfast burritos. I promised them a picture on my blog, so here it is girls.

The ride today was good considering how bad I felt when I woke up. Tomorrow we cross the halfway point and it is all downhill from there. Looking forward to being in a real city tomorrow night as rural Iowa is just that, rural.

Best food of the day: A pancake and sausage on a stick.

Thanks to Doug for the comment!

See you down the road


Day 2- Spencer to Humboldt- Dinner with the Stars

Every night from 6pm to 7pm we have "Happy Hour" at Camp Livestrong. Tonight during happy hour our LAF team leader Chris Brewer asked Denise and I if we would like to join Lance Armstrong and a few of his friends for dinner at the house he was staying at. Needless to say, we were quite excited. When we got to Lance's place we were joined by a few of his friends as well as current Indianapolis Colts and former Hawkeye Dallas Clark and his wife Karen. Lance was great. He is a very funny, down to earth guy who just enjoys hanging out and having a good time. His friends were also great and talking Badger versus Hawkeye trash with Dallas was a blast. We even got to try on his Super Bowl Championship ring. Needless to say, the evening was the highlight of the trip thus far.
The days ride was a tough one. Windy and hot and later in the day I was somwhat uncomfortable in the saddle. I need an easy day tomorrow as I have tried to hang with guys a bit younger and stronger than me thus far, and there is still along way to go to get to Bellevue. The good news is that we have our two longest days (77 and 76 miles) behind us. Tomorrow is ONLY 71 miles and after that, the furthest we ride is 68. The picture is of me arriving in Humboldt. I look better than I feel. Sorry, no Lance pictures yet. Maybe later this week.
Best food of the day: Key Lime Pie
See you down the road
P.S.- I am still waiting for comments. The more the merrier

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Day 1: Rock Rapids to Spencer- Wind Swept Fields

Day 1 was quite a day. The pictures are of me and some of my teammates as we set off on our ride and as you might recognize, Lance Armstrong.
I rode well, felt well, but probably should have realized I have six more days to ride. I certainly was not like the average RAGBRAI rider as I averaged almost 18 MPH. Wind was a problem most of the day as I certainly learned the value of drafting. Tomorrow our team captain says we have to ride as group, draft off each other and go no faster than 15 MPH to conserve energy for later in the week. We also need to stop more often, eat more pie and be better advocates of the LAF. I have no problem with any of that and look forward to an easy day tomorrow (assuming I recover tonight!).

Denise and I had the chance to attend a youth event featuring Lance Armstrong. I had the honor of holding the microphone as the kids asked Lance questions and yes, after the event I got the chance to meet Lance and have a chat. Quite an honor, quite an honor indeed. I'll have a number of chances this week to spend more time with him.

To Kathy, Julia and Diane, I thought about all of you today. There are many survivors riding with us who are a real inspiration. LIVESTRONG and keep up the good fight!

Hi to Ben, Ryan and Tyler. Hi also to the Weaton boys. Hi to all at DAHI. Hi to Sam, Jack, Riley and Mae!
Gotta go and get some sleep. On the road by 7am tomorrow.

Best food of the day: hot mini sugar donuts.
See you down the road.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Ready to Ride

My training is pretty much complete and I proclaim myself ready to ride. After almost 1300 miles on the road with no problems other than the occassional stiff back, there is nothing to do now except pack. What will I bring for the riding part of the week? Riding jerseys are a must and I will bring four including my Team LIVESTRONG jersey, my RAGBRAI 2007 Jersey and my Team WISCONSIN jersey, all shown here. I'll also have 4 pairs of cycling shorts, 4 pairs of cycling socks, 3 types of various creams to prevent and soothe saddle soreness, 4 water bottles, 2 pair of cycling gloves, 2 helmets, 1 pair of cycling shoes and various spare parts and tools in case they are needed during the ride. This will allow me the luxury of only having to do laundry once!

On the fundraising front I have some exciting news. With your help, we raised over $30,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation and their ongoing support of cancer, research and awareness. Your generosity made me the top RAGBRAI/Team LIVESTRONG fundraiser. I am not quite sure just what that means, but rumor has it I will be spending some quality time with Lance himself during the week. I will update you as I learn more.

The Dexter Apache Challenge is in the books and the generous folks at Apache were not only the top per capita donors, but also beat out Dexter in total donations raised. Congratulations all you Badgers (and one Hawkeye). We will be up in August to make good on our bet. Thank you everyone for your extreme generosity. I must say I am just amazed by your support.

This will be my last post until RAGBRAI. Starting Saturday 7/21, I will post everyday with pictures and commentaries on all the days events, activities, high, lows, pains, etc. I encourage you to post a comment when you get a chance. I'll respond to all that I get.

Have a great week and I hope I'll see you down the road.


Saturday, July 7, 2007

Go the Distance

RAGBRAI 2007 stops in Dyersville, Iowa, home of the Field of Dreams and the famous line "go the distance". Today I went the distance as I covered 85 miles in my longest training ride yet. I was on the road by 5:30am and back home by 10:30am. I felt good the whole way and getting out early to beat the heat really helped.

My next two weeks will be lighter training weeks as I want to begin to conserve energy for RAGBRAI week. I may actually do a little more running and a little less riding to give my seat a rest. With 1200 training miles under my belt, I feel ready to go.

Apache has taken a rather commanding lead in the Dexter/Apache fundraising challenge. They pulled even with Dexter last week, gave them a quick stare and then sped past them as Lance Armstrong often did to his competition in the mountains. Will Dexter have a response? With only one week of fundraising left, we'll have to see. Overall, my fundraising campaign has gone extremely well and has exceeded expectations.

Once again, THANKS to all of you who have contributed. For those of you still looking to participate, your donations need to be to me by next Wednesday, July 11th at the latest. You know the process by now, cash or check to me or Dale Sue Glass in Fairfield or to Pam Korth in Wisconsin.

A big thanks to my wife Denise and to Chris Brewer at the LAF who were the first to comment on my website. Chris, I am looking forward to meeting you and perhaps spending some time riding together during RAGBRAI. For those of you who have checked out this site, don't be afraid to hit the comment button and send me a note.

And finally, The Tour De France started today. You can catch all the action on the VS (versus) network (channel 72 on Mediacom in Fairfield). American George Hincapie of Lance Armstrong's former Discovery Channel Team sits in 3rd after the first day. The first day of racing was a 5 mile time of the few days in July when I'll actually ride further than the Tour riders!!!

See you down the road....


Sunday, June 24, 2007

My New Ride

I mentioned in my last update that I had a surprise for this post. As you can see by the picture, my surprise is a new ride for RAGBRAI. Last Sunday I traded in my "old" bike for a new Trek Pilot 5.0 road bike. Why a new bike when I had a perfectly good one to begin with? Three reasons: First and most important, the Trek Pilot has a different frame geometry more suited for middle aged riders like myself. It allows me to sit a little more upright in the saddle even when I am low on my handlebars, which takes stress off my neck and back and quite simply makes for a more comfortable ride. When you are approaching 50 years of age and spending many hours a week on a bike, comfort is pretty important. Second, nothing beats new technology. My new bike has a full carbon fiber frame and fork which makes it very light and strong. The OCLV carbon used in my frame is the same that Lance Armstrong rode in his 7 Tour de France victories. At 17 pounds, my new bike is fast and comfortable, a great combination. And the final reason to buy a new bike (this one in particular)??? Because it is Wisconsin red and white.....enough said!

The Dexter Apache challenge is shaping up to be a real horse race. Dexter got out to an early lead but the folks up at Apache are closing the gap very quickly. Who wants a lunch cooked by senior management worse? Keep up the great work everybody and remember you have until July 15, 2007 to donate (see my "Welcome" post for details). Whether it is $1, $10, $100 or more, everything helps and is very much appreciated. Join the fun and help us beat cancer once and for all! All of you non Dexter Apache supporters have been equally fantastic. Thank you for your generosity.

Despite being gone most of the weekend at a wedding, I had another good training week. I put in 120 miles on the bike which takes my total training miles up to 800. Just for good measure, I threw in 42 miles of running. With 4 weeks until RAGBRAI, I feel great. I'm starting to think I may be able to hang with Lance for more than a few miles.

RAGBRAI week for Team LIVESTRONG is shaping up to be real exciting. In addition to riding with Lance, we will have a couple of opportunities to spend time with him off the bike as well as get front row seats to a concert he is hosting at the UNI Dome. I'll keep you posted as more is announced.

Until next week, take a walk, ride a bike or go for a run. And most importantly, help me help the Lance Armstrong Foundation get a stranglehold on cancer.

See you down the road.


Monday, June 18, 2007

Back In The Saddle

After being in Las Vegas for a week at a trade show, I finally got back in the saddle this past weekend. It was an important two days as it was my first back-to-back long days. Saturday I rode 70 miles through Jefferson, Van Buren and Washington counties. The last 20 miles were very warm. I was really tired by the end of the ride and was pretty worn out the rest of the day. I was really worried about my 50 mile ride the next morning. Riding in the same heat Sunday, I felt great for 50 miles and I think I solved the mystery of saddle soreness as I had a virtually pain free ride. My legs and lungs felt real strong and I am really encouraged about my fitness and my ability to survive 7 long days in the saddle. I am up to 670 miles of training and have now increased my training goal to an even 1,000 miles.

On the fundraising front, things are going well. Me and my 100 other LIVESTRONG teammates have raised about $150,000 for the Lance Armstrong Foundation with over a month to go. Personally, my fundraising campaign is off to a strong start. For those of you who have contributed, thank you so much. For those of you still planning on contributing, you still have time. See my "Welcome" post below for details on making your contribution. And by the way, Dexter has the early lead on Apache in the DAHI contribution challenge.

This week's picture is of the back of my LIVESTRONG team jersey. It's what I hope Lance will see most of RAGBRAI week!!! Stay tuned for next week as I have a surprise for my next post.

Finally, I would love to hear from you. At the end of this and each post you will see the word "comments". Click on this and you can send me a comment, question or just some simple words of encouragement.

Thanks again for your amazing support.

See you down the road.


Sunday, June 10, 2007


Congratulations to Team Dexter/Apache this past weekend. Lead by team captain Dale Sue Glass, the team raised about $4,000 for the American Cancer Society "relay for life". My wife Denise and I walked with the team for a while. The volunteers, supporters and survivors were all an inspiration. In their own way, they all stepped up and met the challenge.

Speaking of challenges, the employees at Dexter in Iowa and Apache in Wisconsin have agreed to a challenge worth every bit of the 500 miles I will ride in RAGBRAI. They have challenged each other to raise more donations per employee than the other. If Apache wins, I will head up to Wisconsin with some Iowa based managers and cook and serve lunch to everyone at Apache. If Dexter wins, Jim Freeze and his managers have to head to Iowa and cook and serve lunch to everyone at Dexter. This one is for more than donations. It is also for bragging rights. So come on everyone, step up and support cancer and the Lance Armstrong Foundation. We can't win the fight without your help. For those of you who have already made a contribution, thank you so much for your generosity. I must say, I am truly overwhelmed.

My training continues to go well. I rode about 150 miles this past week and ran 40 miles. I guess its no wonder why I am falling asleep on the couch at 8:30pm most nights! Yesterday, I rode 75 miles. My longest ride yet. I rode the same route as last week with a loop around Fairfield thrown in to get the total ride up to 75 miles. It was a great day to ride, and I felt good all around. Next weekend I plan on doing a 70 miler and a 50 miler on consecutive days to see how I respond to back-to-back long rides.

This weeks picture shows off my new RAGBRAI 2007 cycling jersey. It came a few days ago with all my credentials for the ride. Very exciting! Now all I need is for my Lance Armstrong Foundation LIVESTRONG jersey and my Wisconsin Badger jersey to arrive and I'll be all set. And yes, I would wear a Hawkeye jersey one day during RAGBRAI if I had one.

Well that's all for this week. Get out for a walk or go for a bike ride and LIVESTRONG!

See you down the road.


Saturday, June 2, 2007

Questions and Answers

Its been about two weeks since my last post and I have had a lot of questions about my RAGBRAI ride. I'll get to some of those in a moment, but first, an update on my training.

Today I did my longest ride yet. I covered 70 miles in a little less than 4 hours touring through the southeast Iowa towns of Birmingham, Stockport, Lockridge, Brighton and back to Fairfield. Rain threatened the first couple of hours but after that, it was real nice. As Lance might say, it was a good day in the saddle. My legs, lungs and heart felt great. Most important though, my saddle felt pretty good. I'm up over 400 training miles now and about halfway through my minimum training goal. Now on to some questions:

What kind of bike do you ride? As you can see by the picture, I ride a Trek 2200 road bike. It is made out of high alloy aluminum and carbon fiber. The wheel sets and tires are made by a German company named Bontrager and the mechanical components are made by a Japanese company named Shimano. The most important part of the bike is my saddle. It is made by an Italian company named Fizik (pronounced "physique") and I am starting to get real comfortable in it. My bike weighs about 19 pounds. Trek has made the world's best bicycles for over 30 years including every bicycle rode by Lance Armstrong during his seven Tour de France wins. I wear cycling clothes by Pearl Izumi including shoes with cleats that lock into the pedals and gel padded gloves to absorb road shock. And of course, I wear a helmet, made by Bell.

What do you think about when you ride? Work, friends, family, how much I am going to enjoy a cold beer when I get off the bike. Today I thought about many of the people I know battling cancer. I thought about my cousin Diane who is doing great and starting to put cancer in her rear view mirror. I thought about Julia Burt, a close family friend who is fighting a tough bout with cancer. She has just finished up a very aggressive schedule of chemotherapy. Julie, you are in our prayers and we think of you often. I thought about the Dexter Apache employees who right now are battling cancer. You guys are in our hearts and prayers. And I smiled when I thought about our survivors. Continue to LIVESTRONG you guys!

What route are your riding in RAGBRAI? The route and everything else you would want to know about RAGBRAI can be found at

What can you tell me about the Lance Armstrong Foundation? Everything you need to know can be found at

Finally, I want to thank everyone who has contributed to the LAF on behalf of my ride. Your generosity is overwhelming. Keep your support coming and remember, either Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc. or myself will personally match all donations.

Check back in a week or so for my next post.

Until then, go for a ride, just for the health of it.

See you down the road,


P.S. Thanks to all the riders and walkers who participated in Dexter Apache's first "bike to work Friday". I'll see all of you and hopefully more next Friday.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Welcome To My Ride!!!

Welcome to the initial post to the "Pat's Ride Across Iowa" blog site. If you had enough interest to get this far, I hope you will follow me on my journey leading up to and including my ride across Iowa in RAGBRAI XXXV.

Why ride across Iowa? In one respect, just to prove to myself that I can. I've run 13 marathons, so they don't hold the same challenge that they once did. So why not ride across a state!!

But more than proving anything, my participation in RAGBRAI is about my ongoing passion to live an active and healthy life. It is part of who I am and who I want to be. I hope my ride will inspire you to go for a walk, a run or perhaps a ride.

My RAGBRAI ride is also about our ongoing battle against one of America's dealiest killers- cancer. Lance Armstrong and his LIVESTRONG Army will be participating in RAGBRAI. I will be joining them and in doing so I have committed to raising funds for the Lance Armstrong Foundation (LAF) so that we can fight and beat this deadly killer. I hope you will support me and the LAF with both your moral and spirtual support as well as your financial generosity.

Donations can be forwarded to: Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc., 2211 W. Grimes Avenue, Fairfield, Iowa 52556, attention: Pat Albregts. Make checks payable to The Lance Armstrong Foundation. They are a 501-C-3 charitable organization so your contribution is tax deductible. I'll make sure Lance and his Army get them, personally. And I will be matching all personal donations 100%, while Dexter Apache Holdings, Inc will be matching corporate donations 100%.

So why a Blog site? It's a great way for you to follow my efforts. I will post an update every week until RAGBRAI starts and then I will post every day during the ride, complete with the lowdown on my training, my fundraising efforts and other important details (pictures included).

The picture above was taken today before a 50 mile training ride that took me from Fairfield to Birmingham, Stockport, Lockridge and back home. Sunny, cool and with light winds, I covered the distance in about 2 hours and 45 minutes- about 18 MPH! I felt great although I am still a ways from having my backside fully acclimated to the saddle. My training goal is to ride 700-800 miles leading up to RAGBRAI. I'm up to 250 at the moment.

So stay tuned for more updates and thanks in advance for your support. We have all been touched in some way by cancer. Let's continue to work hard to beat this terrible killer.

See you down the road.