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 http://www.livestrong.org/. 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!