Thousands of cyclists are wrapping up the first full day of riding on RAGBRAI 44. It turned out to be a deadly day as one rider was killed early this morning.
Sunday night riders are getting ready for the longest leg of this years ride, a 75 mile pedal to Creston.
Rain might not always be what the riders want to deal with but after 2 days of high humidity, the late afternoon shower came as a big relief all but gardening better biking conditions tomorrow.
Each year this ride brings folks together. For some the week marks the only time they're together all year. It's a connection being enjoyed for the 5th time by Rick Gipner of Spirit Lake.
"We live in Iowa, they live in Florida. We kind of meet half way," says Gipner.
It's the kind of connection RAGBRAI can produce.
"We've ridden together in 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014 and we're doing it again this year," says Mike Siebel from St. Petersburg, FL.
The couples have been friends for more than 20 years, meeting after Gipner and his wife moved to Florida. After returning to Iowa in 2005 hitting the road together became a tradition.
"Last year was the Katy Trail in Missouri, then Virginia and Maryland area keeps us busy and out of trouble.," says Gipner.
Despite his Florida roots Siebel says preparing for Iowa weather wasn't easy to do.
"If I had a dollar for every time someone said that. Ya know in Florida when it gets 93-94 degrees it rains. It never gets to 100 degrees. Never, never gets that hot in Florida so we didn't do a lot of heat training," says Siebel.
For Gipner steamy weather and big crowds are just part of the summer season in Spirit Lake.
"It's very similar. People are very friendly on RAGBRAI the people here have been very friendly. Very busy and friendly and willing to help you out," says Gipner.
Something they hope to experience again Monday when their bikes come to a stop in Creston.
It's amazing how many times in 2 short days folks from Siouxland have come up and said hi. Sioux Center, Alton, Cherokee, RAGBRAI is truly a melting pot not only of Iowa but the world with riders from places like Argentina riding this year.
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