15,000 riders and 100+ degrees

Des Moines University Trustee Brian Hart, owner of Hart Financial LLC in Des Moines, and his wife, Julie, are peddling 471.1 miles this week with approximately 15,000 other bicyclists from around the world during RAGBRAI, the Des Moines Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. This annual week-long bike ride, now in its 40th year, is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world. While the route changes every year, the ride – which the Register dubs a “rolling celebration of Iowa” – always begins somewhere on the state’s western border on the Missouri River and ends on its eastern border on the Mississippi River. This year is Brian’s and Julie’s fifth RAGBRAI. Below, Brian shares perspectives from the RAGBRAI road, Day 2.


RAGBRAI: Monday, July 23, 2012

It is 8 p.m. and still near 100 degrees. One rider reported temps of 109 early afternoon. We had 20 miles to go. The TV stations, radios and news media are warning people to not venture outside. The 15,000 bike riders did not get the message.

I stopped in one town today and had my blood pressure checked at the mobile medic. Amazingly it was a bit high. After 45 miles and 95 degrees, why would the blood pressure be elevated? Not seriously so, but still not perfect. Feeling good, heat is oppressive, the ride is a hoot!

The average age of the riders is mid-40s. There are people of all ages. Riding up a hill today I passed the same petite lady, older than I, that I passed several times earlier today and yesterday. It often happens that you strike up a conversation and ride with strangers for some miles. People from all over the US and other countries.

Where are you from. Des Moines. How many RAGBRAIs have you done? Fifteen or sixteen. Impressive. Her grandson just graduated from college. She is a retired Mercy Medical Center med-tech. No youngster here. So how come I keep passing you? I ride faster and you get there sooner. How does that work?

It is not the speed with which you go down the road or how fast you spin the pedals. Consistency and focus win the day!

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