86 miles, 103 degrees and high headwinds – no problem!

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 3.


RAGBRAI: Tuesday, July 24, 2012

82 miles from Lake City to Webster City. High expected: 103 degrees. If we leave at 5:30 a.m. and log an average of 10 miles per hour, we will be on the road until 2 p.m. or so. Ten miles per hour seems slow; you actually ride 15 mph or more. With food and other stops, we find 10 mph is a good guide.

RAGBRAI riders in McCallsburg, Iowa

Nobody told us about the 20+ mph headwind from the east!! Pedaling hard, you could maintain 10-12 mph. The winds kept the 103 degrees tolerable. Gallons of perspiration dried instantly. We left camp at 5:30 a.m. and arrived at our next camp at 5 p.m. Lots of breaks. Some goofing around. 86 miles for the day. Very tired. Victorious!

Got to experience the Dayton community band play “Stars and Stripes” and a few other pieces. Smoothies, hard-boiled eggs on a stick, pork on a stick, smoothies, bananas, water, Gatorade, fuel and more fuel.

Yesterday I thought it would be fun to demo a bike from one of the bike reps available each night in the host town. I forgot to take my heart monitor off the regular bike. The demo had no odometer. No data! All day. No mph! No “how many more miles”! No “did I exceed my heart rate for a guy my age?” And my cell phone battery went dead. There is no service out in the sticks. The phone keeps looking until it dies. No electronic interface all day. Completely naked!

And so, dear DMU student, what would you tell a 56-year-old male when he tells you he is going to go ride hills for 86 miles in 103+ heat in a 20 mph headwind?

Just say DON’T!

But he won’t listen. He’s having fun!

Scroll to Top