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A Few Thoughts of RAGBRAI

Posted July 25, 2013 in Community Blogs
Hannah Harfst & John Ferrell enjoying RAGBRAI in Hamlin, Iowa

Hannah Harfst & John Ferrell enjoying RAGBRAI in Hamlin, Iowa

This week I had the opportunity to enjoy part of RAGBRAI.  Normally I try to ride from the Missouri River to the Mississippi River.  Unfortunately with my schedule this year I am not able to ride the entire week.

For me the highlight of RAGBRAI this year was having my daughter Hannah experience RAGBRAI for the first time.  On Monday the route traveled from Harlan to Perry.

Hannah rode approximately 40 miles and absolutely loved it.  Prior to this day her longest training ride had only been 15 miles.  Once she started riding she really enjoyed seeing the different types of personalities along the route.

When I asked her to list her top three things with riding her first RAGBRAI, she responded by saying: riding 40 miles in one day, the food, and spending time with her boyfriend (typical teenage daughter response).

While on RAGBRAI it was interesting to find out everybody’s reaction to Lance Armstrong riding this year.  Most of the persons I spoke with were okay with him riding even with his poor judgment of using performance enhancing drugs.  The part that has bothered me is during his denial he went on the attack for those who blew the whistle on him and destroyed many persons’ reputations and careers.

However, for the poor decisions he has made in his life he has also done great things with cancer awareness.  The first year Lance rode on RAGBRAI I listened to him speak in downtown Newton in front of approximately 30,000 persons.  He spoke as a cancer survivor as well as promoting the Livestrong Foundation.  At the time a friend of mine had a daughter who was fighting brain cancer.  After his speech a small group of cancer survivors met with him privately.  His daughter was extremely inspired by his speech.  He spoke about hope and to not let cancer beat you.  Unfortunately she died from cancer a few years later.  She was so moved from his speech it was mentioned in her obituary.

As I have mentioned before, RAGBRAI is the best way to see Iowa, eat good food, and meet wonderful people.  I am hoping to ride the entire route next year.  Have a great week.

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