Thousands from across the country and the world pedaled out of Council Bluffs Sunday morning for the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Race Across Iowa (RAGBRAI).
Day one of the week-long trek and many took their bikes to the Missouri River to dip the tires in the water. “Fantastic,” said Todd Bauer of Minnesota. “It's going to be a great ride."
He had planned to do RAGBRAI last year with friends, but the group had to cancel after Bauer suffered a heart attack the week before the ride. Now he's healthy and the group was ready to go. "We are just going to take in the sights and have a good time,” said Corey Brown.
"Just seeing the variety of bikes, the variety of people and how the hometowns support everyone along the way, that's something I'm really fascinated by,” said Steve Mills.
For some, the day brought the excitement of a first RAGBRAI. For Geoff Perrill, this was his 22nd and he marks each year completed on his leg. He was riding with friends and said they were feeling good. “Chipper, rather chipper, we are ready to ride."
All the bicyclists were excited for the week ahead and looking forward to the feeling of accomplishment after such a long ride. “We will be dipping our tire on the other side next Saturday,” said Rhonda Debough. The route ends in Fort Madison.
The first day took riders about 55 miles to Harlan.
Lance Armstrong is taking part in RAGBRAI, his first big event since he admitted to doping in past Tour de France events.