Pedaling to restore America’s Favorite Pastime – Accomplished!

Posted by on Aug 1 in RAGBRAI

454 miles complete!

Our last day of riding began in Coralville and proceeded through Iowa City (home of the University of Iowa and the former state capital), West Branch, Springdale, Moscow, Durant, Wilton, Walcott and finally into the Mississippi River town of Davenport.

Not your average milk man!

Each town once again had its own signature means of attracting and encouraging the riders. In West Branch (birthplace of Herbert Hoover), you could naturally have your picture taken with the former President’s likeness. In Wilton, a banjo serenade greeted us. And of course in Davenport, seemingly every front yard and street corner was lined with local residents offering their shouts of “Congratulations.”

A banjo serenade

With each passing mile the Build Our Ballpark team’s fatigued legs felt a bit stronger as we neared the end of our journey, and once the mighty Mississippi was in sight we nearly sprinted to the finish. This was aided, of course, by a terrific downhill ride off of the river hills which, with thoughtful planning, included two EMT teams in case the speed got the best of the riders or their bikes. At journey’s end we found the grand river also well outside of its banks, owing to the huge rains the region has experienced this summer – just like the Missouri River at the start of the ride.

RAGBRAI brings out the best in Iowa

Our team arrived within minutes of each other and we did so intact (thankfully), after these many days. Gliding to a stop at the river, we had a feeling of both exhaustion from the past week, and relief and accomplishment for tackling the challenge of 454 miles, 22,000 vertical feet of climbing, heat, humidity, rain, broken roads and sore muscles. Importantly, we did so as a team.

Team BOB completes RAGBRAI

And as we packed our bikes and headed home, the feeling was that we had experienced something very special. We had had the privilege provided to us by RAGBRAI of seeing a side of Iowa that most don’t see – the small towns and truly warm and special people who occupy this state. They turned out in droves to offer support, entertainment, food and hospitality, really asking only that we enjoy ourselves and stay safe along the way – simple, unassuming and heartwarming.

So we end on a note of gratitude and thanks. To the folks at the Des Moines Register and Bike World of Iowa for making RAGBRAI and our team’s ride possible; to the great people at Build Our Ballpark for helping us get our daily reports out to each of you; and to the lovely people of Iowa, who are truly good people.

Robert and Mike from Team BOB

And, a special thanks to all of you who have supported us in this ride with your donations and words of encouragement. To date, the organization has completed seven ballparks with six more under construction and eight more in the planning, giving hundreds of kids a chance to experience part of the joy of being a kid. Thank you!

Best regards,
Bob Hellman