Forgotten RAGBRAI: Woman Aims to Make New Memories After Accident

By Jill Kasparie, Reporter


By Jill Kasparie

WAVERLY, Iowa - Laura Baker is preparing to ride RAGBRAI for the second time, but it will be a completely new experience for her.

She doesn’t remember anything about her first RAGBRAI.

The 26-year-old is a graduate student in Denver. She just arrived home to Waverly ahead of RAGBRAI.

Back in August Laura was seriously injured when she crashed her bike. It happened during a biking event in Colorado. The avid bike rider was going down a hill at a high speed and stopped too quickly.

"I don't remember the accident at all, nothing at all,” Laura Baker said.

Just looking at Laura it's hard to believe less than a year ago she was in a coma. She crashed her bike and survived a traumatic brain injury.

"I tried to stop, which caused me to flip over the handlebars and land on my head, wearing a helmet,” Laura Baker said.

The impact took a lot from her. Months of memories have just vanished.

"All told, I mean, six to eight months probably,” Laura Baker said.

That includes all of her memories of last year's RAGBRAI. She rode with her dad, Tom. He remembers every bit of the muggy trip and is filling her in on what she's lost.

"We did our bonding thing and I thought I was done,” Tom Baker said. “But since she doesn't remember last year, we are doing it again.”

Her dad said there's no way he would let her ride alone this year.

"I want it to be special for both of us,” Tom Baker said.

So, in just days the pair will set out for the long trip. Laura will take the bike that landed her in the hospital back in August.

"It's the first time, we have to reconnect, we have to bond, re-bond, me and the bike,” Laura Baker said.

The 26-year-old said nothing could stop her from getting back on her bike. It has been a goal to do RAGBRAI again throughout her recovery.

"Everything has worked out really great,” Tom Baker said. “She’s still got some challenges for sure but to be able to be riding again is really cool.”

Now, the Waverly woman with a love for biking will make new memories for ones that disappeared.

Laura and her dad are doing the entire seven day trip.

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