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RAGBRAI Riders Dip Wheels in Mississippi River at Guttenberg

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GUTTENBERG, Iowa — They started by dipping their back tires in the Rock River in Rock Valley on Sunday.

RAGBRAI riders finished their 431-mile trek across the state by dipping their front tires in the Mississippi River at Guttenberg.

After about 67 miles Friday, they had similar distance Saturday from Independence to Guttenberg.

The ride to the river was a piece of cake compared to Friday’s survival of the fittest endurance test to Indee.

But by the time you have pedalled more than 400 miles you are almost mechanical like Cowboy Bob in Edgewood. But even Bob would have had to gear down to get up 2 big hills outside of Garber.

“It was brutal. Never experienced anything like this in Chicago,” said Khaled Aboueid.

It was down hill to the ride’s end on the Mississippi in Guttenberg.

Oh the last 20 miles were beautiful. The scenery was gorgeous.

Then the traditional ceremonial dipping of the tires in the river signifying mission accomplished.

“I am an old man with one foot in the grave and the other one slipping. It’s kind of an accomplishment,” said John Hayes from Washington.

Gary Fisher of Tampa said “It is a sense of accomplishment. Hey, I can do this.”

“Awesome accomplishment pedalling for 7 days to go across the state. Amazing. Loved it,” said Bethany Mathias of Spencer.

When asked if she would do it again, Abby Emmert of Iowa City answered, “Yes. I hope so. I would like to do it every year if I could.”

So another RAGBRAI is in the books. We want to thank the Saunders, Nelsons and Keith Donnelly who housed us along the way. A special thanks to photographer Joel Girdner who accompanied me on every mile of the trek.

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