News & Events

Press Release

2017-2018

 

August 3, 2017

 

Pair of Cowley employees trek across Iowa

 

Dr. Kori GreggCowley College employees Meg Smith and Dr. Kori Gregg recently completed a seven-day, 450 plus mile bicycle ride while taking part in the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.


The duo trained for several weeks leading up to the event. Smith started training in March with rides starting at about six-eight miles and worked up to 30-50 mile rides by June.


They rode alongside around 25,000 other riders from around the world. In its 45th year, RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest recreational bicycle touring event in the world.


They met folks from New Zealand, Ireland, Boston and Chicago, and stayed with host families in Orange City, Clear Lake, Waukon and Cresco.
“I have ridden other long distance bike rides but I would have to say that there is none other like this one,” Dr. Gregg said. “With 25,000 cyclists participating and 1,000’s of teams, you could find virtually a group for anything.”


Smith grew up in Iowa and wanted to ride RAGBRAI as a teenager, but never had the opportunity. She rode two days in 2015 prior to taking part in this year’s event.


“I turned 50 this year and I was determined to make the full seven days, I rode every mile of it and loved it,” Smith said. “The maps won't tell you about the pride people felt when we said, thanks for hosting us in your lovely town. It's an experience I want to repeat over and over, as long as my legs will allow.”


The ride has passed through all 99 of Iowa's counties in its history. The 2017 ride featured the 14th community to be a starting point as well as the 105th community to be an overnight host during the week.


On the seventh and final day riders climbed 44 miles consisting of 3,200 feet of elevation.


“It's hard to complain when you look to your right and see a vet with prosthetic legs climbing beside you or the blind rider taking directions from the guide beside him or Dean, who rides every year on a custom built bike with no seat,” Smith said. “I watched as a disabled vet, on a recumbent bike, struggled on a particularly difficult hill. Riders determined to reach the top slowed their bikes and hopped off to help push him to the top. Where others stopped to cheer him on.”

 

Cowley employees trek across Iowa


Dr. Gregg agreed that the diversity in the participants and host families made a lasting impact.


“I met cyclists who came from all over the world to ride RAGBRAI. It wasn’t unusual to pass other cyclists who were speaking different languages and I met and rode with people from all over the US,” Dr. Gregg said. “It wasn’t uncommon to strike up a conversation with the cyclists next to you and to end up stopping together for lunch.  And the diversity of landscape was incredible. Starting in western Iowa, we rode across countryside that most envision as indicative of Iowa, with rolling hills and fields of corn as far as you could see. By the time we reached the eastern edge of Iowa, you could have told me I was in the Smokey Mountains as we rode through pine forests and on steep, winding roads.”


Dr. Gregg mentioned putting together a Cowley team for next year as there is simply no way to convey the experience in words or images.
“I think it is summed up best by an attorney from Florida that I rode with for a few miles one day. He said he does RAGBRAI every year and that it is “the ride of all rides”. I would have to agree with that,” Dr. Gregg said.