Thursday, July 26, 2012


Day 3 was a day of epic proportion.  Jon and Krissy (me) had decided a few days prior that they would do the 100 mile route option this year, rotating who would ride Grandpa's bike and their own.  We woke up really early, and were on the road just before 5:00am.  We quickly found out that we weren't the only ones trying to beat the heat as there were a ton of other "dark-time" riders out.  The cool air made for an enjoyable ride and we made good time meeting up with our other Uffda teammate, Uncle Steve, in Lohrville.  From there we rode together for a bit until we parted ways so we could head on the John Karras Loop option just outside of Dayton.  The terrain was "scenic" as Iowans call it, which is just a pleasant word for "hilly," but it was a very pretty landscape so we tried hard to not pay as close of attention to the headwind and hills.  As we rolled into Stratford we were thrilled to find that John Karras himself was there talking to riders, and we had the great pleasure of meeting him.  A while back I had written an article for the RAGBRAI website about my Grandpa and and Mr. Karras took the time to email me after he had read it.  Both of us had been hoping to meet up during RAGBRAI, but with 25,000 riders on the ride it's like looking for a needle in a haystack.  Mr. Karras knew right who we were when we approached him, and it meant the world to see him smile from ear to ear when he talked to us about our cause.  It was definitely the highlight of the day.
Jon, John Karras, and myself (Krissy) in Stratford, Ia

Finally, we had to press on.  Jon (my dad) was a bulldog on the hills for most of the day.  Eighty miles on that heavy bike plus the wind catching sign on the back, made for some difficult riding, so I offered to do the last 20 miles on it.  From the moment I got going, all I could think was "how did he do this for 8 miles?!"  The amount of strength and perseverance to get through even one mile seemed like too much for me, and I'm a pretty strong rider, but this was crazy!  With my dad by my side though, we made it, and rolled into Webster City in the early evening hours.  It had been an extremely long and tough day, but one that meant so much to both of us.  When we got to our overnight house we hugged for a minute, not believing we were finally done, and full of emotion from knowing why we were set on finishing that day.  All of this was for Grandpa.

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