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Danes welcome invading hordes

RAGBRAI descends upon Ringsted

July 25, 2014
By Michael Tidemann - Staff Writer , Estherville News

When the first viking raiders came to England at Lindisfarne monastery in 793, the invaders were termed Danes for the next 250 years.

Now whether the term Danes was accurate or not is beside the point, but it goes to show how closely the Danes and vikings have been aligned through the centuries.

It was the Danes' turn to be invaded Tuesday when several thousand RAGBRIers descended upon the sleepy town of Ringsted, reveling and enjoying other merriments.

Article Photos

Ringsted’s Main Street was packed Tuesday morning with RAGBRAI riders who had left Emmetsburg that morning. Find more photos from the day on Page 11A.
Photo by Michael Tidemann

It was the first RAGBRAI for Miles Beacom of Sioux Falls, S.D.

"It's incredible. You look at all these bikes in each town we stopped."

Last year was the first time Beacom did a long-distance bike run - a 54-miler in Sioux Falls. Monday's ride of 40 miles was pretty mild in comparison to what Beacom faced Tuesday.

"Today's going to be tough in the hundred miler," said Beacom.

Beacom said he's going to try to finish the whole route across Iowa. He was riding with Team First Premier Bank of Sioux Falls.

"This is just a fun group," said Beacom. "A great bunch of guys."

Gary Fick of Edmond, Okla., originally Mitchellville, was on his third RAGBRAI this time. The first he did with his daughter Meredith and this year he brought several family members.

"I told them how much fun it was," said Fick, who's ridden for three days each time.

This was Alicia Noschang's fourth RAGBRAI.

So what keeps her coming back?

"The people of Iowa, the hospitality and the good food," said Noschang, admitting the hardest part was the wind.

Nancy Niemer, who was riding RAGBRAI with Noschang and who also hails from Cincinnati, was on her ninth Iowa tour. Niemer has done the entire route every time.

Omar Golzalez, originally from Colombia and now Newton, came to the US to study in 1984. He met his wife here, and stayed.

"It's the best way to get to know Iowa," said Gonzalez, who was riding with his two sons and a daughter. He's done eight or nine RAGBRAIs before.

Omar's son Rafael has done three or four.

This was the first RAGBRAI for Tammy Gibson of Gallatin, Tenn, a relative novice who just started cycling just about exactly a year ago last July 18. She planned on doing the entire trip.

This was also the first RAGBRAI for Francis Connelly of Mason City.

"It's been fun," Connelly said, adding that he's been riding for two or three years.

So what's his favorite part of it all?

"All the food. It's guilt-free eating," he said, adding that he figures he'll be burning off 7,500 calories a day.

"I'll just keep eating and drinking," Connelly said. "The wind is the only thing."

Connelly found Monday's ride with 95-degree temperatures and soaking humidity somewhat grueling. Still, he's able to manage a steady pace of 15-16 miles an hour.

"It's awesome," said Kristin Vander Kam of San Diego, on her first RAGBRAI, but she's had friends doing it for the last four to five years.

"It's good. Good food. Lots of people," said Vander Kam.



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