With temperatures climbing into the triple digits during Monday&rsquo;s ride from Cherokee to Lake View, the massage tent was a popular place to stretch out and relax. Cold drink and food were also popular with riders and support crews.<br /><br />
With temperatures climbing into the triple digits during Monday’s ride from Cherokee to Lake View, the massage tent was a popular place to stretch out and relax. Cold drink and food were also popular with riders and support crews.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

LAKE VIEW — Each time Iowa City resident Ted Lepic traverses more than 400 miles of his home soil in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, he learns something new.

In his six RAGBRAI rides, he’s stumbled upon an Amish village, saddled an elephant and embraced new foods — like the pineapple infused bratwurst he gnawed in Lake View Monday afternoon.

For 40 years, the wheeled journey has promised a weeklong adventure to eager cyclists of all ages, where daily monotonies and workplace personas are easily forgotten. On Monday, Lepic, 67, was among more than 20,000 RAGBRAI participants who descended into Lake View, the smallest overnight town and second stop of the ride, after snaking east through Sac County from Cherokee that morning.

The dry conditions, which neared 100 degrees by the afternoon, spurred a heat advisory for the entire state but didn’t force some enthused cyclists to shed their head-to-toe Elvis getups or those neon pink, feather boas.

Temporary tattoos have become a tradition for Lepic and his brother, a duo that prefers perusing barns over bars, like the one where they pet llamas in Hanover on Monday.

“People make RAGBRAI their own,” Lepic said. ‘That’s what’s so neat.”

While there’s no one-size-fits-all formula for how to do RAGBRAI, at least there’s some consensus this year about getting out early to beat the heat.

Many cyclists left before the 6 a.m. sunrise on their 62-mile trek Monday from Cherokee to Lake View. By 11 a.m., the lake town of 1,200 was transformed — for the second time in RAGBRAI history — into an overnight destination for weary cyclists, its downtown sprawling with homemade ice cream, hand-pitched tents and sunburns.

The town rallied about 400 volunteers to manage traffic and direct cyclists to the two most-asked-about locations: the high school for camping and the Lakes United Methodist Church for an endless spaghetti dinner.  

About 200 cyclists rode directly to one of three first-aid centers in Lake View where Sac County emergency medical technician Gail Eischeid and her team treated a constant stream of leg cramps, heat exhaustion and headaches. When fluids and sugar weren’t enough, cyclists were sent to the hospital.  

“They need to not push themselves — they need to take many breaks, rehydrate and cool down,” Eischeid said.

But in RAGBRAI world, moderation isn’t easily found.

Even vendors set high goals for themselves, like the 1,000 hot dogs Gen Voss hoped to sell from her Farmer’s Market Square on Main Street. By 3 p.m., she was halfway there, but expected business to pick up as the weather cooled down.

And when it comes to cherry pie, don’t even mention self-restraint to Ryan Wicks and his wife Trisha of Waukee.

More than the food, though, they say it’s the people who keep them coming back.

“I remember riding for two hours next to a guy from England. Where else are you going to find that?” Wicks said.

Wicks and his wife have about 10 RAGBRAIs under their belts, but this year, they are unregistered riders, tagging along with the main herd for just three days before cycling back home to Waukee on their own time.

Dane Boberg, 57, traveled a little father from California to join the Iowa spectacle. He’s a member of Team Cow, whose black-and-white splotched camper made its RAGBRAI debut in 2004 and hasn’t since failed to turn heads with its sign “Show Us Your Udders.” He sat with his 15-person team sipping beer and spraying passersby with water guns. “You meet a lot of great people, he said. “Great food and a lot of nice towns you don’t have in California.”

After a night of musical festivities in Lake View, including the much-anticipated Main Street stage headliner, The Johnny Holm Band, the journey continued today as riders rolled through Auburn, Lake City and Lohrville on their way to Webster City.