|Tweet from Phillip Jones, co-writer of the story announcing John Karras' death.|
RAGBRAI was founded by two "Des Moines Register" writers named Donald Kaul and John Karras. The story about the death of Karras recently and the backstory on RAGBRAI can all be found here in the "Des Moines Register's" online site.
Everything you thought you knew about RAGBRAI and stuff you may not have known is in that story at that link. (I learned a few things even!) So, I won't cover any of that here. Go click that link, read up on RAGBRAI and John Karras and come back... I'll wait.....
|A (poor) scan of a 1980 article about the crossing of Iowa in a day by bicycle|
As far as I can tell, this got into the craw of four area cyclists here and they pretty much said, "Pshaw! RAGBRAI takes a week to cross the state? We can do that in a day!", and then they, as the saying goes, put their money where their mouths were. They actually pulled of the stunt in the Summer of 1980.
Well, if you've been listening and paying attention, you already know what is coming next. The story of how Trans Iowa got started is rooted in response to the "Iowa In A Day" stunt from 1980. Which is a response to crossing Iowa in seven days on RAGBRAI. So, in kind of a round-about way, John Karras and Donald Kaul's idea ended up inspiring us, Jeff Kerkove and I, into doing Trans Iowa.
That event kicked off the modern gravel scene. That ended up becoming the number one biggest competitive and recreational cycling movement since the 1970's "Bike Boom". And that is pretty freaking amazing.
And to think it all started out from a love of seeing Iowa from the seat of a bicycle.