SD alumni participate in Great Bicycle Ride
This cell phone picture shows Lance Armstrong addressing the crowd during the bike tour. Dr. Lowry held up his phone to take the picture in the town square of Newton, Iowa.
Yes, there are plenty of hills in Iowa and you can see lots of them on RAGBRAI. That’s the Register’s (as in De Moines) Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Always the last week in July, this was the event’s 34th year. This year’s ride took upwards of 15,000 riders on Iowa back roads, through dozens of small towns, and 444 miles across the state from the Missouri River to the Mississippi—Sergeant Bluff to Muscatine.
Among this year’s riders were a couple of LLU people—Maynard Lowry and Gerald Denehy (SD’68). Maynard was joined by his son, Chris, and daughter-in-law, Sarah, from Wisconsin. Last year Brian Evans (SD’09) joined Chris for the ride. Dr. Denehy, is professor of operative dentistry and department head at the University of Iowa. He and his daughter joined the tour for a day from Marengo to Coralville. Maynard checked up on Mike Meharry and had dinner with him at the Coralville stop. Mike is just beginning a graduate program in Dr. Denehy’s department.
RAGBRAI isn’t your usual bicycle ride. Some have described RAGBRAI as a “state fair that moves from town to town each night” complete with food vendors, and music along the way. Town parks, school recreation fields, and even front lawns are transformed overnight into tent cities where ride participants outnumber town’s folk.
There’s one more School of Dentistry connection, too. The first overnight town was Ida Grove, home of Debbie Tuttle. Maynard carried personal greetings to Debbie’s mother and several cousins who live in the area.
So famous has the ride become that this year it attracted seven-time Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, who rode parts of three days and promised to come back next year for the entire ride.
Chris and Sarah Lowry were able to ride with Lance’s group for several miles.
By Nancy Yuen