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Tara Kingland - Bikes on campus

Bicycles waiting for their owners to return during RAGBRAI’s visit to Waldorf campus.

By: Tara Kingland

Thousands of bicyclists stopped in Forest City and walked around the Waldorf campus this summer thanks to the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI©.

After 42 years of traveling across the state of Iowa, RAGBRAI© is still running strong, bringing riders from all over the world. What started as a few friends taking a casual ride across Iowa has become the longest, largest and oldest bicycle-touring event in the world. The event has become so popular they have had to limit the number of registrations to 8,500 riders.

While the actual route is changed each year, the ride begins somewhere along Iowa’s western border and ends at the Mississippi River.

According to the official RAGBRAI© website, the seven-day ride averages 468 miles, with daily averages of 67 miles. This year Forest City was the 3rd stop, and longest route, for riders after beginning their day in Emmetsberg. To reach the overnight stop in Forest City, riders had two route options; they could ride 79.7 miles straight to Forest City or they could add an additional 26 miles making it a grand total of 105.7 miles in one day.

Cathy Stensland, financial aid counselor at Waldorf, was working in the financial aid office the day when riders came to town. While she didn’t get a chance to interact much with the riders that were on campus, she was a host home for a few riders. This isn’t the first time that she’s been a host home and she said she would definitely do it again. “It’s just fun,” Stensland says and thinks being a host home is a great experience.

Much of Waldorf’s property was utilized for this event. Hanson Fieldhouse served as one headquarter for RAGBRAI© and Forest City information booths, was a shuttle stop for riders, housed a first aid station and provided bathrooms and showers.

The Denny Jerome Athletic Center provided space for camping, showers, and bathrooms. The main campus provided emergency shelter in numerous buildings, served as another headquarter for a RAGBRAI© information booth and hosted the entertainment area next to the library.

Stensland feels Waldorf’s participation in RAGBRAI© this summer was a great way to get exposure as a lot of the riders may not have realized Waldorf was here. Waldorf played a big role in the success of the evening’s activities and providing a positive experience for the riders.