It's good to be back.
That was the overwhelming sentiment of riders despite heat and and headwinds onDay 1 of the Register's Great Annual Bicycle Ride Across Iowa on Sunday, a leg that took thema grueling 84 miles from Le Mars to Sac City.
The 2020 edition of RAGBRAI was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the first time the annual, seven-day ride hadn't been held since its founding in 1973. For many riders, its return felt like a dose of freedom after the long months of isolation, quarantine and maintaining social distance.
Among the more than 15,000 riders, only a handful wore masks— and even they lowered them as they pedaled along.
"It feels like the pandemic never happened," observed Kirk Rowell of Colorado Springs, Colorado. A member of the new U.S. Space Force,heis riding his fifth RAGBRAI as a member of roughly 120-rider U.S. Air Force team.