RAGBRAI riders roll into Clear Lake, Iowa for day 3 of the annua - KTTC Rochester, Austin, Mason City News, Weather and Sports

RAGBRAI riders roll into Clear Lake, Iowa for day 3 of the annual bike ride

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CLEAR LAKE, Iowa (KTTC) -

It's the oldest and longest recreational bike ride in Iowa. Emphasis on the word ride.
The Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, or RAGBRAI, is the farthest thing from a competition.

"If you're racing on RAGBRAI you're totally missing the point of RAGBRAI," said cyclist Eric Penning.

"I've run into old friends that - people I only see on RAGBRAI. And we get to catch up, find out what's been going on through their year, and it's amazing how far these friendships go back," said cyclist Matt Armbruster.

It is also a pretty neat way to see Iowa. "It's such an awesome ride that you can come out and meet new people and have a great time on a nice casual ride through Iowa, and what Iowa has to represent. You definitely cannot see and get the real feel of Iowa from your car," said Penning.

The 7-day annual bike ride is heading into its 45th year. The route riders take averages 468 miles, and it's not necessarily flat. The daily average of the routes is 67 miles, and Tuesday's ride was 51.4 miles and only 934 ft. of climb.

"We're huffing and puffing up a hill and I'm like (heavy breathing) and then somebody's like "Aw, man how far have you going with that? And I'm like (heavy breathing)," said cyclist Nico Avila. "We have bells on [the bike], and I'm just like "ring, ring, ding, ding". And I'm just like please, I can't breathe right now, just don't make me talk."
The bike ride attracts people from all over the country - Nico Avila and Matt Aurmbruster came from Denver, Colorado. 

"So he asked me if I wanted to come along and I was kind of busy with work so I told him no at first," said Avila. "And then a week beforehand I said 'Yeah I can make it.' That's when I actually started running and trying to exercise to prepare for it. A little late but it hasn't been too bad it's actually been pretty nice. 

So all in all, it's a fun way to meet people and have some cool stories to tell.

"We call it the RAGBRAI miracle. I walk in, order a small ice cream cone," said Armbruster. "And then I said 'Well, how much is it?' "cause I didn't even ask before, I said 'How much is it?' And the girl and the guy behind the counter kind of talk to each other for a second and they said, well, actually the guy before you paid for everybody behind him. So it's yours."

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