Each year, the one-of a kind journey of RAGBRAI draws thousands of unique people and stories.
Some, come for the food, some for the friendships, and others want to complete a long time goal. After all, not everyone can say they traveled 471 miles across Iowa in one week on a bike.
It's a huge accomplishment, but for Matt Swinnerton and Chris Dittmore, it's just another link on a very, very long chain.
“My best friend Matt and I are riding our bikes across the country this summer. It`s been a lifelong dream,” said Chris Dittmore from Danville, CA.
The dream covers nearly 4,000 miles, and takes them from San Francisco to Boston in 2 months.
“Coming across the country seeing the mountains and parts of the country have been wild and being able just being able to do it with the two of us and the support of our families and friends who have joined us,” said Matt Swinnerton.
“And by going on bike you get to see all the little stuff, like the world famous potato museum in Idaho,” Dittmore summed up.
Their goal isn't just to make it to the end, they want to enjoy every minute- which made incorporating RAGBRAI a no-brainer
“We know that RAGBRAI is this big celebration of cycling and that was what our trip was all about, just cycling across the US and just enjoying the journey,” said Dittmore.
“It really has been all about the food. We plan our day around our food stops, which is not what we did when it was just the two of us. You are hoping to find food,” Dittmore continued, talking about their RAGBRAI experience, “We just sit down in the morning and plan out what food stops we want to make in the day and that`s kind of a fun way to ride because that`s not how you normally ride.”
“I mean when you look at the riders who are participating in this event, its inspiring. You see these guys who are pedaling their bikes with their hands, you see paraplegics who are riding their bikes, you see people from all walks of life and ages that are out here in the heat,” said Swinnerton.
Their timing has been perfect: Iowa is the half-way point, and Iowa is where it's been the hottest.
“But it`s also at a time when we can handle it the best because the support of the communities and the event itself have just been amazing.,” said Swinnerton.
“You go into these little towns and they have water and they have ice-cream and they have all kind of stuff to cool you down. They have big shade trees, so it`s just what you need to manage,” explained Dittmore.
Dittmore and Swinnerton said they both will miss the companionship of RAGBRAI, but look forward to tackling those last 1,400 miles together.
“Great friends can do a lot, and the more people you include in your experience the better it can be. We've ridden a lot of this by ourselves but the parts that had been the most fun have been when we've had close friends or new friends that have joined us and then participating in an experience like RAGBRAI has just been the cherry on the top,” said Swinnerton.
Chris and Matt have been keeping a blog about their journey. To read more about their cross country adventure, click here.