Robert, Bob, Bobby, RobBob or any of the other nicknames my Dad went by, became very active in his recent years. He spent a lot of time cycling with friends & family, preparing for the Chicago marathon, working out at Lifetime Fitness, playing golf or just walking the dog. He’s a goal setter and list maker. Every day on the top of his to do list was to “make memories”. Ragbrai was on his to do list for a couple of years and in 2016, he was determined to not only do, but crush his first long bike event, Ragbrai.
He formed (or coerced depending on who you talk to) a small team of his brothers, Rich and Charlie, and off to Iowa they went. They came back with loads of stories, gear, fake tattoos and a memories they’ll never forget. While I know my Dad loved the event, we could tell he felt disappointed because he didn’t do as well as he hoped. Unbeknownst to him, Iowa has a shocking amount of elevation that made the event quite difficult. Over the many family car rides to Colorado, we all thought Iowa was simply a flat prairie of corn, cattle and windmills.
Being the goal setter he was, my Dad began to prepare himself to take on the hills of Iowa a second time around. Unfortunately, in March of 2017, he passed away unexpectedly from a sudden heart attack. If you knew my Dad, he was such a positive person who carried a lively upbeat aura everywhere he went. He always put others first so we know he wants us to relentlessly press forward.
I ride because I know my Dad would have done anything to join us for Ragbrai. He would have loved going down those hills hitting 35mph at times, speeding through endless farmland covered in corn but more importantly, with the Rabgrai 2018 group. I will continue to ride because my Dad cannot and I know he’s looking down at me, on my bike, and wishes he was right next to me.