Lincoln rides again
By Etienne Emanuel
Tomorrow Lincoln Sprague, a 13-year-old
Ojai native, will have completed a 450-mile bike ride across
the state of Iowa, climbing 16,100 feet in the span of a week.
This will be Lincoln's second year in a row that he has finished
the race and the fourth year that he has ridden in the RAGBRAI
(Register's Annual Great Bike Ride across Iowa).
No one could predict that a challenge between editors at the
Des Moines Register in 1973 would become the longest, largest
and oldest bicycle touring event in the world. Popularity of
the ride has swelled from a mere 300 riders in the first RAGBRAI,
to an amazing 10,000 riders who began RAGBRAI XXXI last Sunday.
"It is truly an amazing ride," said Shelley Moore,
Lincoln's mom, who has completed the ride herself."My husband,
Leland, got us started in the race. He is an Iowa native and
I took Lincoln when he was just 9 years old."
The ride, she added, "is not a race in the typical sense.
It is more of a challenge with yourself."
RAGBRAI riders tour the state of Iowa, starting in the west end
of the state, where, as is tradition, the bicyclists dip their
tires in the westernmost river in Iowa. Then again at the end
of the race, they dip their tires to signify the finish of the
This ride has inspired more than 40 other similar rides across
the United States.With competitors hailing from all over the
world, the RAGBRAI has gotten coverage in the New York Times,
Miami Herald and even magazines like Time and National Geographic.
In 29 years, the ride has passed through 742 Iowa towns and after
the completion of the 25th race the ride had covered all 99 counties
"Each town is like Ojai on the Fourth of July," said
Moore. "There are hundreds of people out there cheering
the riders on."
At night, Lincoln and his fellow riders split into groups and
camp along the way.
"The people are so friendly there," added Moore. "Many
riders stop at houses and beg for a nice shower. It is such a
test of your endurance. My legs felt like rubber after each day
especially after the 100-mile day, or the century day, as it
is called. The real soreness is from your seat. If you've ever
done any distance bike riding you know what I mean," she
As one of the younger riders, Lincoln is quite a standout. He
has collected countless strings of necklaces, which spectators
give to riders along the way each year.
"I'm really amazed by Lincoln. It is quite an accomplishment
for anyone let alone a kid his age," noted Lincoln's proud
Lincoln has also played football for the Ojai Eagles and he plans
to play at Nordhoff when he gets there.
For more info about the RAGBRAI go to RAGBRAI.org.
The Ojai Valley News
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