Webster City to Marshalltown
Total miles: 77.1

It’s one thing to bicycle 81.2 miles in 100-degree temperatures, which was the length of Tuesday’s route.

It’s quite another to be willing to endure another 18.8 miles and make it an even 100.

Each year, RAGBRAI sets aside one day so riders can complete what’s called the Karras Loop, a 100-mile route named for John Karras, one of the founder’s of the annual bike ride.

Fourteen members of Team Simpson – you read that right, 14 – braved the searing, unforgiving heat and successfully completed the Karras Loop.

(Match that, Wartburg!)  

This is how it feels to achieve such a milestone:

hat’s Miles Kirts, who will be a freshman at Simpson this fall. He will join the Storm cross country team, and let us go out on a limb and predict that endurance will not be an issue. He’s on RAGBRAI with his father, Kelly Kirts ’86.

But he wasn’t the only champion on Tuesday.

Our tandem duo, Eric Van Wyk and his father, Marv Van Wyk, a retired Simpson faculty member, also completed the Karras Loop.

Here’s an early-morning photo taken from the back of their bicycle built for two:

The Van Wyks also had their photograph taken with the loop’s namesake, John Karras.

Two of Team Simpson members – Adam Soyer ’97 and Ryan Hildreth ’05 – rode through Lake City, the town in which they were born. For Soyer, it was doubly special, given that Tuesday was his birthday.

As for the rest of us, we’re taking some unusual steps to combat the heat. For one thing, we’re leaving earlier than normal. Our support vehicles were out of camp by 7 a.m., which is unprecedented.

Today is supposed to be another scorcher, then there’s a chance for milder temperatures. Team Simpson certainly hopes so.

Marshalltown Fun Fact

City was founded by Henry Anson. His son, known as “Cap,” would become a baseball star, and was named to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Billy Sunday, who would later gain fame as an evangelist, played baseball for the Marshalltown town team in the early 1880s.

Previous Stories from the Road

Day 3

Day 2

Day 1

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