Memorial Day bike ride

MemorialIt’s night No. 2 of turning off the TV, so I’ll sit here and blog for a while and In God We Rustlisten to comedian Lewis Black‘s In God We Rust, recorded in 2012.

And now on to the blog …

Today was Memorial Day. a time for remembering the men and women who died while serving in the United States Armed Forces. It’s also usually a good day for long bike rides with friends.  A couple of years ago, I rode 50-some miles on Memorial Day on a ride from West Liberty to Iowa City and back.

But not today. The sun didn’t really come out until 3:30 or so. And by then, I’d already ridden maybe 25 miles under cloudy skies and in some drizzle and sprinkles.

At least I got in a ride. The way this rainy spring has gone so far this year, it’s hard to ask for much more than that. And, heck, RAGBRAI is still 54 days away.


A highlight of today’s ride was running into some of the survivors of  Jane McFate, 54, who died of cancer last August. They are building a trail head in her memory on the newest section of Muscatine’s bike trail. The new section runs from Weed Park to Solomon Road.

I met Jane in the Melon City Bike Club,  along with many members of her extended family. They include her sister, Diana Tank, and her family; her brother, Pat Cooney and his family; her husband, Pat McFate, and their family; her cousins, Al and Dave Cooney, and their families.

Many of them were there today, helping build the memorial, which is going to be very nice. It will include a bench and bike racks once the work is finished.

There are many reasons why I’m happy to call Muscatine home. Those reasons include the fact that I knew Jane, one of the nicest people I’ve ever met anywhere. I also know many members of her extended family and I knew what they were doing today when I ran into them.

Former Muscatine Mayor Dick O’Brien used to say good things are happening in Muscatine. And the new trail head memorial is one of those good things.

Speaking of bicycling and good things in Muscatine … They wrapped up the 35th annual Melon City Criterium Sunday at Weed Park.

I wrote this short story for the website,
Four members of Muscatine’s Melon City Bike Club placed in races Sunday at the 35th annual Melon City Criterium at Weed Park.
Race organizer Greg Harper placed 11th in the Men’s Masters 40-plus race, to lead the way for the Muscatine cyclists. The others included:
  • Caleb Mann, 14th, Men’s Category 5.
  • Jon Sulzberger 16th, Men’s Masters 30-plus.
  • Ian Henriksen, 38th, Mixed Juniors, ages 15-18.
 The four Muscatine cyclists were among the 400 racers who competed in the event’s 15 races, some of which were shortened due to rainy weather.
“Weather was a big part of the race,” Harper said Monday. “When it’s cold and wet there aren’t as many spectators.”
And there weren’t as many racers Some 300 cyclists – coming from as far away as Florida and Colorado – had signed up in advance to compete. But only about 100 registered on the day of the race, Harper said, down about 50 percent from what it would have been on a better day.
Some waited to see what the weather conditions would be like and didn’t enter, Harper said.
“But we do get a lot of repeat racers who come back every year,” he said. “That’s a testament to the quality of the race.”
Adam Leibovitz of Indianapolis, a member of the Kentucky Flyers Cycling/Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team, won the event’s premier 40-lap race for professional category 1 and 2 riders.
Mia Loquai of Hastings, Minn., a member of the IS Corp.Cycling Team, won the 20-lap race for professional women.
For complete results go to here.