Reflections from John Karras: That Old Magic Is Still There!

karras and kaul key

by John Karras, aka Grampa RAGBRAI

It seems impossible that after all these years (from 1973 to today) I can still feel that mixture of anticipation and apprehension about an approaching RAGBRAI.  Yes, seems impossible, but here we are, just days away from the start of RAGBRAI-XLII and I’m feeling the old tension yet again.

Donald Kaul and I, the RAGBRAI co-founders, approached the first one without knowing what to expect–how many riders, if any, would show up; the condition of the roads, which we hadn’t scouted; or even if we could complete the distance.  We’d done a lot of cycling in the years leading up to that first event, but nothing nearly as daunting.  Then, when it happened, we were astonished at the result.

Kaul lasted for 10 years, then resigned from the ride in 1982. Then  Chuck Offenburger, the Iowa Boy columnist, joined me as cohost from 1983 through 1998. After that I was joined successively by Dick Doak and  Brian Duffy until I retired from the ride in 2000.  The Des Moines Register’s Iowa Columnist Kyle Munson is covering RAGBRAI this year.  The late Don Benson, who at the time was director of special events in The Register’s promotion department, served as RAGBRAI director for 19 years. Jim Green, then in the circulation department took over from Benson and kept at it until 1991, when T.J. Juskiewicz stepped in and remains in charge to this day.

I think that just about everyone would agree that the event has been good for the state, good for The Register, and above all, good for all of us who’ve worked on it.

John Karras is the co-founder of RAGBRAI. He loves to stay involved with his creation and will pop in from time to time to share some of his great memories of the ride with “Reflections from John Karras”. John and his wife Ann plan to be along for the fun of RAGBRAI XLII this summer.

karras loop

via RAGBRAI http://ift.tt/1qNp6zM