A RAGBRAI-Like Sense of Crowd


Nikayla in a buggy. We made shirts for the grandkids that said "I'm Racing for My Great Grandmas," some experience with breast cancer in that generation.

Sunday was a beautiful, cool fall morning in dry Cedar Rapids.

A great day for a several mile stroll. Audrey and I, along with Theresa and her family and Katy and her family, had signed up to do the 21st annual “Especially for You” “race.”

Along with about 16,000 other people.  In our case, as it was for much of the crowd, it was a walk.


Sea of faces at "race" start. Wyatt, Katy's husband, ran, the rest of us walked. Or rolled in a buggy. I walked.

Let me tell you, 16,000 is a crowd-a long ribbon of humanity that bumps and jostles and caterpillars along. It reminded me of RAGBRAI, but slower with fewer traffic risks.

Still, it was a glorious morning. And I learned several things, some of which were already obvious to me:

  • Audrey should never lead a walk. She’s gone, long gone, before you even get going. She is small and fast and fits through cracks in a crowd.
  • Cheerleaders are loud. And apparently, even though it is a small Catholic High School, there are roughly a dozen cheer-leading groups of a dozen students each at Xavier High School. OK, maybe not that many, but a lot.
  • “Fruit” Roll Ups are not recognizable fruit or any other variation of food.
  • Beware the blankie, and where it might lead you. I was pushing Tristan, and about 2/3 of the way through the route, he was getting antsy. I thought maybe he would want to walk, so I took him out of the stroller, ready to hold his hand. But he proceeded to the rear and grabbed his ridiculously large plaid blanket that he uses as a security blanket. So I figured he was cold and wrapped him in it and put him back in the buggy. The blanket was in the way, so I didn’t buckle him in. Big mistake—he inched down and I had to stop as he was oozing out the front of the buggy. In a foul mood, too, though can’t say I blame him. Anyway, he cried a bit and wanted his mom right away, but consented to have me hold him for a block or so and then his mood improved. But, beware the blankie and where it might lead you.

Audrey and I and our kids and grandkids had fun, supported a good cause, and gathered for brunch at the house afterwards.

My only regret is that we didn’t sign up for the MMU team. The new MMU logo looked really cool on the back of the shirts, but the deadline to sign up at MMU was way before we decided we were doing the race.

All in all, a fun time was had by me, my family and 15,990 or so friendly acquaintances, including 144 loud Xavier cheerleaders.

Fast walkers

Fast walkers--Audrey and Katy, way ahead. I'm on the other side of a grassy-median divided avenue, headed the other direction earlier in the route.



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2 responses to “A RAGBRAI-Like Sense of Crowd

  1. Cate Sheller

    Thanks for doing the walk. Now go back and correct your typos: it’s “though,” not “thought,” RAGBRAI not RABRAI, and her name is Katy, not Kay.

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