Life experiences, Ragbrai, Telluride, Travel, Yosemite

I’ve had my “ups and downs” this summer

The summer of 2011 was an amazing four months of being on the go.

From Missouri, Iowa, to Colorado and California and then back to our beautiful Arizona, it has been a great experience to say the least.

In June Brenda and I were given the opportunity to speak for our friends Pastor Jesse and Missy Quiroz and the thriving congregation called Journey Church in Troy Missouri. (Elevation: 650 ft)

Then in July we took our family vacation to Telluride Colorado. (Elevation8750 ft)

After Telluride, was a dream trip to my home state of Iowa for the RAGBRAI (Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa).

Six days and 550 miles on the bike was and amazing experience for me and 10,000 other riders in the humidity of Iowa (Elevation is 580 ft).

(“Bike Tire Dip” in the Mississippi River – Davenport Iowa.)

After Ragbrai, I was able to attend Summit Leaders for four days in Yosemite National Park.  The leadership anti conference is lead by world traveler and adventure nut Joel Malm. This years speaker was author and pastor Mark Batterson of National Community Church in Washington D.C. .

What a great event. We climbed Half Dome (elevation 8842 feet ).

The Cables of Half Dome.


At the top of  Half Dome BY the “diving board” not on it.

To wrap up the summer of expeditions, my daughter and I along with 18 others from Journey Church hiked the 17 plus mile hike to the Colorado river through Havasupai Canyon. (elevation 3205 ft at Havasupai village).

It is safe to say that I have traveled some 8500 vertical feet this summer.

Yes it has been a summer of “UPS AND DOWNS” for sure.

What an amazing four months.

I want to adventure as much as possible before I cannot hike, bike or explore anymore.

“The world is a big place and I want to see all of it before it gets dark”. – John Muir

Steve Lummer –  a guy who had a great summer:)


Thanks For The Support

I just wanted to send out a special “thank you” to all those who helped make my RAGBRAI journey a success.

To ride a bicycle 500 plus miles across the state of Iowa takes a lot of support believe it or not.
Thanks to Jean Earl for the use of her late husband’s road bike. (Jean, I road from Iowa City to Davenport in honor of your family).

Thank you High Gear bike shop and Bike World of Des Moines for the mechanical work. Without your exxpert detailed work this trip would have been a job not a joy….The bike worked great.

Thank you Christophe Noel for the hard case to transport the bike…got to get me one bro.

Thank you Gerald Graves and Des Moines First Assembly/Team Impact for well planned out support. – The support vehicle’s sleeping accommodations and schedule were top notch. The amazing people on this team were pleasing to be with for the entire 7 days.

Thanxz to Dave Douglas for pain relief advice – you know what I’m talkin bout bro.

Thank you pastor Scott Rooks and the fabulous congregation of  Westside Assembly of God. The homecoming welcome was an unbelievable gift to me .

Thank you Patty Chesling and tribe for the laundry, transportation and memory support – I love you guys,
Thank you Steve and Kelli Grubbs for the hospitality I received at your beautiful home and beautiful family.

Thank you Mom, Dad and my brother for pick ups and transportation the airport.
Thank you to my wife Brenda for the encouragement and gift to get me to Iowa and back,
Thank you to Adam my son – in law for covering PFA while I was “suffering”. Lol

Iowa is not flat…..Here is a link that compares Ragbrai with Ride the Rockies.

Thanks to the RAGBRAI people and leadership for an awesome experience – no wonder 10,000 people join in your event each year. – this was epic for me.
Thank you gracious God for health and the desire you put in me to adventure your planet.

Finally, thank you to the state of IOWA for some amazing, loving, and fun people –My home state of  Iowa Rocks

We started with around 8000 cyclist in Glenwood Iowa and fnishished with approx 20,000 cyclist riding into Davenport.

Steve the rodie for a summer


Ragbrai 2011

As a Ragbrai newbee I will do my best to describe the event that I have wanted to do since I was a teenager growing up in Iowa.

The event is very well organized and every is working well for our team of 20 plus people.
One of our team members was taken to the Des Moines hospital this morning because of a crash.
We are riding across Iowa and the humidity is exstream.

RAGBRAI means (Register Annual Great Ride Across Iowa).

Sunday night I arrived in Omaha Nebraska and caught a bus to Glenwood Iowa and found the church we were staying in.

Arriving at the church I began to prepare for the next days ride and notice my derailer would not tighten into the hanger. THAT IS A MAJOR PROBLEM.

I took the bike to a bike repair tent and they were able to fix it by re tapping the threads in the hanger.

Forest from out of DesMoines was my new best friend.

Here are some of the pics of an amazing week in my home state of Iowa.

Here is the milage and climb chart – I actually did over 500 miles due to a little site seeing.


Sunday – Day 1 — 64.2 miles    4,946 climb
Monday – Day 2 — 65.4 miles   4,798 climb
Tuesday – Day 3 — 70.9 miles  1,784 climb
Wednesday – Day 4 — 56.1 miles    1,246 climb
Thursday – Day 5 — 57.5 miles   3,294 climb
Friday – Day 6 — 75.3 miles    2,800 climb
Saturday – Day 7 — 64.8 miles    2,338 climb
Total — 454.2 miles   21,206 climb

It was cool to have Lance Armstrong fly in from Paris today (Tuesday July 25th) to meet with riders and ride the route from Carroll to Boone. He game to promote LIVESTRONG and to meet with riders along the way.

The Iowa restroom.

6:15 am start.

Maid rite was one of the goals.

Des Moines River.

One day old piggys along the route.

The hill and road were the  movie Twister was made.

Arriving in Davenport Saturday.

Bikes, Ragbrai

Skull Valley Loop Trainning Ride For Raigbrai

This morning to celebrate Independence Day a few friends and I left Preskitt on our road bike and did the Skull Valley Loop.

This map show a clockwise route but we did it the smart way and did it counter clockwise.

Distance: 52.8 miles
Elevation Gain/Loss: 4016 feet

The loop is an amazing scenic, fun, challenging 53 miles of what every roadie likes.

Here are just a few pics of some of  Arizona’s finest miles.

Up from Kirkland junction.

Robert Janice and Becker coming into Skull Valley this morning @ 7:00 am.

Just after reaching the Iron Spring summit.

Taking a little break climbing the “Spars”.

The Skull Valley Loop is a truly a gift.


Roadie for the summer

Bikes, Ragbrai


A friend of mine told me the other day that with “road biking you get the miles but in mountain biking you smiles”.

He was so right with that statement for the most part , except for today I got both.

Today was my first 75 mile road bike day and as I was riding toward the 75 mile goal I looked around me at the surroundings.

Wow – miles and smiles all in one ride!

Really enjoying the different kind of experience road biking brings.

Also, I’m gonna need to kick it up a notch based on the  week long Itinerary for the Ragbrai ride this summer.

Day 1 — 64.2 miles    4,946 climb
Day 2 — 65.4 miles   4,798 climb
Day 3 — 70.9 miles  1,784 climb
Day 4 — 56.1 miles    1,246 climb
Day 5 — 57.5 miles   3,294 climb
Day 6 — 75.3 miles    2,800 climb
Day 7 — 64.8 miles    2,338 climb
Total — 454.2 miles   21,206 climb

Steve Lummer

Roadie for a summer

Bikes, Ragbrai


For the last two months I have been listening, learning and just getting out on the road to train for Ragbrai ..(a bike ride across my home state of Iowa.)

My first attempt on a road bike was all of 8 miles. Then I started riding 15 miles then 20 and for the last couple of weeks I have been pushing over 60 plus miles on the asphalt .

After about the first 30 miles I started having pain in the ole IT band ( iliotibial band) across the front of my right knee. – The IT band pain was a familiar foe that I was dealing with last year while doing a lot of riding on my single speed 29er mountain bike.

Because this July I will need to ride approximately 65  – 70 miles per day for five to six days I needed to get some advice from some friends who could help
A local roadie gave me the following advice and so far it seems to working.

Here is what Mike had to say regarding knee pain.

Knee pain on the bike is one (or more) of three things:

1. pushing too big a gear.

2. improper fit.

3.  improper form.

spin rather than push a gear. If you have a cadence sensor and it tells you that you’re peddling at 60-70 rpm most of the time you’re asking for knee problems unless you are very strong and have superb form. Typical rpm for me is 90-95 and I can spin up to 110 rpm easily but you have to have good fit and form to spin like that comfortably.

Form is pretty complicated actually and involves fit too. It takes a professional to really teach you proper form and it would also involve a real scientific analysis of fit to get all the angles and position correct to allow you to have proper form easily.”

I immediately started spinning rather than straining in my peddle strokes and my last two 60 plus miles of riding have been working well and I have not had much knee pain to speak of.

My next set of goals will be to ride 60 plus miles for five days in a row to see what if any thing pops up .

Also, here are just a few pics of some road hazards that I have encountered out there .

This tumble weed attacked me from out of no where.

Stimulus money has not reached this road yet.

Common man!

Be careful out there folks ….cars, truck, trailers, motorcycles and all kinds of hazards can make a good day not so good real quick.


roadie for a summer


RAGBRAI Training: 15 Week Training Plan and Log

Here is a suggested 15 week training plan that starts for me on April 10th to get tuned up for this summer’s Ragbrai road trip.

Four days during the week of road riding is going to cramp my mountain bike activity so I will probably opt for three days on the road and just up the mileage per ride.

My neighbor and friend is suggesting that I  “Start riding the spars and work you way up to the loop…nothing else will be necessary! The Skull Valley loop is harder than a 70 mile Flat Lander ride…”

With this plan I feel confident that this summer’s event will go great and be a ton of fun.


Click to access 2011-RAGBRAI_Training_Plan.pdf


Training For ragbrai: Think Iowa’s Flat? Think Again.

I have  officially started my training for Ragbrai.

I did my first 20 miles on a road bike in preparation for the 2011 Ragbrai trip across Iowa this summer.

I have been reading on how I should prepare for the 500 mile ride across my home state of Iowa and here is a great article I will post so I can read it over and over before July.

Much of this blog post will be from Coach David Ertl owner of Cyclesport Coaching.

Everyone who isn’t from Iowa tends to have a stereotype of Iowa – that it’s flat as a pancake.  I know I did before I moved here.

Compared to other hilly or mountainous states, Iowa’s topography is relatively flat, but we don’t ride bikes relatively!  We ride on actual roads that go across, and up and down, the countryside.  Iowa is generally flat terrain, but it’s had 10,000 years of erosion which has carved out a network of streams and river valleys all across the state.  The hills in Iowa are typically places where you are coming up out of these valleys.  The closer you are to the eastern and western borders of the state, nearer the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers, the more undulating the terrain becomes.  Iowa is fairly level, but it isn’t flat, if that makes sense.

I just read an article on another website that compared the elevation gains of this year’s RAGBRAI with this year’s Denver Post Ride The Rockies.  You can read the article for yourself here, but here’s some of the interesting statistics:

RAGBRAI has a total of 21,206 feet of climbing this year while Ride The Rockies, which goes over several mountain passes, climbs a total of 21,604. And I don’t believe that this RAGBRAI total includes the addition Karras Loop.

The first two days of RAGBRAI each have more climbing than any of the days on Ride The Rockies.

A lot of the climbing on Ride The Rockies comes in just one or two climbs, where on RAGBRAI the climbs are much shorter, but hit you a lot more often. In a way, climbing long mountain passes may be easier.  You know they are coming and psych yourself up for them. As a matter of fact, that’s the reason people go to Colorado to do rides – to challenge themselves in the mountains.  But what a lot of people doing RAGBRAI don’t realize is the amount of climbing they are in for when they sign up for a ride across ‘flat’ Iowa.  Psychologically as well as physically, our short but fairly steep hills can get to you after a long hot day in the saddle.

Now don’t let this news scare you away.  I’m telling you this well in advance so you have time to adequately prepare.  Because our hills are fairly short, you can get up and over them, but what you will need is stamina to hang in there on those days where it seems like it is just one hill after another.  Some days it is!  The two best things you can do to start preparing is to do a lot of riding to build endurance, and to find hilly roads on which to train.  Some cyclists tend to shy away from hills when they ride because they are, well, hard!  But use your hills to build strength and confidence in your hill climbing ability.  I get quite a few questions from people who live in truly flat places, like Florida, who don’t have hills on how to prepare for hilly Iowa.  I will address ways to train for hills, even if you don’t have any, in future blogs.

Let’s face it, if Iowa was pancake flat, what fun would that be?  It’s the hills that make it interesting!  So get out there and start riding so you will be able to conquer RAGBRAI, knowing that you really have accomplished something.

Coach David Ertl

On another note, I would like to thank my friend Jean Earl who is allowing me to use her late husband’s road bike to train on as well as ship to Iowa for the ride itself. Dan had done Ragbrai numerous times and now his bike will make another trip back to cornfield country to make another ride across the roads of humidity.

The carbon fiber Lamond Chambery – 18lbs will help for sure.

Thank you Jean for helping make this dream come true for me.

I would also like to thank Gerald graves and Team Impact from Des Moines First Assembly Of God for allowing me to be a part of their team this year. It will be nice to be with some great people and some support during the week.

My next few goals include:

-Start getting three to four hours in the saddle in the month of march.

-Start riding to Skull Valley and back.

– Start doing the Skull Valley loop by my birthday. (54 miles)

– Get bike shipped to Glenwood Iowa.

– Airline ticket to Omaha.

– Airline ticket from Chicago’s Midway

– lose 15 lbs by June.

-Get some longer, stronger, younger legs by July.

This is gonna be great.


Bikes, Ragbrai


I have wanted to ride Ragbrai ever since high school.

Well, @ age 53 I think it might just happen….and what I am really excited about is that the ride finishes in my home town of Davenport.

Just wanted to post the route and mileage for this years route

2011 Route Maps

GLENWOOD — Saturday, July 23

Population: 5,358

History: 1980, 1984, 1989, 1992, 2003


ATLANTIC — Sunday, July 24

Population: 7,257

History: 1974, 1980, 1989, 1991, 2001


CARROLL — Monday, July 25

Population: 10,098

History: 1980, 1988, 1994


BOONE — Tuesday, July 26

Population: 12,803

History: 1975, 1988, 1998; also a pass-through town three times, last time in 2008


ALTOONA  — Wednesday, July 27

Population: 13,301

History: First time as overnight town; pass-through town in 1973, on inaugural ride


GRINNELL — Thursday, July 28

Population: 9,105

History: 1976, 1991, 2001


CORALVILLE — Friday, July 29

Population: 17,269

History: 1995, 2001, 2006


DAVENPORT — Saturday, July 30

Population: 98,359

History: 1973, 1982



Day 1 — 64.2 miles    4,946 climb
Day 2 — 65.4 miles   4,798 climb
Day 3 — 70.9 miles  1,784 climb
Day 4 — 56.1 miles    1,246 climb
Day 5 — 57.5 miles   3,294 climb
Day 6 — 75.3 miles    2,800 climb
Day 7 — 64.8 miles    2,338 climb
Total — 454.2 miles   21,206 climb