Every July for 40 years the Des Moines Register and a legion of volunteers have put together a little event called the Register‘s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, better known as RAGBRAI, a week-long bicycle ride across the roughly 500-mile-wide state. It started with two Register employees and a few hangers-on and has grown into an Iowa tradition and a bicycling legend that this year drew 10,000 registered riders and perhaps 5,000 more unregistered ones from every state in the country and 15 foreign nations. It’s a tradition Iowans have embraced completely. It is gigantic, well-run and crazy. This year three of the seven days were above 100 degrees, which only added to the craziness. My friends Chip Stone and John Bollard and I rode it last week. I will post more images and a gallery as I edit my way through them. Please feel free to Facebook or otherwise spread the link. Thanks! Above: sunrise on one hot morning — when the temperature’s going to hit 103 degrees, people start riding around 4:30 or 5 a.m. Below: traffic on a rolling section of Iowa farmland (almost all of the route is closed to traffic other than bikes); an idea of the kind of Heartland food riders can get along the way; and some of the folks who make RAGBRAI what it is. More to come.