One of the beloved founding spirits of the world's largest and quirkiestbicycle ride died this week.

Make no mistake that Ann Karras of Des Moines, 88, who died Thursday, was one of the driving forces behind the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). In many ways, she was the First Lady of Iowa's rolling summer escape.

Her husband of 66 years, John, and fellow Register columnist Donald Kaulwere the tandem most often in the spotlight as the official co-founders of the week-long river-to-river oddball odyssey they started in 1973.

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