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  • Tue August 03 2004
  • Posted Aug 3, 2004
by Cynthia Bauer Air Mobility Command Public Affairs 8/3/2004 - CLINTON, Iowa (AFPN) -- More than 100 Air Force cyclists wheeled into Clinton, Iowa, at high noon July 31. It was the end of a week and almost 500 miles on the road for the riders participating in the Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Team Air Force arrived in Clinton in a two-column formation led by three-wheelers bearing the U.S. and Air Force flags. The arrival of the 100-plus-member team into the last town on the route has become a RAGBRAI tradition. "The sight is impressive," said cyclist Penny Gerholdt of Cedar Falls. "We can't wait to see the whole team riding in." A big part of that interest is because the team has gathered fans along the road. Bob Osgood, also of Cedar Falls, was riding in his 17th RAGBRAI. He used one word to describe his impression of the team: "Friendly!" "The team members are some of the best to talk to. And the (small giveaway items) are great for the little kids," he said. "It's great (public relations) for the Air Force." Team director Col. Bob Norman from the Tanker/Airlift Control Center at Scott Air Force Base, Ill., said the team comes into contact with thousands of potential recruits among the more than 10,000 riders and thousands of spectators, so it is important the team provides a good impression of the Air Force. "Our team is well-respected by cyclists and citizens alike," said Colonel Norman. "It's important for our total force team of active, Reserve, Guard, civilian and family members to give folks an idea of the quality of Air Force people. From encouraging other riders to helping folks fix flat tires, we do what we can to project a positive image." The ride began July 25 in Onawa, on the western edge of the state, with a two-column formation led by Brig. Gen. Robertus C.N. "Dutch" Remkes, commander of Air Force Recruiting Service. By July 28, the cyclists had ridden nearly 275 miles to spend the night camping on the grounds of the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown. It was here that Tech. Sgt. Eric Wells from Air Force Communications Agency at Scott AFB, chose to re-enlist. "I found it a very unique way to re-enlist," said Sergeant Wells. "I was able to share my re-enlistment with the veterans here in Marshalltown, my fellow cyclists and possible future recruits." At the last team meeting late July 30, the team of Air Force cyclists also got to share in Maj. Matthew Bohn's promotion ceremony to lieutenant colonel. The officer is assigned to the Air Force Technical Applications Center at Patrick AFB, Fla. By July 31, the team had faced a week of some extreme conditions including steep climbs, stiff winds, pelting rain. Team Air Force also had rewards in the support of Iowans and other cyclists who would call out "Go, Air Force!" when they saw the highly visible red, white and blue jerseys. Team Air Force cyclists come from Air Force bases worldwide to ride in RAGBRAI, now in its 32nd year. It is the oldest and longest touring bicycle ride in the world. This year marked the 10th year the Air Force has participated in the annual event. (Courtesy of Air Mobility Command News Service)

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