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Day 3: It wouldn't be RAGBRAI without the unexpected

Troy Carlson and his dog, Dori, prepare to depart a stand of vendors set up Tuesday at a farm house west of Ogden during RAGBRAI. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)
Troy Carlson and his dog, Dori, prepare to depart a stand of vendors set up Tuesday at a farm house west of Ogden during RAGBRAI. (B.A. Morelli/The Gazette)
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OGDEN — Strange sightings are the norm on RAGBRAI.

So when Troy Carlson rolled up to a stopping point Tuesday at a farm house west of Ogden with his pint-size pooch on board, he fit right in. Even so, a lot of dog lovers, including me, came up to pet her.

Carlson carries Dori — a miniature Schnauzer-Australian shepherd mix — in a crate extending from the stem under his bike seat. Essentially, she rides right in front of his chest.

She’s no trouble, he said. She stays pretty still, quiet and looks around at all of the people and bikes and scenery, he said.

“She’s loving life, just looking around,” he said. “Plus, I don’t even notice her. She’s only 15 pounds.”

Carlson and his wife, Lisa, live in Colorado Springs, Colo., and traveled to ride this week’s Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. They certainly weren’t going to leave their dog behind.

“We go everywhere with her,” Lisa Carlson said. “Our neighbor would have watched her, but she loves bikes.”

They splash her with water to keep her cool and take breaks for her, including at the farm house.

There they found Mr. Pork Chop, the Iowa Beer Bus, Bike Iowa, an apparel tent, and other RAGBRAI favorites. Several hundred people packed the lawn for food and drinks and to rest in the shade.

On Tuesday, this segment of RAGBRAI started in farm country and ended in one of the state’s premier college towns, Ames.

Riders departed Jefferson with stops at Grand Junction, Dana, Ogden, Boone and Luther before arriving in Ames.

Ledges State Park was on the original map, but the course was rerouted due to flooding there. The route was 62.2 miles and included 1,262 feet of climb.

Aside from playing with dogs, another of my favorite parts of RAGBRAI is showing off to visitors things I love about Iowa.

A small group from the team I am riding with decided to take a detour to the High Trestle Trail, which was about 15 miles south of the main route, and then on to the High Trestle Bridge.

Among our group of six, we had someone from Chicago, someone from Colorado and two from Minneapolis. I was proud to show them the artistic treasure found only in Iowa.

As I found a spot on the side of a trail to type this column, a young woman who had badly cut her ankle on a chain ring appeared. The cut was deep and bloody. Several people came to help her with a first aid kit and bandages. I pitched in, helping tape up her foot. Indeed, people help each other out on RAGBRAI.

The goal of the day is simple: Just pedal to the next town, eat some food and enjoy it.

You never know who you will meet or what will happen next on RAGBRAI. That’s what keeps it interesting.

l Comments: (319) 398-8310; brian.morelli@thegazette.com

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