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Sunday, July 18, 2010

Trail leads cyclists from Oregon to Iowa Games

Rick Beier, left, and his partner, Nick Kleping, center play racquetball versus Troy Gustofson, right, and Brad Piatt, not pictured, Saturday during the Iowa Games in Ames.
Some participants of the Iowa Games drove scores of miles across the state of Iowa to compete in the racquetball tournament Saturday.
But Rick Beier and his son, Andrew, traveled all the way from Oregon — on their bikes.
The Beiers, of Newton, left June 7 from Oregon and plan to reach Virginia in about five weeks. Rick and Andrew have always wanted to bike across the country and since Rick recently retired and Andrew, 24, recently gradated from college, they decided taking the trip this summer would be ideal.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime trip,” Rick said.
Rick and Andrew began talking about their ride two years ago and spent six months planning it. They scheduled a five-day stop in Iowa to see their family and friends, and figured they might as well sign up for the Iowa Games. Rick said he’s glad to be back in Iowa after being on the road.
The Beiers are longtime racquetball players. Rick started playing when he was young, and Andrew picked it up a few years ago, but neither had the opportunity to play in a while because of their bike ride.

“I’m just at it for fun,” Andrew said. “If we win, it’s an added bonus.”

Both Rick and Andrew signed up to play two games Saturday. Andrew said he thinks his dad may be more competitive than he is, but they agreed the Iowa Games is just for fun.
While racquetball can be physically demanding, Andrew said it’s a little less strenuous than biking.
Rick and Andrew said they’ve met a lot of great people while biking and have had some interesting experiences, including running into a grizzly bear in Montana.
The Beiers have enjoyed their father-son trek. Andrew said biking 55 miles per day has been relaxing.

“Other than that, you don’t have anything to worry about, that’s all you’re doing,” he said.
Once Rick and Andrew reach Virginia, they have plans to tour Washington D.C. But for now, the two are taking the experience in stride and enjoying the ride.

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