Day 13: Davenport to Iowa City, IA

Today we rode from Davenport to Iowa City, a wonderful place that is home to the great University of Iowa. The day was sunny with a slight headwind—nothing to complain about—and the fields were green with fresh growth as far as the eye could see.

As we pulled into Iowa City, a reporter called and asked me to meet him at Kinnick Stadium, home of the Iowa Hawkeyes and named for the 1939 Heisman Trophy winner, Nile Kinnick.

Iowa CityThis stadium, built in 1929 and renovated in 2006, holds 70,585 people. Notre Dame and Iowa had a great rivalry from 1921 until 1968. Probably the most famous match was the 14-14 tie on Nov. 21, 1953, in Notre Dame, when Notre Dame was undefeated and ranked No. 1. Near the end of each half, Iowa scored to go ahead by a touchdown when Notre Dame was out of timeouts, but each time, a certain Notre Dame tackle fell down with an injury, stopping the clock, and the Irish managed to score in the final seconds. The injuries were a ruse, leading the NCAA to create a new rule that required injured players to sit out at least one down. Overall, the Irish led the series 13-8-3 overall, and Coach Parseghian won all three of his games against the Hawkeyes by wide margins.

Well, when I pulled into the stadium parking lot for the interview, my phone rang and it was Coach Parseghian! I said, “Guess where I am – the Hawkeyes’ stadium.” He said, “I know where that is.” What a funny coincidence. I gave Coach a brief update on the ride and the fundraising.

Later that evening, I met the Notre Dame Club of Cedar Rapids/Iowa City at a local brewery. About 30 alumni and students showed up, including some students who are interning at the University of Iowa. This was a special visit to me because this was the very first Notre Dame club I visited in 2010 during my first cross-country ride for NPC with my wife Renate. Many of the alumni who attended five years ago were there again tonight. Many of them are bike riders, and they were all talking about next month’s RAGBRAI, the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, started by the Des Moines Register newspaper in 1973. The seven-day, 468-mile touring event is the oldest, largest, and longest of its kind in the world.

Everyone signed the van, and we had a wonderful night. Thanks, Iowa City!

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