ONAWA, IA – With a dip of his bicycle tire in the Missouri River on the western border of Iowa in a town called Onawa, Fleming Island High graduate Luke Steinberg, a cross country and track star …
ONAWA, IA – With a dip of his bicycle tire in the Missouri River on the western border of Iowa in a town called Onawa, Fleming Island High graduate Luke Steinberg, a cross country and track star for the Golden Eagles, started his lengthiest endeavor of record by joining his Air Force Academy Cycling Team for their annual sojourn across Iowa as part of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa from Sun., July 22 through Sat., July 28.
“My longest ride ever was the second day’s 71.7 mile segment from Denison to Jefferson,” said Steinberg, via phone from his support tent with 125 fellow Air Force Academy teammates. “Iowa is pretty hilly and it’s pretty hot.”
Steinberg, 24, and a 1st Lieutenant in the Air Force based in Buckley Air Force Base in Denver as a astronautical engineer, graduated from Fleming Island High in 2011, University of Central Florida in 2016 and commissioned into the Air Force thereafter in Colorado.
“For us in the military, the RAGBRAI is a ride of distance each day, but our mission is to be on the course support as we go,” said Steinberg, noting the 46th year that military personnel from all services participate. “We are in it for the ride, but our mission is support along the way. We fix flats, help people who fall back and, today, even fixed a derailleur on a bike.”
Day one saw Steinberg and his team finish off a 44 mile trek with day two, Monday, a 71.7 mile ride. The ride averages between 50 and 70 miles per day; a 428.1 mile total with 12,576 feet of climbing. Eight stops along the way include Onawa (start), Denison, Jefferson, Ames, Newton, Sigourney, Iowa city and Davenport (finish) with a tire dip in the Mississippi River.
“In Denver, we have the Rocky Mountains to train on, but this is hilly in a more consistent pattern,” said Steinberg. “On open roads, we average in the high 22-25 miles per hour pace, but most times it’s closer to 20 miles per hour.”