Mount Hosmer Challenge – Lansing, IA

A Race to the Top

Harriet Hosmer was a neoclassical sculptor, considered the most distinguished female sculptor in America during the 19th century. She is also the first female professional sculptor.

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Legend has it, that during a steamboat layover, Harriet challenged the crew to a foot race up the bluff overlooking the Mississippi river.  She won the 7/10th’s of a mile race, running barefooted, in 7:03. Since that time, this bluff has bore her name: Mount Hosmer.

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As part of the RAGBRAI festivities, the organizers revived the spirit of the legendary race and let cyclists compete. Those with a time better than 7:03 receive a gift and the honor of having beat Harriet.

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As a reasonably fit man, outfitted with a custom fitted, 22 gears, carbon frame, state of the art bike, I should have no problem beating that time, right?

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17% grade to start!! That’s a momentum killer.  It never flattens much from there. It is a tough steep uphill slog. About 1/2 way up, I peek at some spectacular views of the Mississippi river below. I could waste no time gawking however, as the seriousness of the challenge was quickly revealing itself.

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With heart pounding and breathing labored, I cross the finish line.  A race official hands me a nice commemorative stainless steel tumbler for completing the challenge. Was this the winners gift I had hoped for? Uh, No. It was a consolation prize. My time?  Well, let’s just say Harriet – 1, Craig – 0. Kudos Harriet, you are one tough gal.

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