Native Iowan Comes Home From Semester Abroad In Tasmania, Just In Time For Her First Full RAGBRAI

Photo: Cierra Balog dips her tire on the first day of her first full RAGBRAI


As RAGBRAI surged through Carroll County on Monday, there were participants from around the country and the world that were given a scenic tour of what the Carroll area has to offer. One of these young women is a resident of Pleasantville here in Iowa, but she had been out of the country for quite some time, coming back at the end of June and jumping in with both feet to prepare for her first full RAGBRAI. Cierra Balog says she was introduced to the event last year.

Balog had spent a semester abroad in Tasmania, Australia where she attended the University of Tasmania in a gender studies course to compliment her double major in psychology and gender and sexuality studies. Not the typical tourist destination, Balog says it truly was the hidden gem of the country, of which many Australians are not even aware. Though she won’t miss the palm-sized spiders or snakes, almost all of which are poisonous, she does miss the people she met in the very inclusive, family-like atmosphere at the university. She tried to get time in on a bike in Tasmania, but says it was just not feasible from a financial standpoint. Once she got back to the states, however, her focus shifted to this year’s ride, and there was one thing she felt was imperative to get her ready in that short period of time

She says she felt that she got some good time in with a 44-mile ride and a weekly outing with the team. And now, there are a couple of must-do items on Balog’s checklist before she gets done with her first full ride.

Balog and her team planned to be up and at it early this morning (Tuesday). Getting out ahead of the pack around 6 a.m. for the 62.2 mile trek from Jefferson to the overnight in Ames.