Waverly native prepares for second RAGBRAI after memories of fir - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Waverly native prepares for second RAGBRAI after memories of first erased

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WAVERLY (KWWL) -

For more than 40 years, RAGBRAI has brought thousands of bicycle riders to Iowa.

By most accounts, it's an unforgettable two-wheel trek across the state.

But for Laura Baker, a Waverly native, the memories from last year's RAGBRAI have been erased.

Baker, a bike enthusiast who admits she doesn't even own a car, is gearing up for her second RAGBRAI trek. It feels like her first, she said.

"To some degree, I'll make a concerted effort to kind of log memories in a way that I wouldn't have before, but I also want to live in the moment, too, so it'll be a balance," she said.

That's because Baker, who now resides in Denver, Colo., suffered a traumatic brain injury from a bike accident in Colorado last August. She said she remembers nothing from her first ride.

"When she was in the hospital, one of the first things she communicated when she realized her situation was, 'Will I be able to ride my bike again?'" said her mother, Debbe Baker of Waverly. "So we were excited to say yes."

Baker's dad, Tom, rode RAGBRAI with his daughter last year. He went with her last year, too.

"I wouldn't miss this opportunity," he said.

He said he wasn't surprised the first thing Baker wanted to do was ride her bike, and the second thing she wanted to do was ride RAGBRAI.

"It gave her something to kind of focus on," he said.

Baker credits a helmet with saving her life, and said she's lucky.

"I am so lucky that I have the most incredible support network in the world," she said. "I'm so grateful for that."

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