• Posted Feb 7, 2012

Charlie Wittmack, global adventurer & veteran bicyclist, is guest speaker for the fifth annual membership banquet of the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association on Saturday, February 18, in Panora.

Iowa native Charlie Wittmack, who at 34 years old is
recognized as one of the leading athletes and most engaging
personalities in the world, will be special guest speaker at the fifth
annual membership banquet of the Raccoon River Valley Trail Association at the Lake Panorama National Resort Conference Center, located just north of the trail in Panora, IA. MAP


That event includes a social hour starting at 6 p.m. and a big dinner
starting at 7 p.m., followed by the Wittmack program and then the
fundraising auctions that support the work of the trail association.
That is the non-profit group that does the marketing and promotion of
the RRVT, the paved trail that now stretches 69.5 miles in west central
Iowa. An additional 20 miles of paved trail is scheduled for completion


Tickets for the banquet are $40 and are available now to the public.
You can purchase them online on this Internet site by going to
the“RRVT Store.” You can also buy memberships in the RRVT Association

Capacity for this event at the conference center will be about 300.

The Raccoon River Valley Trail

the Raccoon River Valley Trail is once again an "IOWA DESTINATION" taking cyclists on a journey. Whether you live close to the trail, or wish to visit Iowa for a day, weekend or longer, the sites, sounds and amenities along this trail are second to none. You'll know why the Raccoon River Valley Trail is becoming one of America's Best Recreational Trails.

Your trail experience will take you from a very vibrant metropolitan
area out into some great small towns, which are located in one of the
most productive agricultural regions of the world. Along your way you’ll
find the food, beverages, entertainment, scenery, accommodations and
ambience that will make every visit to the RRVT a memorable one.

The Raccoon River Valley Trail uses the former right-of-way of a
railroad built in the 1870s and early ’80s to connect the city of Des
Moines with the Iowa Great Lakes region in the northwest part of the

For more than 50 years, it was a popular rail line, taking
many vacationers from central Iowa right to the shores of Storm Lake,
the Okobojis and Big Spirit Lake. Read more about the RRVT history.


“We’re thrilled that Charlie has agreed to come share his story with
us at the banquet,” said Carla Offenburger, of Cooper, president of the
RRVT Association. “He’s been riding our trail from when it first opened
back in 1989. Then my husband Chuck and I got to know him real well in
1995, when we were organizing the Iowa 150 Bike Ride across the U.S.,
and we hired Charlie – who was then a senior in high school – to be the
mechanic for the 308 cyclists on that 100-day ride. Over that summer,
we learned what a fun character he is, but we could also see that there
was a lot of bold adventure in him, too. We all called him ‘Wrench’
that summer when he was our mechanic.”

Wittmack in 2010 and 2011 completed an almost incredible “World
Triathlon” covering more than 8,000 miles from England to the summit of
Mount Everest. He swam the Thames River through England and continued
right on across the English Channel, then rode a bicycle 7,700 miles to
India, then ran through Nepal, and finally, in early May, climbed
29,035-foot Mount Everest. It was his second time he’d climbed Everest,
the first having been in 2003.

“That year, doing all that, was a fun year, you know?” Wittmack said

in a recent interview. “But at the same time, it was so hard. And it
was an incredibly humbling experience. Every aspect of it seemed to be
for some greater purpose.”

One of those purposes now is sharing his story with audiences across

the nation and around the world, with his speeches, photos and video.

More Info about Charlie

We’ll learn a lot more about it on February 18 at the RRVT Association banquet.

Guest speakers in past years at the banquet have been cartoonist

Brian Duffy, TV news anchor Kevin Cooney and former First Lady of Iowa
Christie Vilsack – all of them veteran cyclists and longtime users of
the RRVT.

When we told Wittmack that the former speakers had a good enough time

at the banquet that they’ve been coming back to successive ones as
ticket-buying attendees, he said, “Well, those are three of my own
favorite people in Iowa, so I’ll probably be the same way.”

BIKEIOWA Auction Item

There are tons of great items at the fundraising auction, but you gotta bid BIG on the BIKEIOWA swag!




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