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Donald Kaul, a twice almost-Pulitzer Prize winner; political humorist, satirist and columnist of the Des Moines Register’s “Over the Coffee” much more than twice; and unindicted co-conspirator and co-founder of Iowa’s annual bicycle ride and small-town-pillage-fest known as RAGBRAI, died Sunday, July 22 from prostate cancer and its complications. He had suffered a heart attack July 4, 2012, which was not something he really appreciated. Fireworks blowing up, yeah, sort of OK. Heart blowing up, not so keen. But he kept at the writing afterwards, regardless.

Leave it to Don to die on the first day of this year’s RAGBRAI — anything to get out of putting on more miles, even symbolically. RAGBRAI was something Don loved, but clearly didn’t like. He groused about it likely more than I did my first 24 years of RAGBRAI.

I stopped riding RAGBRAI after 24 years. I had run out of film and worn through my last pair of bike socks. I recently tried on a pair of my riding shorts, but found that Lycra seems to shrink noticeably if left in dark closets or not aired out regularly. Who knew?!

Don got wise before I did and left at the end of RAGBRAI 10.


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