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The story of overcoming a near-fatal bicycle accident

River to River, hosted by Ben Kieffer

Guillermo Romano Ibarra came to eastern Iowa in the summer of 2019 to be part of the University of Iowa Medical Scientist Training Program. The rigorous seven or eight years of study results in an M.D. and a Ph.D.

Guillermo says he’s always gravitated to more technical sports like swimming and cycling. Back when Guillermo lived in the Pacific Northwest, he helped coach a Paralympic swim team of disabled athletes called The Shadow Seals. He also enjoys weightlifting and running.

When Guillermo moved to Iowa City to begin medical school, rode part of Iowa’s famous RAGBRAI bike ride across the state with some friends. From there, he began to discover more trails in the area. Cycling was becoming a refuge for Guillermo. It was a nice change of pace from the demanding rigor of medical school.

On August 28, 2019, Guillermo took his high-performance road bike in for maintenance. Right after the tune-up, he decided to set out on a ride in the country on a beautiful late summer evening. The plan was to head south from Iowa City toward the town of Lone Tree.

Hear the story of what happened on this special edition of River to River.

This episode was originally produced on April 20, 2021. You can find the original post, including photos here.


  • Guillermo Romano Ibarra, medical student, Medical Scientist Training Program, University of Iowa
Ben Kieffer is the host of IPR's River to River
Rick Brewer was a producer for IPR's Talk of Iowa and River to River