The forecast predicted that today would be one of the best days of RAGBRAI 2010. I believe it turned out to be so. Winds were light until the early part of the afternoon, giving everyone a good chance to get out and log some miles early on. Scott and I stuck together through lunch, and Justin was out in front of us somewhere.
In my opinion, the best pass through town so far is Parkersburg, which we went through today. They had a great setup and very friendly volunteers. If you're not familiar with the story of the shooting of Coach Ed Thomas, I urge you to Google it. It is truly a touching story of the perseverance of Parkersburg Iowa and many lessons can be learned from the Thomas family and their actions during the aftermath of an EF5 tornado and the subsequent murder of their husband, father and coach, Ed Thomas.
The route today was almost entirely south and packed full of nice little 'rollers'. I arrived in Waterloo around 2:30 to find Justin waiting under the shade at our appointed campground for the evening. After relaxing for a bit, Scott showed up not feeling too well. He blamed the chocolate milk at PB Jam, but I had it too, so I'm not sure...
We cleaned up and headed for the shuttle buses with a destination in mind of The Red Lobster. We finally got there after making a shuttle transfer and walking a few blocks. We had a great meal and then began our journey back to camp. It took a bit longer as the shuttle didn't show up for about an hour. Once it did, we were back at camp in short order.
In a way, things begin to wind down tomorrow, but they also pick up. We're ready to tackle the final 2 days of RAGBRAI and dip our front wheels in the Mississippi River. It is hard to believe that there are only 2 days remaining, so things are winding down. I also know from past years that Friday and Saturday tend to bring more riders out. People of Waterloo and Dubuque who want to take in a piece of RAGBRAI will take Friday off and ride the last day or two. So things are also winding up. The bad part about this is that many of them are first time riders and haven't been 'seasoned' with the rest of us for the whole week. That reintroduces an element of danger to the ride so we will all have to be extra careful of the new riders.
Tomorrow we head 62 miles to Manchester, the smallest overnight town on this year's ride. I've passed through Manchester before and it seemed like a great town so we'll see what they can do as an overnight host. There's a chance that Gary will be meeting us in Manchester if he can find a place to stay. I hope it works out so he can experience an overnight town aside from the ending town. There's just a different feel to the ride during the week than during the culmination at the destination community.
I'll check in from Manchester and then follow up with the last day's commentary sometime before the weekend is up. As always, thanks for reading!!!