Friday, August 19, 2016

RAGBRAI


Months ago, I was asked to be on a committee for a bicycle vent coming to our city. It is an annual ride across Iowa now in its 44th year and we were hosting a stop over on its way to the Mississippi river. It meant lots of meetings to come up with a game plan for getting food vendors to serve all the people that would temporarily doubly our population for one night and organizing where and how they would get set up.

[Added just now when I discovered I forgot to write the rest of this post.]

The morning of the event, I was up before dawn and manning barricades to let the vendors into the rider area. Despite warnings to our local townfolk that roads were going to be closed and tens of thousands of bicyclists would be around, I was amazed at how many belligerent folks tried to talk their way through the barricades to get on the road the bicyclists were riding on and was completely packed with food and gear vendors.

After six hours of that and still before noon, some others came to relieve me including a police officer which stopped the belligerent folks from starting up, I spent several hours walking along the promenade helping vendors getting in their proper spaces and set up to serve food. Then the rush was on as bicyclists began arriving in the hundreds. I stayed for awhile to ensure there were no last minute problems, had some lunch myself and then crossed the bridge to downtown where I stopped in at the club at which I am a member and saw they were swamped with hungry riders as well. They needed help so I donned an apron and ran the bar for the next six hours serving drinks to very thirsty riders.

By the time I got out of there and walked up to the church where my wife was also working to serve hungry riders, I was beat. I ate some supper there, sat across the street in the park watching riders and pointing stray ones to what ever places they were looking for and then finally went home, well after dark. It was a very tiring but fulfilling day and according to many of the reports that day and the weeks after their stay, we ended up being the favorite overnight stop of the ride this year. I hope that means they come back soon.


6 comments:

sage said...

I was talking to someone (I am trying to remember who) a few months ago who said he was going to participate in the ride across Iowa. I asked if he was from there, and he wasn't but knew someone who lived there and who had told him about the ride.

ErinFromIowa said...

Awesome slice of Iowa life.

Kelly said...

Sounds like a challenge, but a fun one. When does it take place?

Vince said...

Do you have to pay the vendors, or do they pay you. And is there a pack you get with info from previous years.
I can see where a double duty thing could happen and have a town carnival after the pellathon has passed through. For lets face it if they are going quick people will be wondering 'is that it'. Best of luck.
Seems you've been enfolded into the life of town remarkably rapidly. Isn't this you 3rd year there.

Ed said...

Sage - I met quite a few people from the far corners of the US and even a few from foreign countries.

Erin - It really is!

Kelly - It already took place. For some reason, I forgot to finish this post and didn't realize it until I just read it a few moments ago. I need to finish my thoughts on it.

Vince - The vendors pay us for the priviledge. In return, they get 20,000 plus hungry people willing to buy food from them. They make a lot of money in the week long event.

Kelly said...

Glad you came back and gave us "the rest of the story"! Sounds exhausting - biking AND organizing/vending.