PERRY– RAGBRAI riders sought shelter anywhere they could Monday from the heavy rain, hail and lightening that began a little after 8 p.m.
They stood in hotel lobbies, packed restaurants and even retreated to car wash bays.
Jeff Osboe was in Jamaica when Iowa State Patrol officers told riders they had to get on the road to beat the storm.
“We could just see it moving in and we were moving as fast as we could,” Osboe, 37 of Jamaica, said.
His group took shelter under a bridge for an hour as the first storm rolled through.
“It was nasty,” Osboe said “I was kind of worried about getting struck by lightening more than anything.”
When the group got to Perry they waited out the rest of the rain in a carwash bay.
The food vendors and festivities were cancelled, leaving few food options because many local restaurants were already packed with riders and their support crews.
Osboe settled for frozen cheeseburgers heated up in a Kum and Go microwave.
“All I wanted was to find a vendor and a pork chop. I’m eating White Castle,” he said.
After 83 miles, 100 for those who did the Karras Loop, many cyclists were looking forward to relaxing, hanging out in the beer garden and listening to the band Hairball.
That was all cancelled but riders still made the best of the situation.
Several teams set up in convenience store parking lots, played music, danced and drank beer.
At 11 p.m., the wait for a Casey’s pizza was 90 minutes. The line inside the store for a sub sandwich stretched from the food counter to the front door.
Nick Kuennan, of Pella, and two of his teammates tried two pizza places and three Mexican restaurants before finally finding food at Kum and Go.
Kuennan was at the campground when the storm struck. He sought shelter in a nearby city building.
His team stayed behind in the tent.
“The rest of the group had a great time,” he said. “I came back and the cooler was empty.”
Kuennan said some of the group’s things got wet, but that it could have been worse.
“It will be a later start, but the weather sounds cooler and it’s a shorter day so we should be OK,” he said.