For those not familiar with the area, Cedar Falls and Waterloo are part of the same metropolitan area. We stayed in Cedar Falls which is on the North West side of Waterloo. Today's route however started on the South East side of Waterloo. This made for our most treacherous journey to the route all week.
The plan was simple enough, follow the bike path along the river until it stops and then make our way south through a grid of residential streets to Hess Road and then follow the route to Manchester. When you add a torrential downpour navigation gets a bit tricky. As the morning rain shifted from a light drizzle to monsoon, we set out. We followed the bike paths but got off of our original path somewhere along the way. Fortunately Julio had his iPhone and using his navigation software, we were able to maintain a general South Easterly movement until we ran into team "Butt Ice", also looking for the route. We road with them for a while and they lead us to the start to the route.
After riding twenty miles in the rain we arrived in Washburn (only 4.4mi into the official route). There we decide to stop and wait out the rain in the local bar. Several other riders on the route had the same idea and bar was packed. Despite the miserable riding conditions, we were all pretty happy and decided to make the most of all the stops along the way. As the rain passed, we enjoyed Irish coffees and bloody marys and were quickly on our way.
Three more miles down the road from Washburn, was Gilbertville. We stopped into their bar to soak up the atmosphere as well. It was great how much fun we had enduring such miserable riding conditions as a group. The rainy morning made for what turned out to be a really good day.
There was a fully loaded 'Big Dummy' outside the bar in Gilbertville. It's owner is touring to Argentina. Check out the sweet RB-1 in the background too.
When we rolled into Quasqueton (the meeting town) it was obvious that we weren't the only team having a good time. One of the local bars had a huge beer garden with a DJ and well established dance party. We stayed in Quasqueton until they had to shut down because their service time was over. Service times help keep the ride moving along.
At the Quasqueton dance party. I'd heard of the RAGBRAI tradition of applying temporary tattoos by mouth but I hadn't witnessed it yet. I must say it is far less sexy than it sounds. Here are three ladies from 'team Cockroach' applying tattoos to a man who has just ridden his bike 45 miles in 85 degree heat.
We got to Manchester around 6:00pm and were treated to Chipotle Burritos. Clint used to manage a Chipotle and is still good friends with his regional manager so he hooked us up with some great post ride food. He and Beth had also picked out a great camp ground and pitched all of the tents. Once again our SAG team did a great job making sure we were all well feed and well hydrated.