AVOCA, Iowa — RAGBRAI 2019 started out with a stark contrast to arrival day in Council Bluffs. The weather turned rainy overnight after being in the upper 90s on Saturday.
Riders seemed to not be phased by the weather.
“We stayed at Lake Manawa. It was lightning when we took off. Then we waited a while and left about 7:00-730. It was great ride in, a little wet, but it was good,” said Dave Wykoff, a retired Iowa school principal now living in Arkansas. “This is my 31st year on RAGBRAI.”
The ride is also great for church and school groups. Some youth at the Broadway United Methodist Church awoke at 3 a.m. to get some breakfast ready for riders.
“Adults stayed here last night. We had a lock-in overnight and got up early to help prepare some smoothies, get coffee ready, get the cinnamon rolls out,” said Shannon Meister, council chair at the Broadway United Methodist Church. “They had a blast. I don’t think they got much sleep but they had a blast.”
Antti Hoyden is on his tenth RAGBRAI. He lives in Finland.
“We have a one-week ride in early July to train for this one,” said Hoyden. He was asked how the two rides differ. “Finland the hills are bigger, and it’s chilly. This weather here would be a heat wave in Finland.”
Avoca welcomed riders at the noon stop. Avoca is celebrating their 150th anniversary as a town this year.