Bicyclists descend on Emmetsburg Monday

EMMETSBURG – The streets of Emmetsburg were filled with bicyclists Monday evening as riders from across the state stopped in town during RAGBRAI.

Emmetsburg was selected as one of the overnight stops during the bike ride which goes across the state.

Many of the bicyclists were veterans of RAGBRAI, including David Salz, of Algona.

He said the ride to Emmetsburg wasn’t too challenging.

“It was a little hilly for a stretch, but it’s been great on the road to town,” Salz said. “It’s not too bad.”

Salz said the wind proved to be a challenge.

“We had plenty of head wind,” he said. “But tomorrow if it’s still there it will be nice because then it will be a tail wind.”

Matt Determan, of Sioux City, said the wind didn’t bother him too much.

“It’s a lot of fun,” he said. “We’ve only been doing this for two days but so far it’s a good trip.”

Determan and his team members were camping out on the front lawn of an Emmetsburg resident.

It’s a spot teammate Cyndy Rohde, of Emerson, Neb., enjoyed.

“We’ve got a good spot here,” she said.

Rohde added that she appreciated the hospitality of the locals.

“The residents are the heroes,” Rohde said. “They let us camp here and use their showers. We’re so glad for that.”

Charlie Zimmerman, of Washington, Ill., agreed.

“Emmetsburg has been very welcoming to us,” he said.

Zimmerman was biking with his friend, Scott Herrmeyer, of Hazelwood, Mo. Both men are originally from Waterloo and have been riding in RAGBRAI for almost 20 years.

“It’s awesome,” Herrmeyer said. “There’s a little bit of head wind, but I’ll take it. I don’t complain about it because it’s a good ride.”

Not everybody participating in RAGBRAI was a veteran of the bike ride.

Brent Barns, of Denver, Colo., was participating for the second time.

He said he decided to participate again because of “the fun and the experience.”

His teammate, Ross Krosboth, of Loveland, Colo., was also doing RAGBRAI for the second time. He decided to give it another go after several positive experiences last year.

“The first time I did it we were talking to a pastor’s wife and she invited us into her house,” Krosboth said, adding that seeing how polite everybody is made him want to ride again.

But Wanda McIntyre, of Omaha, Neb., had nothing to compare her experience to, since this year was her first taking part in RAGBRAI.

“It’s been a long-time dream of mine and it’s on my bucket list,” McIntyre said. “I decided to do it because it was just sitting there on my bucket list and it wasn’t going anywhere unless I did something about it.”

McIntyre said RAGBRAI was challenging for her, but it was also a positive experience.

“I’ve been meeting some really cool people,” she said. “Everybody’s so gracious and nice, and there’s great camaraderie.”

At the stop in Graettinger, just before Emmetsburg, McIntyre was even helped out by a group of complete strangers participating as Team Brewhaha.

“They’re going to drive me to the next town,” McIntyre said, adding that her main goal was to go at her own pace and get back home safely.

She added that there was one part of RAGBRAI she wasn’t expecting.

“The times,” she said with a laugh. “If it says it’s going to be 69 miles between towns, it might actually be 80.”