WATERLOO, Iowa (KWWL)- The RAGBRAI party, or at least the Waterloo leg of it, wound down late Wednesday night. An estimated 15,000 riders were in town to enjoy live music, food, games, and activities in downtown Waterloo.
"It is nothing but wake up, break down your tent, ride, get food and get ready for the party at the next town," Tim Edwards said.
As cyclists rolled through arches in downtown Wednesday, it marked the first time the ride has stopped in Waterloo in over a decade. Bikers are spending the night on their trip from Missouri to the Mississippi.
"This is a rolling state fair across Iowa," Buck Wolf said.
Cyclists like Randy Stewart come from all over the nation to partake in RAGBRAI. This is Stewart's 15th RAGBRAI ride.
"It keeps me in shape and active to do this," Stewart said. "It is just fun. I enjoy it."
Many riders hit the road early this morning to avoid the heat.
"We started really early, got up as soon as we possibly could and cranked out as many miles as we could," rider Alex Furman said. "Thankfully, we have our friend the cloud here today."
The one-day financial impact of the Waterloo overnight RAGBRAI stop is predicted to be some two and a half million dollars.
Stewart lives in Tennessee but makes the trip to Iowa for the annual ride. As he winds through each city and town, he picks up t-shirts. He then sends them to Strawberry Point, where they are sewn into a quilt, telling the story of that year's RAGBRAI.
"Where sometimes I used to pass through every town, now I am stopping and walking around and looking to see if there is a bar and grill, tavern, fire station, or city t-shirt."
He said it has made his experience more enjoyable.
"I guess you could say I am stopping more and smelling the roses," he said.
Riders have a big day ahead of them tomorrow. It is the longest leg of their journey to Anamosa, 83.7 miles.