After being frustrated with trying to get some blog entries done at the library, I pedaled further downtown to the festival.  Typical street-fair . . . except I’m willing to bet they sell a lot of carbs to this crowd.
By the time I got to the fair the thunderheads were gathering.  Thunder was rumbling.  No one seemed that concerned.  They’d all just ridden 80+ miles.  (Those folks who “followed the route” wound up riding a little over 87 miles.  Those of us who took the bike trail did just a skosh over 80 miles.)

The calm before the storm
Everybody was in a party mood.  Then again, all of the “host cities” wind up being “party central.”  Not so much the big towns like Des Moines or Ames.  Another 15,000 overnight guests in those cities is a “large-ish convention.”

But in towns like Harlan (population 5106), Perry (pop. 7702), and Knoxville (pop. 7313) the whole town turns out for the bikers.  We double or triple the population!

And after people get through a long tiring ride, (80+ miles, nearly 4300 feet of climb, hellish temperatures), the mood is almost one of a conquering army.  It’s festive.  It’s jubilant.  It’s an, “That ride wanted to beat me, but it didn’t.  I kicked its ass.  Now, pass me the Bag Balm for my ass . . . “