Riders on RAGBRAI today are coping with chilly weather after a long hot spell came to a quick end overnight. Bicyclist Jon Cook of Des Moines says while they coped with 100-degree heat at first, the weather’s cooled off today. “It’s almost a little bit too cool today,” he says, noting many riders have coats, leg warmers or long cycling tights. “It is really a pretty cool day for July in Iowa.” On Sunday night a storm broke down a tree limb that killed a biker as he slept in his tent. Cook says the RAGBRAI participants have heard about it and worried the same thing could happen as a front passed through late Monday. There were some tornado watches out, he says, and Cook looked for a home where some nice people let him throw his sleeping bag in the basement. The night before, though, he says he spent hours in the storm “Literally lying up against the west side of my tent where the storm was coming from,” so the tent wouldn’t blow away. Cook’s group wasn’t content to begin Sunday in LeMars — they pedaled up there from their homes in Des Moines. When they rode to the beginning, it was right around the 100-degree mark. “You drink a lot of water,” he says, take your time and take breaks. “There are little places just lining the roads where you can get somebody’s lemonade, or they have GatorAid in the feeder trough.” Today, he says, it’s all changed, and he’s wearing arm warmers while riding the extra “century loop” — that’s the day a 100-mile alternate route is available for those who want to rise 100-miles in a day. Cook says today was not only cool, but breezy, which makes putting up a tent a challenge. “Yes, RAGBRAI is a camping adventure,” he says, adding he hopes to arrive in Algona by 7 P.M. or so and probably won’t spend a lot of time celebrating downtown, opting instead to get his tent set up and dry out some clothes drenched by storms two nights ago. “Those’ll be high on my list of priorities for the evening.” The 10-thousand registered riders will enjoy a forecast low of around fifty degrees at tonight’s stop in Algona before heading on to Northwood, Cresco, West Union and Guttenberg.
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