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2009 RAGBRAI

Water, water everywhere, and lots of things to drink

Greenfield, Ia. – It was raining here on Monday afternoon when the bicycles started to trickle into the square, but there was a sense that this was merely the calm before the storm.

Gina Wallace knew how many people would soon flood this town of around 2,000 people.

Wallace, who owns Colors Floral and Home Decorating, was in charge of securing housing for riders who called ahead—which turned out to be about as many as live in Greenfield. She agreed to house 18 in her home and 30-some in her yard.

By 3 p.m., two of the four teams signed up to stay with her had already arrived.

“I told them to hurry up and take showers before the rest of them come,” she said.

Greenfield got its first taste of RAGBRAI on Saturday, when 40 or so bikers showed up, apparently on their way to Council Bluffs. Most of them never made it out, choosing instead to hang out at the bar here.

“I think they decided the drinking was more fun,” Wallace said.

The city, meanwhile, hoped the rain wouldn’t dampen the thirst of the crowd arriving on Monday. Souvenir T-shirts and a party in the town square served as the main sources of income for the town.

“We’ve just been doing a lot of stuff,” said Ginny Kuhfus, director of the city’s chamber. “Everybody has painted, fixed up, planted flowers, picked up their yards. We’ve ordered porta-potties and portable showers.”

Thinking back to the expense of all that work, she added: “Drink a lot of beer tonight.”

–L. Lars Hulsebus

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