Next Saturday the small town of Delmar, Iowa will be overrun with more than 10,000 bike riders.
“It’s the biggest thing to happen to Delmar since I’ve lived here and I’ve lived here almost 30 years,” says Mayor Patty Hardin.
For the first time in recent memory Delmar is one of the stops on the statewide RAGBRAI event.
For a small town like Delmar the economic impact of thousands of bike riders is huge, but so is the challenge of keeping all those passers-by fed and hydrated.
“The riders that we’re expecting to stop here is 3-4 times the population of Delmar,” explains Hardin.
“I think the person in charge, Patty Hardin, has not slept at all for the last couple of weeks,” say volunteer Cathy Jepsen.
Right now the organizers are struggling with how much water they’ll need, and where to get it from. Hosting thousands of bike riders is expected to push this small town and all of its volunteers to the limit.
“It is really hot and we’re still working on the water issue. How many bottles to have we have no idea,” says Hardin.
“They said over 40,000 bottles of water, and then you hear from someone else that maybe you won’t use that much,” says Jepsen.
The City of Delmar has just 10 days to solve their water problem, though they are getting a helping hand from an unlikely source.
The Iowa National Guard will be in Delmar next Saturday. They’re bringing thousands of gallons of drinking water to supplement the city’s supply, if things run dry.
“I didn’t even know they did that. I just thought it was for disasters,” says Jepsen.