It's been a little over a week since the water reached peak levels in Rock Valley, Iowa. Even though, some sandbags are still out and not all homes are back to normal, city leaders said now is the time to focus on the future and the thousands of riders that will be coming through.
"We have decided that we're going to go ahead and we're going to have RAGBRAI here," Rock Valley Mayor Kevin Van Otterloo said.
"I just feel like we have to do RAGBRAI because RAGBRAI is an awesome community," RAGBRAI Committee Member Don Ortman said.
The mayor said the decision to carry on with RAGBRAI wasn't taken lightly.
"We've talked to quite a few of the people whose homes were affected by the flood, and we really visited with them, and we tried to get their feelings on whether they felt we should have RAGBRAI here," Van Otterloo said.
Ortman's basement and first floor of his home were completely under water. Even though, his house is still in shambles, he said he'll make due to accommodate cyclists. Instead, of having the bike riders stay in his home like he originally planned, they will camp out in has backyard.
"We can persevere. We will make it through this," Ortman said.
The mayor said all the proceeds raised over RAGBRAI will go towards helping flood victims in the community.
"Anything that is actually made by the RAGBRAI committee will go into the fund for flood relief," Van Otterloo said.
"I think the proceeds are desperately needed and is one of the reasons we need to move forward with RAGBRAI," Ortman said.
Some residents aren't sure what to expect when RAGBRAI riders pedal in.
"I think it'll be busy with the bike riders and the police department will be really busy, and I think it'll do good," Rock Valley Resident Gertrude Bakker said.
"I was kind of for it, and now I, they were going to stay at our place, we had campers and tents coming, but now we have no basement. So, we have no showers for them, but I guess my feeling is they probably should still go on with it because they say it will help us with the relief," Rock Valley Resident Bob Davelaar said.
And, some members of the RAGBRAI committee said they don't want anyone to feel burdened by the event..
"We know that emotionally and physically, not everyone is going to be able to help with RAGBRAI now, and that's okay," Ortman said.
Ortman said surrounding communities have already stepped up to help out, and the next steps for the city are to make sure all the campgrounds are ready, and readjust some housing arrangements due to the flood. But, despite some challenges, city leaders said this a great opportunity for Rock Valley to demonstrate their resilience to the world.
RAGBRAI is set to kick off in Rock Valley on Saturday, July 19th.
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