When the route for the bike ride is gravel roads, you know you're participants are gluttons for punishment.
Well, they got what they bargained for on Sunday with the inaugural Culinary Ride. Starting and ending in Iowa City, more than 100 cyclists turned out, weather-be-damned, to pedal across paved and gravel roads for gourmet spreads at the farms of Eastern Iowa.
"What rain? I barely saw any rain," said a noticeably wet Marco Holgado, 29, of Iowa City, who completed the ride in a steady mist.
The purpose of the Culinary Ride was to expose cyclists to locally grown and prepared foods, all while completing a healthy 55-mile bike ride.
"I thought today was a great way to get people to see Iowa and appreciate the local farms," said rider Martha Norbeck, 40, of Iowa City, adding, "I was very impressed no one complained about the weather. Everyone was in good spirits."
More than 130 riders pre-registered, but there was not a final count on participants.
Derek Roller, one of the organizers, invited riders onto Echollective Farm, which was one of the stops in the middle, for a buffet feast prepared in part by himself and chefs from throughout Iowa City. Local restaurants such as , and also chipped in dishes along the way.
Click here to see the route.
"It takes a lot of food to ride," said Michael Webb, 32, of Iowa City, while sitting at the , which was the final stop of the ride.
Geoff Perrill, of , drove the route as a support vehicle. He carted riders back to town who couldn't make it and provided on the spot tune-ups.
One of the organizers, Audrey Wiedemeier, also wrote a blog post previewing the ride last week.