After a very pleasant off day in Des Moines, the team was well rested and ready to make the 67 mile trek to Marshalltown. Much to our dismay on the bike, we’ve become very familiar with the rolling hills of Iowa. It was a relatively easy day considering we had a slight tail to wind helping us out, but it always is a little hard getting back on the bike after a day of relaxation. My group specifically had a bit of a long day with several flat tires but we pulled through and made it to Marshalltown where we had a very pleasant surprise. We met with a local disability group full of children at a local pool/water park and just enjoyed the water for a couple hours. We brought the term “lazy” river to a new level and had a blast with the kids. Side note, but it was pretty cool to finally be able to keep swimming during the 15 minute “adult” swim time. After the pool, we headed over to our hotel. Yes I said it, we have a hotel for the night so bless up. We had some down time for a few hours before heading to dinner at a local reception hall. We were in absolute awe when we walked in because the hall had been extravagantly decorated for the occasion almost as if it were a wedding! It was truly unbelievable how much effort was put in to throw such an amazing event. When dinner began, a few of us were asked to help serve food and I volunteered so I had the pleasure of cheerfully greeting and meeting all 200 guests while supplying them with delicious cheesy potatoes. After everyone had been served and I was basically a professional mashed potato scooper, the 5 or 6 of us that served dinner were able to get some ourselves. The food was delicious and they had some of the best lemonade imaginable, a common trend on this trip for some odd reason. Each new place seems to one up the last with their own thirst quenching lemonade. After we all ate, we indulged in a good time through dancing as best we could (most of us are pretty poor dancers). It ended up being one of my favorite dance parties with such high spirits and welcoming people. We also killed our performance to the Jonas brothers song “Burnin Up” as we’ve been perfecting it ever since Denver. All in all it was one of our favorite nighttime events, and now we get to rest in a nice cozy bed one last time before D.C. as this is sadly our last hotel. But, we’ll be nice and rested for an 87 miler tomorrow!
-Mark Roberts, Delta Alpha, Virginia Tech