By Ron Marasco
Over the weekend the suspense ended, but the disappointment began for one Central Iowa town.
About 200 cities applied to be overnight hosts for this year's RAGBRAI. Only eight were selected. Unfortunately for Norwalk, they weren't one of them.
"We felt we had the assets and resources to do it, and hopefully we would have made a profit had they came through Norwalk," said Mayor Doug Pierce.
For RAGBRAI organizers, it was a tough call. Norwalk had never hosted an overnight stop.
"We'd love to eventually get there (Norwalk)," said RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz. "But obviously with only eight towns, we can't reach every single town each year."
The Norwalk City Council passed a resolution last month to commit resources and space in hopes of landing an overnight bid. They even sent officials and business leaders to Webster City and Marshalltown to understand how they handled overnight stays.
"We would just love to showcase Norwalk," said Pierce. "And out of the thousands of riders that come through, you never know, one of them might decide: Hey this is a nice place. One, to either raise a family, or two, to move my business or build a business."
"It's a great town," said Juskiewicz. "We've been through there before (as a pass-through town.) We got plenty of riders that obviously are in the Norwalk area."
Ten-thousand riders participate in RAGBRAI every year. Norwalk would have doubled their population in one night.
"I'm a little disappointed," said Norwalk resident George Ouimet. "I wish they came through here to help the economy and stuff here."
"I know it had a big impact because I was born in Marshalltown, and they stopped through there last year," said resident Alex Stambaugh. "And I heard a lot of good remarks on how it impacted the community."
Juskiewicz wants Norwalk to keep their head up.
"Just hang in there, there's always next year."
The city will try again next year. But they realize the route may not come near Norwalk any time soon. But they vow to get back up on that bike and keep riding.