Bathtub races help make an impact in Manson

MANSON, Ia. – Any RAGBRAI-er who stopped in Manson made an impact, or at least they can say they did, as the town of Manson sits in a 74-million-year-old crater.

The bathtub race was another way to make an impact.

Teams donated any amount of money they desired to hop into a water-filled bathtub on wheels and race another team through a maze of orange cones in the meeting town of Manson Monday afternoon.

“It’s a digital sign so everyone can find us and know we are the most welcome city in the state of Iowa,” said Jan Nelson, a volunteer. 

Nelson said she hadn’t counted the money yet, but said, “the bucket is getting full.” 

The town is located where an 8,000 foot meteorite struck the earth at 45,000 mph more than 70 million years ago, giving the town the only soft water in Iowa. And they love to talk about it.

Manson was the meeting town of RAGBRAI’s day 2 Monday and the theme was about making an impact. Riders could pose at numerous photo booths to prove they visited the crater.

An Iowa Geographical Survey booth kept a consistent flow of curious cyclists midday Monday, each one fascinated with something different.

Kim Mitchell, 55, of Reston, VA., said she couldn’t believe the crater is about 25 miles long and how geologists can tell how old the area is by looking at the rocks and stones.

“It gives you something to think about while you ride,” Mitchell said of the splash of education mixed with the miles of the day.

Chris Pelzer, 26, of New York via Tipton, Iowa, has a background in soil science, and said he loved talking with the lead geologist on the crater research, Ray Anderson, who has put in more than 40 years with the Iowa Geological Survey.

“The crater formation is like a raindrop in a pool,” he said. “It’s cool.”

Pelzer drove 12 hours overnight from New York to ride RAGBRAI and has to do it again Tuesday.

“RAGBRAI is worth it,” he said.

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