Bike riders weather Merrill storm - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Bike riders weather Merrill storm

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MERRILL (WAOW) -

Hundreds of sopping wet bike riders stopped to camp out in Merrill on Monday night. They weathered the storm from their tents.

Even though there wasn't as much storm damage where they were -- on the west side of town -- there was plenty of rain. But some bike riders said that was all just a part of the experience.

"I'm a pretty heavy sleeper and when the rain came through, I could hear the rain and the wind and the tents flapping around," said Gary Jackson, who is from Chicago. "I just kind of pulled my sleeping bag over and slept a little more."

300 bike riders started their trek this past weekend on their way across the state. They stopped to sleep on Monday night at Stange's Park. Just as the sun started to rise, the rain came.

"As soon as I got back into my tent, the thunder started, the lightning started, wind," said Chris Dombeck, who was riding with Jackson. "I was ready to go back to sleep and my tent came unhooked and I lost a corner of my tent. Water started pouring in."

Bikers hit the roads soon after -- starting what some called the "Tour de Damage." The riders said they took their time, taking stock of the city of Merrill and all the debris from the morning's storm.

"This, for biking, this is the worst storm I've been in," said Dombeck. "When we were riding yesterday, we had to pull off because we were getting hit by hail. We got pretty wet yesterday and we're still wet today from yesterday."

They rode through the center of the city, heading south toward Tuesday night's stop in Stevens Point. And for the out-of-towners, there were plenty of sights to see along the way.

"We get to see all the devastation along the way, which for us, from Chicago, is kind of fun because we don't have that kind of stuff so much," said Jackson.

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