Posted by Des Moines Register
Author Danielle Gehr
Photo: Des Moines Register
A steep hill, heavy rain, bitter cold, aching muscles.
That combination ofconditionscould usually cut off chatter amongMuscatine Melon City Bike Club members as they triedto power through the pain.
ButMichael "Joe" Mannalways broke through that silence.
As longtime friend Russell Price wouldtryto catch his breath, he could always count on Mann to tell jokes and storiesto lift up the tired bikers around him. Price joked, "I don't think the man ever stopped talking."
A car fatally hit Mann while he was biking Thursday. Price said a tremendous hole will be felt as future rides take place without him.
"He always had a smile on his face, and I don't care how hard it was raining or how hard the headwind was, he always had a smile on his face," Price said. "I mean, this guy enjoyed cycling. He really did.
"He enjoyed the sport so damn much, he made it fun for other people."