This summer’s edition of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) promises to be the third shortest and second flattest in the mass event’s 42-year history.
Organizers announced the closely guarded secret of the host cities on Saturday night.
The ride starts for the first time in Rock Valley, in the west, and proceeds with overnights in Okoboji, Emmetsburg, Forest City, Mason City, Waverly, and Independence before ending in Guttenberg.
Those small towns stand to gain a major share of the $17 million to $24 million that RAGBRAI brings to the state every year as more than 10,000 hungry, thirsty and tired cyclists roll into town to eat, drink and party.
The host of the ride, the Des Moines Register, reports that only one town this year has a population of more than 10,000 people. RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz said:
“There are no massive towns. We’re getting back to smaller communities, which are the perfect size for RAGBRAI.”
The ride rolls across the Hawkeye State from the banks of the Missouri to the Mississippi between July 20 to 26. The distance is 418 miles, quite shorter than some previous years that exceeded 450 miles.
The overall climbing for the week-long ride is 11,316 feet. The final, 68-mile day between Independence and Guttenberg is the hilliest, with elevation gain of 3,078 feet.
Although some experienced bicyclists may scoff at the shortness and flatness of the route, it might encourage more novice cyclists to take the challenge.
Juskiewicz told the Register:
“We have people who don’t have the ability to ride an 85-mile day with tons of hills, so that gives them an opportunity to experience RAGBRAI for the first time. Anything that’s going to get people off the sofa and on a bicycle is good for our state.”
Registration for the RAGBRAI XLII lottery opened back in November, but there’s still plenty of time to fill out the form and forward a payment by the April 1 (Feb. 15 for those using a paper form). A random computer lottery takes place after the deadline.
See all the details about registering for the week or a day.