If you’re considering to ride in the grand-daddy of all across-state bicycle tours — RAGBRAI — this summer, organizers announced this year’s route at the annual gala on Saturday night.
The Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is July 23 to July 30, so don’t worry, all the corn pone from this year’s primary caucuses should be scrubbed away by then.
Organizers announced a west to east route that starts in Glenwood, on the Missouri River, and rolls across the southern part of the state to Muscatine, on the Mississippi. Along the way, the cyclists will spend overnights in Shenandoah, Creston, Leon, Centerville, Ottumwa, and Washington.
Ride director T.J. Juskiewicz said although the southern part of the state is considered hilly, this route avoids a lot of the rollers. Total elevation gain for the week is 18,488 feet, which makes it the 24th flattest — putting it just about in the middle over the 44 year history of the ride.
Total ride distance is 420 miles, the third shortest.
Hosting an overnight stop on RAGBRAI is a coveted honor for small towns along the route. More than 10,000 touring cyclists arrive to spend as much as $3 million a day on meals, drinks and the homemade pies sold at church bazaars.
This year’s host towns are variously famous as the home of the Everly Brothers (Shenandoah), the “world’s largest square” (Centerville), and the fictional hometown of Radar of M*A*S*H (Ottumwa).
How to register
All the registration information can be found at Registration/RAGBRAI , but be aware the deadline for applying by paper form is Feb. 15, and the deadline for all weeklong rider applications is April 1.
Since more people want to ride than there are spots available, cyclists are chosen by lottery. Winners are announced May 1.