Welcome back RAGBRAI
riders. Hills, hills, hills, hills; it's off to southern Iowa we
go! It's been awhile, but here we come! Did I mention
hills? Yup, better get ready. Start your training now and
you'll be able to enjoy the ride this July. Coach Dave Ertl has
posted a suggested training schedule on the RAGBRAI website, so no
All total, RAGBRAI XLIV is
clocking in at almost 420 miles and a little over 18,000 feet of
climb. If the route doesn't change between now and July, this
will be the third shortest RAGBRAI and we almost cracked the top 10
list for easiest ride. Don't let this lull you into false sense
of easiness. There are some challenging days in your
future. Even though none of the individual days made any of the
top 10 lists, several will get your attention. In particular, the
first three days have similar climb characteristics. On the plus
side, as the week progresses, the difficulty eases off.
We start at Glenwood and end
up in Muscatine, with lots of sights and fun as we cross the
Day 1 takes us from Glenwood
to Shenandoah, a distance of almost 50 miles and a little over 2600
feet of climb. For those of you who want to do a bit of gravel,
the gravel loop is today and takes you through Imogene. This will
add about 17 miles to your day and about 1000 feet of climb.
Day 2 takes us from
Shenandoah to Creston, slightly over 75 miles and and around 4000 feet
of climb. From a climb stand point, it's going to be a lot like
day 1, except 25 miles longer. There are plenty of thru towns so
look forward to a lot of fun as we head east.
Day 3 goes from Creston to
Leon, not quite 60 miles and around 3300 feet of climb.
Experience the highest average climb grade this day, slightly over what
the first two days have in store, but shorter than day 2. Out of
Creston we drop straight south until we hit U.S. Highway 2. From
there, we head again head east on into Leon. We also cross I-35
just prior to reaching Leon.
Day 4 travels from Leon to
Centerville, a distance slightly over 65 miles and climb of around 2800
feet. As with day 2, there are a ton of pass thru towns to stop
and enjoy! We end out the day passing on the south side of Lake
Rathbun, through Mystic and then into Centerville. The Karras
Loop is today and takes you around Lake Rathbun via the Honey Creek
Resort. If you feel like bagging the Century, the loop clocks in
a little over 32 miles and adds almost 1300 feet to your climb.
Day 5's ride is from
Centerville to Ottumwa, a bit over 51 miles and a little over 1900 feet
of climb. We go through Moravia, Unionville, and Blakesburg;
Amish country. I have a feeling that there will be a few food
stands featuring some great pies this day. Dutch Apple, here I
By the time you get to Day 6
which takes us from Ottumwa to Washington, you will ready for a
distance of almost 70 miles and a little over 2500 feet of climb.
For a change of beverage, stop at The Wooden Wheel Winery. I may
have to stop in, sample their reds and watch the ride go on by for
The last day takes us to
Muscatine, not quite 50 miles and around 1500 feet of climb. A
nice feature to enjoy will be crossing the Iowa River at Columbus
Junction and Fredonia. Oh, and we pass the Ardon Creek Winery, so
I may have to take another "observation" break.
Even though this year's ride
is hitting only one of the top 10 charts (third shortest), you'll still
want to get in lots
of training miles. As always, weather and winds can be a
significant factor. Make sure to include as much headwind
you can prior to the ride. During training just keep thinking about all
the great food and fun we're going to have!
Enjoy the GeoBike site and
keep logging those training miles. See everyone in the