Duck walk


Welcome back RAGBRAI riders.  It's off to northern Iowa we go!  This is going to be an interesting ride in that we start in relatively flat portion of the state and defer most of the climbing until the last two days.  I wouldn't be too quick to write this one off as an easy ride though...  There are rollers, and we'll be exposed to the elements with few wind breaks during the first five days.  So if Monther Nature decides to bless us with heat and head winds, it could get interesting. 

All total, RAGBRAI XLV is clocking in a little over 407 miles and and about 11,600 feet of climb and will make a few of the top 10 lists.  Subject to any route changes, RAGBRAI XLV will clock in as the 3rd shortest ride, the 3rd least climb, and the 3rd easiest ride.  Continuing our fixation on "3", Day 3 also clocks in as the 8th least climb.  Hummmm....  I'm thinking that if you've always wanted to come join the ride, even for a day, this would be the year!  This year, we kick off in Orange City and work our way over to Lansing.  Now this is epic!  RAGBRAI ended in Lansing on RAGBRAI V, and it was the only time the ride was there.  So for anyone interested in experiencing a rare event, this would be it!  Besides, the view of the river is stunning there.

So, how about the ride?

Day 1 takes us from Orange City to Spencer, a distance of almost 64 miles and a around1400 feet of climb.  For those of you who want to do a bit of gravel, the gravel loop is today and takes you through Sutherland.  This will add about 21 miles to your day and a little over 750 feet of climb.  I'm sure there will be some breakfast being served up in Alton.  Spencer is always a fun stop!

Day 2 takes us from Spencer to Algona, slightly over 72 miles and and around 1400 feet of climb.  The Karras Loop starts and ends just out of West Bend and takes south of the ride through Plover.  If you feel like bagging the Century, the loop clocks in around 30 miles and adds almost 450 feet to your climb.  Ayrshire and Mallard will show us a great time!

Day 3 goes from Algona to Clear Lake, not quite 52 miles and around 1047 feet of climb.  As I noted earlier, Day 3 is the 8th least climb.  (Hint: Great day to sample the ride!) We end the day passing through Ventura and roll along the north side of the lake.  The Surf Ballroom is a madatory stop this day.

Day 4 travels from Clear Lake to Charles City, a distance of 57 miles and climb of around 1075 feet. 

Day 5's ride is from Charles City to Cresco, a bit over 55 miles and a little over 1746 feet of climb. 

By the time you get to Day 6 which takes us from Cresco to Waukon, you will ready for a distance of almost 63 miles and a little over 2467 feet of climb.  The route takes us through Decorah and we have a nice climb on our way out of town.  I remember this hill from RAGBRAI XXVII.  For those of you who weren't on this ride, the dew point never went below 75 all week.  It was HOT all week. Shoving off from Decorah that hot morning and encountering this hill first thing made for an indelible memory...

The last day takes us to Lansing, not quite 46 miles and around 2600 feet of climb.  There are four major climbs this day.  By mountain standards, these are not much.  Coming out of Waterville and Harpers Ferry, there are climbs with grade estimates of between 6 and 8%.  Not to worry, by day seven your legs will be ready for them.

Even though this year's ride is hitting a few of the top 10 charts, 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 training as you can prior to the ride. During training just keep thinking about all the great food and fun we're going to have!

On another note, this will be my last year doing GeoBike.  I've been doing this for 22 years now and I've decided to try and retire this year.  I can't begin to tell you how much I've enjoyed doing this work.  I've been blessed to meet cyclist from all around the globe.  The RAGBRAI community is second to none.  I want to thank T.J., Scott, Andrea, and the rest of the staff at RAGBRAI for giving me the BEST RIDE EVER!

Enjoy the GeoBike site and keep logging those training miles.   See everyone in the pancake lines!