Saturday, January 21, 2017

Initial Thoughts: The Ragbrai 45 2017 Edition

The Official Route occupies the top fold of the map.  Our "official" route will begin toward the bottom of the second fold.

As a cyclist who lives in Iowa one of the bright spots of the dreary winter season is the day The Des Moines Register, A Gannet company, announces the overnight towns for their annual bicycle ride across Iowa.  When I got interested in this the announcement date was the Sunday after BRR (Bicycle Ride to Ripey) or the first weekend of February.  But it has moved up to coincide with the Bike Expo held in Des Moines.  Make a day of it for bicycles!

The unseasonable warm day or January Thaw provided Mary and I to ride out to our new adopted team's party in West Des Moines.  Team Kum & Go understand that we ride on our own off route but like to dip our toes on the route every now and then.  We feel honored that they accept us.  So we placed our bets on a dry erase board and wondered where the route would be.  Most of us believed the route would be north after last year's southern excursion.  At the appropriate we fired up the live stream and found out.  I had two correct town but on the wrong date.

The starting point is Orange City
Sunday Spencer.
Monday  Algona
Tuesday Clear Lake
Wednesday Charles City
Thursday Cresco
Friday Waukon
Saturday Lansing

This is the top fold of the map.

My usual crew of 5 or 6 will leave Wednesday before Ragbrai begins and work our way to Milford to visit Tim Fairchild, one of our friends we met on Tour de Kota/RASDak.  This would take two or three days,  Possible overnights in Breda, Storm Lake or Sac City.  Then we will part ways and set an intercept course for the route.  Well that was our plan we made many months ago.  Very do able but our interception of The Ragbrai will be very short unless we ride to Orange City.  Milford is a stone throw a way from Spencer.  We will need to discuss.

Also up for discussion is when we will make the south turn and head home.  Or do we?  Do we hook up with the bus and complete the route or do we stick it out for a few days and then head home?  Leaving Algona on Tuesday morning would put us home by Wednesday or Thursday.  Overnights could be Fort Dodge or Brushy State Park.  Mary and I and our sons Quinten and Timothy have ridden from that park to home in two days the nest night in Slater.  Sure, it's a bit hilly but would give us a nice opportunity to ride over the High Trestle.  Long day?  Once you get on a familiar trail that leads home it is easy to cover those extra miles.  And damn, I like to have a few days to sit inside my air conditioned home and rest before returning to work.  Another plus is that we are unsure how much time if any Mary will get for vacation since she started a new job.

If Mary and I have the time we could stick it out for another day and continue on to Clear Lake and leave for home on Wednesday morning and take two or three days to reach home.  Iowa Falls was the first town to pop up as a place to sleep Wednesday night  This would provide us with an opportunity to ride the Rolling Prairie Trail from Hampton to Coulter.  The next night could be in a town along the High Trestle Trail.

What we are looking for is an adventure.  It's going to be tough to come up with something as cool as last year's Pyramids of Avery but I'll try to find it.  6 days off route and two or three on route.  North, amen, easy to gobble up miles!  Long mileage days are a piece of cake heading to and from the north. Madrid to Breda on 2 hours sleep, 96 miles, done that!  Rockwell City to Des Moines, 113 miles, done that!  But all of that is up for discussion.  Unfortunately at 1 am I cannot have that discussion so I typed out my thoughts so I will remember them.

Good night and God bless!


  1. Yes! We're planning on riding up on the trail that goes North. We'll stay in Waterloo on Saturday night, head to Clear Lake from there on Sunday and meet RAGBRAI in Algona. We'll ride with them to Cresco, then head back to Waterloo Friday night and back to Iowa City on Saturday. I love new biking adventures!

    1. Unless you are familiar with Evansdale/Waterloo/Cedar Falls trails I suggest you get very accurate maps and Google Maps electornics ect. Mary and I lost several hours of our lives trying to get from CF to the CVNT a few summers ago. Locals were not a help and I even used to live there back in the day.