There is one 36-mile day, and one 41-mile day, but plenty of days over 60 miles—one over 70 and several close to 70.
The 2014 RAGBRAI route, announced Jan. 25 in Des Moines, is not designed to be the most challenging route. Here is how the RAGBRAI.com blog describes it:
“This year’s route is remarkable for its ease, length and pitch. At 418 miles and with 11,316 feet of climb, it is the third-shortest and second-flattest route in history. There has only been one route since RAGBRAI began in 1973 that was less difficult by those criteria.”A few comments on the blog indicate some disappointment from some hardy bikers, some desire for more miles. I’ll admit that if I’m a driver on a half day of one those short days, it would feel decidedly odd to ride 16 miles or so and be done for the day.
Still, it’s RAGBRAI. There are over 400 miles and some 11,315 feet of climb. Even the flat northern lands of Iowa are not all flat, as we bikers will find this summer.
Well, Team Joe seems to be on the rebound. We touched base New Year’s Day, and it seems all of the 2013 members are thinking RAGBRAI. We even have some potential new members, too.
We’ll see who comes along.
Despite being mostly wrong on the cities (although I did choose a northern route, and had Mason City and Waverly in mind), I am not unhappy with RAGBRAI 2014. I hope the weather is fine and the winds benign. I hope there are few flats and spills.
And, yes, as the winter wind howls outside, as the university I work with is starting late tomorrow, as I've just ordered some flowers for spring planting—yes, it’s pleasant to look ahead and dream of summer, partly spent in the saddle.
RAGBRAI! Time to start training. As soon as the blizzard is over.