The Des Moines Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa turns 40 this year.
The route crisscrosses the state for 471 miles, organizers announced Saturday night. The route is Sioux Center to Cherokee to Lake View to Webster City to Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids to Anamosa and, finally, to Clinton. (You can check out a map of the route here)
"This is what RAGBRAI is all about," said T.J. Juskiewicz, the director or RAGBRAI.
The ride is set for July 22 to 28. It connects a mix of the small and large communities of Iowa this year, Juskiewicz said.
RAGBRAI is billed as the largest, longest, oldest statewide non-competitive bicycle ride around. It starts at the end of July on the Missouri River and ends seven days later on the Mississippi River.
For a town like Cedar Rapids, RAGBRAI 40 means a lot. The city is still recovering from flood damage in 2008.
“It gives us a chance to show how far we’ve come,” said Quinn Pettifer, of the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance.
Pettifer and about 250 others watched as the RAGBRAI 2012 route was announced at Veterans Auditorium on Saturday. The annoucement party followed the Iowa Bicycle Coalition's bike summit and expo at the same location earlier in the day.
For some, the party was bittersweet. Well, sort of.
Sue Armour, a member of Visit Mason City, came to Des Moines hoping to leave with a RAGBRAI stop. She didn't get it, but she says at least she gets to ride.
"It's such a great event. We didn't get it this year, but we will go for next year," she said.
Brian Horsfall, 39, of Waukee, stood up on the stage at Veterans Auditorium holding up the placard declaring the stops. Horsfall rides with a group of 13- to 16-year olds coming from a cross-section of backgrounds.
Like Horsfall, the children learn an affinity for RAGBRAI, he said.
Whenever they start, they always finish.
"We always finish," he said.
Here are more details about RAGBRAI 40.
- Sunday, July 22: Sioux Center to Cherokee, 1,583 feet of climb and 54.4 miles.
- Monday, July 23: Cherokee to Lake View, 2,062 feet of climb and 62 miles.
- Tuesday, July 24: Lake View to Webster City, 1724 feet of climb and 81.2 miles.
- Wednesday, July 25: Webster City to Marshalltown, 2,018 feet of climb and 77.1 miles.
- Thursday, July 26: Marshalltown to Cedar Rapids, 3,576 feet of climb and 84.8 miles.
- Friday, July 27: Cedar Rapids to Anamosa, 2,272 feet of climb and 42.2 miles.
- Saturday, July 28: Anamosa to Clinton, 2,890 feet of climb and 69.4 miles.
At 471.1 total miles, it is the 18th shortest route in history.
With a total climb of 16,125 feet, it is the 11th flattest route in history.