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Reply To: Century Day

Joseph Schlau, February 14, 2022 at 7:38 am

Oh my, this is becoming a game of buzz phrase bingo. Super fired up, you can do it, 100 is only a number. Unfortunately, life is not like an episode of Harry Potter, where reciting a few well chosen magical words brings about real world success.

And while Jim from MN made a very impressive ride in 2019 of 122 miles on his 1973 Motobecane Gran Jubilé, he also pointed out this was an option he selected. Just as his option in 2018 to not ride the extra Karras Loop. This year, RAGBRAI made the decision for you to “Just Do It”, (another corporate buzzphrase).

They not only made the decision for you, but inserted their new idea to “Honor the Founders” into a northern tier ride. The north tier is generally recognized as the shortest, flattest, and easiest route. A route most suited for beginners, families with children, and others who don’t have the capability for other longer and hilly routes.

In the January 29 blog post by Andrea Parrott, and the route announcement party all anyone heard or read was;

“I can’t wait for riders to experience these eight overnight towns hospitality,” said Matt Phippen, new RAGBRAI director of operations. “This is truly a route through small-town Iowa communities that have some much to offer riders. 2022 is going to be a fun route.”
The northern route is roughly 430 miles and nearly 11,900 feet of climb. That makes it the eleventh shortest ride and eighteenth flattest. The year’s ride is dedicated to RAGBRAI co-founder, John Karras, who died in November of last year. Mandatory century, no mention.

On February 8th Andrea Parrott posted in part

This year to honor our founding fathers, John Karras and Donald Kaul, we are going back to the roots . . . So if you are riding RAGBRAI in 2022, you will get to do a century ride! Sound impossible? It is not! On today’s episode, enjoy a Parrott Talk. It still sounds like an option like they always have.

Then on February 11th, 2 weeks after the route announcement party, the blog then confirmed what had been talked about for a few days.

This is the 11th shortest RAGBRAI and 18th shortest (which is it?) in the 49 year history of this ride. However, there is something new this year. In year’s past there was always an optional 100 mile (century) loop available to riders who wanted to accomplish this feat. For cyclists, a century ride is kind of like what a marathon is to runners – it’s a milestone goal many cyclists have on our ‘Bike-it list’. Well, this year the organizers decided to make one of the days a full century distance for everyone, not just optional. I know this has caused some reason for anxiety among some of you who haven’t ever ridden a century. But I’m here to tell you that you can do it.

Yes, with the recitation of the magical buzz words “you can do it” and “Bike-it list” the eleventh shortest and eighteenth flattest ride just became a mandatory century. An now Andrea has her training program all ready to go.

Ashley wrote
I’m honestly pretty disappointed with this decision. I love that there’s been an optional loop, but one of my favorite things about Ragbrai is how diverse it is in terms of athleticism and attitude, and I know a lot of riders aren’t going to be able to do this, or willing to attempt it in the Iowa heat.

I share her sentiments. Particularly for families with kids who registered for an easier north route and now have to figure out a work around in the middle of the week or suck up the cancellation fees. Also for people who may not have the abilities of Jim from MN and have no options.

Those who registered before February 11th unaware of the century mandate are out the $25 cancellation fee if they “just can’t do it”. Those who start on Andrea’s 5 month training program and find themselves way short of the 80 mile single ride goal by July will lose all of their money if they cancel.

I am also disappointed that both Matt and Andrea could not be upfront and honest at the start and have told people at the route announcement party and their first description of the ride on January 29th of their intentions to force a mandatory century. How hard would that have been?

At the very least, you might consider waiving the cancellation fees to those who registered prior to February 11th , who don’t think of 100 as just a number, and have no options.

#1350035 |


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