2021 Gravel Day Route: Actual Gravel or Beach Sand (like 2018)?

I first rode the Gravel Day in 2018 and I was dismayed that the roadway seemed more like a singletrack of hardpack through a field of dirty beach sand. I figured my definition of “gravel” differed from Iowa’s. I had my fat bike that year, so I was able to ride through the soft stuff when necessary. I will not have a fat bike this year.

What is the type of gravel road on this year’s routes?

P.S. +1 for the webmaster to add a search function to the forums. Thanks!

10 Replies

Jonathan Jones, June 10, 2021 at 12:54 pm

You’re in luck! They just talked about this on the pre-ride podcast.

Day 3 pre-ride

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hnschipper, June 10, 2021 at 1:33 pm

I’ll add to that they only talk about the first half of the gravel route because they did not ride the second half on the pre-ride. They skipped the second half for Mr. Pork Chop (who was on the regular route.)

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Jonathan Jones, June 10, 2021 at 1:45 pm

True. At least the person who spoke about it didn’t ride it.

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KenH, June 15, 2021 at 10:05 am

The podcast is generally excellent but it and the written blog have totally failed the gravel riders. We know that the first 15 miles have a varied surface with some sand and rolling hills. End of report.

The 2018 loop was unlike any on RAGBRAI before it. We were basically riding on loose Loess (aka sand) with some nasty hills. I don’t think we will be in an area like that by day three. In another podcast earlier this year Deiter recommended a mountain or gravel bike. I don’t know if that says anything about the last 40 miles of gravel or not.

This reply was modified 3 months, 1 week ago by KenH.

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John Burnham, June 15, 2021 at 12:26 pm

I’ve got a cross bike and I’m bringing along 40mm gravel tires, so I’m thinking that will work.

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KenH, June 16, 2021 at 10:39 am

You will be well equipped for the gravel day and the whole week!

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tdubya500, June 16, 2021 at 12:48 pm

I rode that ’18 gravel on 23mm tires, it was rough. I was sure I was gonna wreck the whole time but the wreck never came.
The gravel roads in 16, 17, and 19 were all fine. 19 even in the rain wasn’t bad… I’m sure it’ll be more like those.
My big question is how we’ll hit up the craft beer bus from the gravel. Don’t want to ride upstream but don’t want to miss a beer stop either.

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John Burnham, June 16, 2021 at 4:12 pm

I was just thinking about the craft beer tent! They are still looking for a spot, and they appear to be focused on a small stretch east of Webster City: “DAY 3 -The first beer tent is looking for a farmyard on D25 (220th St) East of Webster City, up Hwy 69 and a few miles of D20 across the interstate. (190th St).” http://www.iowacraftbeertent.com/RAGBRAI.php

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Ian Wagreich, June 22, 2021 at 11:55 am

If anyone has any insights into the 2nd half of the gravel ride, share away. The photos of the first half in the Des Moines Register from the route inspection ride make the first half seem pretty tame but I don’t know if any of them rode the 2nd half. Also, are there expected to be any amenities at all on the 2nd half of the gravel route?

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KenH, June 22, 2021 at 1:13 pm

The podcast has said there will be a couple of vendors on the second half. Their promise, not mine!

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