Amiable Split Option?

Instead of head to head, how about a friendly split? TJ stays away from RAGBRAI week and gets the 3 RAGBRAI training rides and develops a new week long ride in August. A great option would be a week long loop ride, starting and ending in the same town. Makes logistics for riders easy and can focus on different quadrants of Iowa. It can even dip into neighboring States like the TDF does to other countries. Why copy RAGBRAI when you can offer something unique? A friendly split option.

28 Replies

mootsman, November 2, 2019 at 9:00 am

There might be an opening yet from a 3rd party. If the ISP says no to 2 rides at once, it could force the issue. Sure TJ has his ISP contacts but now that everyone knows what’s going on the DMR I’m sure has their contacts getting involved now also.


Larry Klaaren, November 2, 2019 at 10:05 am

Only three charters have stated which ride they will support at this time. There are several other charters that are in a “wait and see” mode and some of those are fully capable of creating their own ride on a different date if one of these two seems to be not working out.


Joseph Schlau, November 2, 2019 at 10:20 am

Ragbrai already has the commitment for Iowa State Patrol coverage. This was reported on October 16th in a DMR story. This is a year to year agreement which TJ, as former director, probably arranged. The arrangement had the state splitting costs 50/50 with Ragbrai.

It is TJ who must secure an additional commitment from them. He reported on his FAQ section that he talked with ISP and seems hopeful only because they did not say no. Yet.

Just because TJ has contacts does not mean he can magically leverage the ISP to his ride. The emergency that TJ created by his sudden and very public departure along with his insistence on holding his ride the same week as Ragbrai is probably not being viewed by ISP as their emergency which they are obligated to resolve.

TJ would expect the same 50/50 split which would double the costs to the State of Iowa, something I would not want to see if I lived there. State funds, going to satisfy the ego of a disgruntled ex-employees so he could destroy Ragbrai, I think many taxpayers would say no.

Now to us, Ragbrai is a given. It is a well known event that many Iowans support. But not all Iowans. Faced with the prospect of 2 cross state rides, neither of which would be as big as the single ride, disrupting twice the traffic patterns and costing the state twice as much, many friendly Iowans are going to say enough of this.

It is shameful that TJ has put ISP in the middle and they will make their decision based on capability to provide personnel without cutting services to the rest of the state.

DMR at this point is watching and waiting on ISP. If ISP says no to TJ, Ragbrai wins.

The other option that DMR has is legal action. They left the door open to that option in their early statements. It remains to be seen. DMR and their parent corporation has deeper pockets and could deplete TJ’s rider registration funds faster than they come in.

Oh yes, if TJ cannot get ISP approval and now has to change the dates, those who already registered, well you only get a 75% refund. TJ after all has a staff to pay. Starting with himself.


groundedsteve, November 2, 2019 at 2:23 pm

What about same days, same route, different wristbands? The entertainment is not the DMR or TJ it’s the ride.


Joseph Schlau, November 2, 2019 at 4:01 pm


The first thing this would require is the amiable cooperation of both sides. Not likely under the circumstances.

In the event the Iowa State Patrol says no to IR to providing traffic coverage the same week, why would Ragbrai be in any mood to let TJ worm his way in to their ride and walk off with part of their profits while Ragbrai did all the heavy lifting. It would be like inviting Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong group back again.

The next thing I can think of is housing. Not every rider stays at a campground, some teams stay in private housing. If IR announced their overnight towns and the housing committee for each town starts matching teams with housing, then virtually all the housing will be taken by the time that Ragbrai even announces their overnight towns. Any decision to “share” the route makes the entire process of the route announcement party pointless. Another Ragbrai tradition destroyed.

I don’t know whether Ragbrai gets any portion of profits from vendors. If so, how would this split be made. Based on claimed numbers?, lots of room for fraud here.

Then there is the issue of insurance. Ragbrai carries liability insurance based on a set number of riders allowed through the lottery and daily wristbands. TJ’s Ride has no limit, so any number of riders could have an IR wristband and swell the ride beyond safe limits. Ragbrai marks and inspects the route and provides sag services. Are we going to have 2 sets of road services now.

The last thing is rider attitudes. TJ has done a great job of driving a wedge between factions. Looking at some of the comments on the forums, there are now 2 distinct camps. Putting these groups on the same route is bound to unleash the darker side of some, (fueled by the abundant alcohol available). Even if it is a fractional percentage, it is still a point of trouble.

No, Ragbrai does not need TJ, it is more likely that if TJ’s numbers don’t pan out or he is told no by ISP he will desperately need Ragbrai.


KenH, November 2, 2019 at 4:21 pm

The option to have the two rides share the same route next year is the best option for all involved, in my opinion. It produces the least disruption to everything and it will maintain the feel of RAGBRAI’s past for the most part. It would also give everyone an extra year to work out the best options going forward. The new RAGBRAI director should most likely be in place by then to represent the interests of the RAGBRAI nation (ie, us) and the Register. Same days, same route, different wristbands is a great option. I hope that the various officials in Iowa start to press for this or even dictate it.

There is perhaps too little time to do anything else although there are other sensible alternatives that could be pursued if there was more time available and the Register is hampered by not having a ride director in place at the moment. TJ should be willing to do at least this given that he has completely broken faith with the tradition of the outgoing RAGBRAI director staying in place to train the new one and with the RAGBRAI nation to whom he owes so very, very much. His precipitous departure and creation of a competing ride has created far more problems than he has ever had to deal with in his 16 years at the helm. He may have a lot more Iowa experience than any potential replacement but even he has NO experience with THIS.


mootsman, November 2, 2019 at 6:08 pm

Not sure 2 on the same route would work for IR as it reduces it to the same status as a RAGBRAI charter. RAGBRAI would still require riders to register for it on the RAGBRAI route. And riders using the other rides services would be a headache.


Sandaltan ., November 2, 2019 at 7:15 pm

“….like inviting Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong group back again”
I expect to see Lance on Iowa’s Ride.



Ken Reed, November 3, 2019 at 10:56 am

[quote quote=1312520]“….like inviting Lance Armstrong and his Livestrong group back again”
I expect to see Lance on Iowa’s Ride.

RIDE RIGHT[/quote]

I don’t think we will see Lance on RAGBRAI or whatever ride in July. His Tour de France podcast made him a ton of cash last year so I think he’s going to stick to that


jelly0317, November 7, 2019 at 11:18 am

The TdF ends on the first day of RAGBRAI/IR, so Lance would have plenty of time to participate.


Ken Reed, November 7, 2019 at 11:47 am

[quote quote=1312679]The TdF ends on the first day of RAGBRAI/IR, so Lance would have plenty of time to participate.[/quote]

It looks like it’s starting a week earlier than last year. I’m sure we will see him on RAGBRAI then.


Larry Klaaren, November 7, 2019 at 12:48 pm

The Tour De France is starting a week early to allow riders to ride in a road race at the Olympics on July 25.


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