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Century Day

Well, this could be interesting. We have a century day scheduled for Wednesday between Emmetsburg and Mason City. I have never seen stats for number of riders who chose the add the century loop in past years, but I know the pack thins out considerably on those ‘extra’ miles. How will this pan out I wonder? Lots of sagging the last 30 miles of that day I imagine, and how will that affect the pass thru towns towards the end of that day?

73 Replies

Rob Fuller, February 10, 2022 at 5:59 pm

The last miles of the century loop can be very desolate being among distanced cycling zombies. As I recall, very little sagging going on. Just a lot of you, your thoughts, and your bike of course. 2021 was special with Mr. Karras handing out century patches at a shady spot. Perhaps the best reward is merging back into the flow after completing the loop thinking “Yeaaah, I’m tired – but I’m gonna do it!” (while people pass you in those last miles). I say go for it!


HelenP, February 10, 2022 at 6:40 pm

Looks like the route might be
<80 mi via US-18 E straight east, or
Century loop of 100 miles with (these):

(Forest City,
Mason City,


buckleyt4117, February 10, 2022 at 7:20 pm

Correct me if I am wrong, but it is my understanding that the century loop is not optional this year – it is part of the route. 100 miles on Wednesday.


Scott Barber, February 10, 2022 at 11:55 pm

No biggie. Positive thinking. We will crush the century and have fun doing it! Come on. Let’s do it!


garywilk, February 11, 2022 at 7:14 am

About 10 years ago it was record heat and hilly. They sent several people to the hospital for heat related issues. First time I learned about pickle juice but my electrolyte’s were still messed up. By the time I was done, I went through fourteen 22 oz bottles of water and 3 pints of beer. The question is will it be 130 mile century or what will it really. I think they will have to have a loop of some type to get a patch but they may just give a patch to everyone because of Karras memorial and likely everyone will do the 100.


montestaples, February 11, 2022 at 10:15 am

There is no Karras/Century Loop this year. The Century will be the route, like it was many years ago before the optional Karras Loop was established. No big deal for all the riders that have done the Loop every year but maybe a problem for some. The loop would not be the same without the opportunity to get a picture shaking hands with John Karras. We still ride in your honor. Rest in peace John.


Uncle Kraig, February 11, 2022 at 12:17 pm

I’ve never ridden the Karras Loop but look forward to the challenge of a “mandatory” century this year. Last year, I ended up with 94 miles on day one to Sac City. And in 2019, I think I had 93 into Centerville. Both were long days for me but very doable. What’s another 10 or so :) Ironically, I had a blast that night in Centerville, one of the best nights of the ride. However last year, I really needed to get to bed quickly in Sac City. I was a party pooper to some friends that met me there.

This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Uncle Kraig.


Rob Fuller, February 11, 2022 at 1:24 pm

Everyone doing the century will be inspirational. Hopefully there will be a grandstand at the finish (right next to a shaded beer garden).


Joseph Schlau, February 11, 2022 at 4:34 pm

Now Wednesday is the obvious choice for the Karras Loop, which is not always 100 miles. Some years more, some less. The distance between Emmetsburg and Mason City is about 80 miles. If folks are left with the idea that Wednesday is going to be a forced century, then I’m thinking many are not even going to register or bail out.

Ragbrai’s official description of the ride gives the mileage as roughly 430 and elevation roughly 11,900. This is what Matt Phippen wrote.

“The 2022 Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, which will take place from July 23 to 30, will start in Sergeant Bluff and end in Lansing. In between, riders will overnight in, Ida Grove, Pocahontas, Emmetsburg, Mason City, Charles City, and West Union.”
“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.”

Now the debate about the forced century seems to stem from an article by Philip Joens in the DesMoines Register published on January 27 10:00 pm, (1 day prior to the route announcement party).

If you add up all the miles he published it comes out to 452.3 miles 12,403 climb which is 22.3 miles greater than the official Matt Phippen description of 430 on the official Ragbrai site. In other words, the reporter may have been quoting the Karras Loop mileage in error. Would not be the first time a DMR reporter got everyone on Ragbrai all upset.

Here is the mileages and elevations from the Register Story.

55.8 Ida Grove 2637
77.1 Pocahontas 1752
56 Emmetsburg 697
100 Mason City 1367 ????
57.5 Charles City 1568
52.8 West Union 1730
53.1 Lansing 2652 


hnschipper, February 11, 2022 at 6:07 pm

This is a post from RAGBRAI on their Facebook page 3 days ago:

Did you know back in the early years of RAGBRAI, riding a 100 mile day was part of the planned route each year? This year to honor our founding fathers, John Karras and Donald Kaul, we are going back to the roots they created almost 50 years ago. So if you are riding RAGBRAI in 2022, you will get to do a century ride! Tune in to the JustGoBike Podcast for more!

If you listen to that podcast it references, Andrea Parrott talks about the 100 mile day (non-optional, 100 miles with no loop day.) There is no Karras loop this year. The 100 mile day is a regular day ok the ride without the loop.


Uncle Kraig, February 11, 2022 at 7:58 pm

I’m not sure why there seems to be continuing confusion on this. It has been clarified, clearly, by RAGBRAI staff. Wednesday is a Century day. It is not an optional century loop. The days ride for all riders is 100+ miles, period. See you all in July!

This reply was modified 2 years, 3 months ago by Uncle Kraig.


Joseph Schlau, February 11, 2022 at 8:35 pm

It was published today in the blog section. 430 miles not 453 like the DMR published. But still a 100 mile planned route for everyone.


dalebob, February 11, 2022 at 10:09 pm

That was my original point, that Wednesday will be a 100 mile day, where your choice will be ride 100 or sag. I am wondering how that will affect the final pass thru towns, as the number of riders will certainly be lighter (by how much?) towards the end of that day. I guess we will find out. I will start early, ride steady and enjoy the company.


Joseph Schlau, February 12, 2022 at 4:46 am

The only people that are really stuck with a ride/sag decision will be single riders who have no support vehicle or team to move them up the route to another start location or sag. Some charters have limited sag service. But seeing this as an unusual day, may schedule special transportation for their paying customers to the meeting town who want to cut the miles or sag the entire day.

One year, a family medical problem required me to drive out to RAGBRAI and meet my team on day 2. I had no problem finding one or more team members who wanted to sag the entire day or split the ride by parking the car in the meeting town. I see RAGBRAI now allows riders who are not part of an official team to bring a support vehicle. This may have unintended consequences of increasing cars and traffic. The 100 mile day may prompt individual riders who otherwise would not consider bringing a car to create an informal car pool. This forum or other social media is an ideal means to make those connections.

The basic mileage to Charles City is around 80. RAGBRAI will need to adjust the route north and south to add 20 miles. Once the route is posted in a few weeks, free apps like Ride with GPS will show you bike friendly routes to bypass portions of the route and cut miles. The Heatmap function of these apps show you what roads are frequently used by locals and point you to a preferred route. I would not be surprised to see a publicly posted route of this type to appear on RWGPS.

As to your question on how it may hurt through towns, just considering the above options riders may use to shorten or bypass the ride it is going to cut customers and limit their stays. The roadside operations with quick turnaround may be the winners.

RAGBRAI has now given people plenty of notice of what’s coming. Riders can train up for the century or if physical limitations or children prevents them from riding 100 miles, they consider other options. As riders roll into Charles City, no one is going to know and few will care if the riders rode all of the mandatory 100 miles. As the past 2 years have shown, mandates have their limitations and unintended consequences.


Joseph Schlau, February 12, 2022 at 9:15 am

Mason City not Charles City


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