Join Us in July - Register Today!

My take of 2022

In spite of having three flats and losing some cash, this was one of the better Ragbrai’s for me. My favorite is still 2018, but that is just personal preference. Here are some of the highs and lows of the 2022.
To start, the weather was about as perfect as anyone could imagine. I had expected to be miserably hot and get rained on several days in a row. In stead we had no rain during the rides and there were several very cool days to start the mornings. In fact riding around Elgin on the last day we went through fog that was so dense I couldn’t see the center line. It was cold and spooky! Oh, by the way, this is a thank you to all who brought rain wear. I think it acted like a talisman to ward off the rain. Yes, I am superstitious.

The tailwinds fooled me On several days I was feeling like I was never in such great shape. My worries about the hills were for nothing. Then we turned North into the wind and I saw what shape I really was in. I didn’t have to walk a hill, but that last day was tough for me. Did anyone note the grade of the hill before Gunder? My Garmin was a silhouette against the Sun, but I’m guessing twelve percent.
Another plus of the week was seeing several friends of previous Ragbrai’s and making new ones. It made me feel like I was home.
The negatives I have of the week were food, roads, and Lansing’s last day logistics.
I look forward to spaghetti dinners, but missed it in the one town I saw posted. I am not a lasagna person. I did get excellent corn, but the only watermelon i saw was mediocre at best.
We had several great roads this year, but highway 4 will stand out in my memory. Why we were on it three days in a row is beyond me. I’ve thought alternate words to “On the Road Again”:
On the 4 again,
Just can’t stand to ride the 4 again.
All the bumps and cracks are hurting my behind
Aren’t there other roads that we could find?

The last day was awkward at Lansing. Space seemed to be a premium in Lansing, so luggage from the truck had to be stacked. Normally it can be spread out. Then we had to load our bags onto a school bus and follow it on bikes to the parking area. Getting out of parking was not clearly marked, so people were yelling at me for being in the bus lane. We were not allowed to drive back into town, but that was OK. I just wanted to get going.

Weird things.
This year will stand out as the year of the horse. I am surprised that no one has mentioned it yet. I didn’t see it, but I heard near first hand accounts. A horse ran across the route around 6:30 the first day. The full road of cyclists had to come to a fast stop. No one was injured, but a hand cycle was damaged by the horse. Does anyone know what happened to the horse?

In Lansing before the ride, a siren went off. It sounded like a noon test, but it went on for several minutes. I learned from locals that it was the call to volunteer firefighters of a fire.

16 Replies

Joseph Schlau, August 14, 2022 at 4:55 pm

Did anyone note the grade of the hill before Gunder? My Garmin was a silhouette against the Sun, but I’m guessing twelve percent.

Next time I have my Garmin on I can load the course. It will show me the profile and grade. Was pretty good but I don’t remember 12%. Will look it up.


LawnchairMan, August 14, 2022 at 7:48 pm

Gradient is one of the stats I have on my screens, but I only see that during my ride. Is this a feature of other models, or is it that I just can’t find it? I use a Garmin 520.
I am guessing the 12% because I did see 9% on the first day and thought Day Seven was steeper.


Joseph Schlau, August 15, 2022 at 7:20 am

Hill 1 Gunder max grade 7.6% (in the last half mile)
Average 4%
Distance 2.12 miles
Elevation gain 459 feet

If you send a private message with an email I can forward the screenshots


LawnchairMan, August 15, 2022 at 9:58 am

Thank you Joseph.


Danny Edens, August 23, 2022 at 12:55 am

My GPS a Coopspo, not sure how actuate it is but I did calibrate it before the ride said 9% for day 7 and 10% for day 1.
I agree the watermelon was mediocre at best also. :)


LawnchairMan, August 23, 2022 at 12:37 pm

Thank you for your stats. It’s interesting that you got a higher reading for Day One than Seven. I would have sworn that Day Seven was steeper.

I have learned that my Garmin continuously records and charts distance and elevation, so I can calculate the grade after my rides. Even though I saw a 9% during the ride on Day One, the steepest I calculate is 7.3%. It’s a bit disappointing and confusing. If Garmin records both elevation and distance, why doesn’t it show the correct grade during the ride? I have been basing my climbs on what I see during the ride. Now I have to adjust my concept of a 10% grade. When I look at the grade on Ride With GPS I will have to add three or four points to translate it to what I see on my Garmin.

This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by LawnchairMan.


Joseph Schlau, August 25, 2022 at 12:18 pm

On the Ride with GPS help site, there is an elegant and detailed explanation of why there is often a discrepancy between the elevation you see on a route you create and what you instantly read off your GPS while you are actually following the route.

GPS is highly accurate in the horizontal plane, but very poor in the vertical. This is due to the angle between the line of site to the various GPS satellites, and the ground. Small errors result in big differences in height, but not big differences in location on the earth.

This reply was modified 1 year, 7 months ago by Joseph Schlau.


LawnchairMan, August 25, 2022 at 9:53 pm

Hi Joseph,
Thank you for trying to explain the difference in grade on Ride with GPS to that of my Garmin device. I think we talked about this before, so I had looked at that Map with GPS’s explanation and understand some of it. It sounds like my Garmin uses barometric measurements during my rides, where GPS relies on previously collected data of the route. My current confusion is that I assume the barometric data that I see during my ride is used to produce the charts I see after the ride on Garmin Connect. I suspect, now, that Garmin Connect also uses prerecorded data of my route since it agrees closely with Ride with GPS.

I am also a bit confused where, as you quote, “GPS is . . . very poor in the vertical plane.” That is why I had thought my Garmin’s barometric data was more reliable. I do see grade differences when I ride the same route on different days. I attribute this to daily atmospheric pressure differences. So I know my Garmin is not perfect, but the differences seem small to me. I want to believe I am climbing steeper hills, so I prefer to believe my Garmin. In the end, what matters is how to correlate Ride with GPS data into how I train.


Joseph Schlau, August 26, 2022 at 4:42 am

The quote was off the same RWGPS help page. I’m reading off my desktop PC.

For example, I created a 1.2 mile route up Potter Hill Road between Graf Road and Humke Road. Looking at the climb section it shows a max grade of 12.2% at just about the .8 mile mark.

No matter what the instant reading I saw on the GPS, Potter’s Hill doesn’t change. The article stated that even small errors on the height of the GPS has significant effect on the true reading. Trees, the rock walls of the road cut, and any number of atmospheric conditions can effect the height calculation.

Bike GPS units are consumer grade navigation devices. They don’t have the accuracy of a GPS unit used by surveyors or military. The other day I turned on the Garmin for a ride. In the time from the activation to the auto pause, the bike magically moved 7 feet while stationary.

Garmins are good for general navigation purposes but for precise measurements of height I defer to the previous survey information data base for grade information.

If Dubuque and Potters Hill is in fact included in the 2023 route as speculated, I already know the grade.


LawnchairMan, August 26, 2022 at 11:13 am

Perhaps I wasn’t clear. I do understand that Garmin Connect and Ride with GPS are more accurate in showing grade. It’s just that after I do a tough climb I’d prefer to say I conquered a 9% rather than 4 or 5%. To train for Potter’s Hill, though, I would have to be able to do a hill that says 17% on my Garmin. No matter which system I use, climbing Potter’s Hill would be an accomplishment for me.


Thom M, September 13, 2022 at 7:59 am

That horse was really wide-eyed and scared witless by the bikes. We rode past it all the way to the right in the right lane and it was in the left lane moving super-erratically. There didn’t seem to be an owner or care-taker trying to chase or catch it. Given that at that point I was less than a mile into my first RAGBRAI, I just chalked it up to Iowa and thought “what did I sign up for….”


cannontandem, September 18, 2022 at 10:12 am

I use US Geological maps if I want to know a grade. 6″ on the map equals 5000′ on land. Based on that the max. grade on Potter hill is about 365′ long and 50′ high or about 13.7%. The main climb is 270′ in 2550′ (10.6%) and the overall climb is 390′ in 4635′ (8.4%). There is another 10′ at the top that is very shallow so the overall climb is 400′. The max. grade this year was about 6.7% on the last day so very easy compared to Potter hill.


Joseph Schlau, September 18, 2022 at 2:19 pm

Are you using a paper map?


cannontandem, September 19, 2022 at 9:06 am

I am using a electronic map from


Tom Hotle, September 20, 2022 at 11:29 am

Strava has Potter Hill at 96m elevation gain in 1.15 km for 8.3% ave grade.


Viewing 15 replies - 1 through 15 (of 16 total)

You must be logged in to reply to this topic.


RAGBRAI L – 2023




Gatherings & Meetings

Lost and Found


Clubs, Teams & Charters