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Not nearly as hot as 1999?

For those of you who rode 1999, how did this year’s ride compare?

23 Replies

jwsknk, August 13, 2011 at 10:33 am

99 had a bit more tailwind. Hillier at the end. Went through Wadena. Day. 6 on way to decorah. Think that little sticky hill in Davenport was bad? Try one about 1 1/2 miles and picking up melted tar every 20 feet. Worst night ever might have been decorah that year,hot humid no breeze. And we were on top of a hill in a pretty open area.


jaywise65, August 13, 2011 at 1:18 pm

To me this year was no where near as bad as 1999.  It was much hotter in ’99.  It never cooled off at night, and it was impossible to get any sleep.


BillPierce, August 13, 2011 at 1:26 pm

1999 was the absolutely hottest year of all RAGBRAIs. Thursday night in Decorah was hellish; we were camped in a low place that was entirely still and had 93 degree temperatures at midnight. It’s difficult to describe Friday when the heat index was 128, with unimaginable heat coming off the road and the tar intended to patch pavement cracks melting and coating tires and brakes. Supposedly fewer than 2500 riders finished the entire week, with thousands hanging it up and going home early.

This year was just generally hot and humid but never quite record-breaking. It never really let up as it usually does for a day or two. Fortunately most days were relatively short in terms of mileage. Friday may have been the best day because there were some clouds.


RAGRider, August 13, 2011 at 10:19 pm

I agree, 99 was a much hotter and more difficult ride. Much longer days. I don’t remember there being any wind but if we had a tail wind in 99 then that made it even hotter. This year I was disappointed when we turned out of the headwind. Never thought I see the day when I’d be hoping for a slight headwind like we had this year. And, what night in Decorah — up all night, too hot to sleep, sweat dripping off the tips of my fingers as I stood there in the camp ground waiting for dawn. Pretty sure I made weight the next day. Also, pretty sure that was the only ride I didn’t gain weight on.



Pirate Brewer, August 14, 2011 at 4:40 pm

I wonder if there is some way of getting the degree-day measure for the two weeks in 1999 and 2011.  Then we can factor in the hills and wind.


Michrider !!!, August 14, 2011 at 5:07 pm



ts, August 14, 2011 at 8:07 pm

I did a very quick calculation using almanac.com: http://www.almanac.com/weather/history/IA/.  I took the mean and high temps for the weather station nearest each overnight town on the appropriate date for the 1999 and 2011 routes.  I then averaged these temps for the 7 days of the ride.  According to this quick calculation, 2011 was a bit hotter than 1999:

1999 average 81.0, high 90.4
2011 average 83.4, high 91.5


Michrider !!!, August 15, 2011 at 4:54 am



pmac, August 15, 2011 at 8:33 am

According to a study by ISU, 1999 had an average heat index of 91F, (presumably for the 24 hour day) while 2011 had an average heat index of 89F.  Of course, those are only averages and were based on temps in Des Moines.  The study also indicates that 1999 had tailwinds  on average, while 2011 had mostly no wind on average. 

In any event, I think we all agree it was hot!. . 



o2golfpar, August 15, 2011 at 10:00 am

Pmac.  the data is for the the Des Moines airport and is simple averages.  we were 150 miles west of Des moines at the start and 180 east at the end.    Sure felt like a head wind every day to me personally. 

TS  i like the work you did with almanic.com and calculating means.  
Any info on wind direction again sure felt like a head wind every day.   
Hot is better then rain….


Bobthebiker, August 15, 2011 at 10:36 am

I rode in ’99, didn’t ride this year, although I was biking in NE Iowa the week after RAGBRAI. It was hot. And being from the Sunshine State, we know a little about heat.

RAGBRAI 27 was the third longest ever – 520 miles – so add 10 flat miles to every day of this years ride – and that day into Decorah everyone remembers was finished with about 4 miles of gravel rollers, after 80 miles from Waverly. The next day was 82 miles to Manchester, and started with a kick butt hill leaving town. LOTS of people “abandoned” after stage 5. The last day into Bellevue was 75 miles. Three consecutive long hard days in very adverse conditions…

I was in great shape and ummm, a dozen years younger, so I got through that ride jes fine – but like me, RAGBRAI’s demographic is growing older… I doubt there’ll ever be a ride that long (or that difficult) again.


jwsknk, August 15, 2011 at 12:01 pm

Only ran the fan a couple of nights and not all night, Boone was one, dreanched after walking 6-8 blocks from downtown to “home”. Most nights ended up pulling the sheet out. I don’t have AC in the house, so it felt pretty normal for that time of year.


giantron, August 15, 2011 at 2:29 pm

But was 1999 this hot???


Michrider !!!, August 15, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Since that guy is kooling his junk in the Miller tub, I’m glad as H.ELL that I drink Budweiser!!!! 


Biscuits, August 15, 2011 at 5:51 pm

Something is wrong when 93 degrees feels pleasantly cool.


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