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RAGBRAI decision April 15

From today’s Register, a decision about RAGBRAI 2020 will be made April 15.


Also…Andrea Parrott is back.

95 Replies

mootsman, April 15, 2020 at 9:16 am

Kenh: They just announced they are starting an analysis using the new antibody test of 10,000 people chosen to reflect the population. All participants must have not been previously tested. Then using statistical analysis estimate the actual number of untested people who have had the virus in the US.


Papa T, April 15, 2020 at 9:20 am

mootsman: Who are “They”


Jboz, April 15, 2020 at 1:32 pm

OK, probably a dumb question here…but if the NBA and Major League Baseball (with literally $ billions at stake and logistics far more complex than RAGBRAI) can cancel the remainder of a season, or the start of one with almost no notice, why does RAGBRAI need to make a decision by April 20th? And if major universities can pivot on a dime and send students home to finish semesters in virtual classrooms, why can’t RAGBRAI just wait a bit longer?

Seems to me that “wait and see” with a decision in mid June is the most logical strategy. I totally understand that people (us riders) make their plans well in advance, but everybody’s plans have been turned upside down. I myself had to cancel a vacation to Costa Rica on very short notice. It sucked because I was really looking forward to it, but I understood. So did everyone who had important plans ripped out from under them. I am pretty sure cyclists would understand if RAGBRAI decided to cancel 30 days before the ride. And towns need to plan (and spend), but they can be prudent about it by building in contengency planning and a good exit strategy. I would even support a GoFundMe effort to help towns recoup their losses from losing RAGBRAI late in the planning stage…and I bet I would not be alone.


David, April 15, 2020 at 1:39 pm

Because the NBA and MLB make lots of money for themselves and the related businesses. RAGBRAI exists due to the generosity of the communities, fundraising and a bunch of volunteers.

Also, it is a bit different to pivot on a dime and shut something down than it is to host a massive event. Especially since RAGBRAI is a one-off massive event for the hosts instead of a standard process for those organizations.

I really don’t think it is the concern of riders and their plans that are much relevant to this decision. It is all about the impact on the hosting communities and the drop-dead date for that infrastructure. If RAGBRAI riders truly paid for themselves upfront, then it might be different. But our fees don’t cover much of anything directly.


mootsman, April 15, 2020 at 1:49 pm

[quote quote=1317884]mootsman: Who are “They”[/quote]

They are the NIH (National Institute of Health). They are looking for volunteers to participate that have not been tested and have shown no symptoms. I’m guessing they are filling slots based on the needs to fill specific demographics for a statistically valid analysis. If you want to volunteer the email address to volunteer is: clinicalstudiesunit@nih.gov


cheymtn70, April 15, 2020 at 3:11 pm

The logistics involved in the execution of RAGBRAI are mind boggling. A 30 day cancellation window is unrealistic. If there is no effective vaccine by Spring 2021, we can kiss RAGBRAI good bye until 2022. (Look at all the cancellation announcements coming out of the sport’s world … they’re now proposing spectatorless events.How about a riderless RAGBRAI?) I’m not happy to say that, but it’s the truth. I’m just as unhappy as anyone to think that there won’t be a RAGBRAI this year.


Brian Reff, April 15, 2020 at 3:44 pm

Couple of thoughts here!
The here first is that the Powers that control Ragbrai are playing for more time while they figure out the logistics of handling the processes when they cancel. Do they send everyone the merchandise they ordered and when? How do they refund money? How do they offer to let you register for next year without returning your money? How much money is this really going to cost the RAGBRAI Operation?
The second thought is an evil one, but probably too close to the truth for RAGBRAI to admit! They are waiting for Iowa’s Ride to cancel before they do! They can not afford to fold and lose face! This is no different than a high stakes poker game! Come to think about it, it is!


Randall Murphy, April 15, 2020 at 4:55 pm

Define ‘lose face’. Do you want to be part of the ride that basically says that WE want to come and ride and WE have already made our plans so WE expect you to get ready for us and put on this ride? Or do you want to be part of a ride that says I really, really do want to come and visit your town but with the serious risk you (and us) I would rather that we come next year. I’ll see you then. Please don’t misunderstand me because this year should be my sixteenth ride and I’ve been looking forward to it since I got home last year. I very much want it to happen but we are not entitled to do this ride. A lot of volunteer hours go into making this ride a success and given the current pandemic if the extra burden of organizing it is too much to bear that we should respect the decision and wait until next year. Graciously. It’s their (the town’s) decision to make and I hope/believe that the Register understands that. Just my opinion. I’ll shut up now.


Uncle Kraig, April 15, 2020 at 8:50 pm

If there is no effective vaccine by Spring 2021, we can kiss RAGBRAI good bye until 2022.

Interesting seeing this quote, I thought I might be the only one. I had this conversation with someone today regarding the cancellation of RAGBRAI 2021. And, I agree that without a vaccine by next Easter (330 million doses of it too) there will be no RAGBRAI next year either. Riding the same route as was supposed to be ridden this year will help a bit as they will have had a lot longer to make plans, back-up plans, etc but the drop dead for an available vaccine is absolutely no later than Memorial day next year or we will be home again next July as well as this July :(


SFC JKL 2, April 15, 2020 at 11:41 pm

The latest and greatest said this will be over in June. Too early to pull the plug.


LawnchairMan, April 16, 2020 at 12:34 am

Saying a guy with influenza died because he stopped breathing is like a murderer saying he didn’t kill the man, the bullet did.


ThomasNye, April 16, 2020 at 9:10 am

This mental exercise is similar to the NCAA March Madness tournament debacle. In that case it was build it and they will NOT come for the enlightened universities that forced their hands to make the right decision. It is inhumane to put dollars over lives.

Even though the probability of a compromised version of RAGBRAI 2020 happening is infinitesimally small, what will the RAGBRAI officials do when the pass-thru towns that care about the lives of their citizens, especially those in care facilities, place blockades at their city limits?


KenH, April 16, 2020 at 9:51 am

There are a number of hopeful things that are happening right now but there is little hope that they will be in place in time to affect the RAGBRAI 2020 decision. There are vaccines that are ready for testing, there are treatments that have been approved for use with apparently mixed results, and there are antibody tests coming out for testing to determine their accuracy. There is more hope that these things will help the 2021 ride go forward. The treatment and tests could be approved relatively quickly. A vaccine cannot be tested to the normal requirements by 2021 but under the circumstances an accelerated test procedure could be approved.

I am confident that the RAGBRAI leadership team will make a good decision for all of us. Under the circumstances it will be impossible for them to make a perfect decision except by luck. Perfect decisions can only be made based on perfect information and the information we have right now is far from perfect. But they can and will make a good decision. The fact that they seem to have delayed the decision from yesterday until Monday seems to say that something is happening that they wanted to take a better look at.

Iowa’s Ride must be in a very hard place right now. I assume they need to have a ride this year for financial reasons. They had a lot of promises of support from Iowa businesses that might now have difficulty meeting those commitments. I don’t know that IR has any impact on the RAGBRAI decision makers. But, I expect IR to make their decision as late as they can and to favor a delay over a cancellation if at all possible. They may be facing financial ruin if IR does not come off this year as scheduled. Of course it is entirely possible that the RAGBRAI decision delay has come about due to negotiations between the two rides to cooperate in a way to hold both.

I guess we will hear something on Monday, perhaps only another delay….


Jboz, April 16, 2020 at 6:43 pm

[quote quote=1317966]It is inhumane to put dollars over lives.[/quote]

This seems like an overly simplistic binary choice. Certainly worthy of a bumper sticker, but is this applicable in real life? If we can save one life, but shut down an economy in the process, would that be worth it?


ESchiers, April 17, 2020 at 8:01 am

We know CV kills, but so do so many other things. Suppressing the economy has its own risk of death. If Ragbrai does not happen, how many businesses and non-profit groups will die along with the financial stability those businesses supply to their communities? Ragbrai is more than a bike ride to the state of Iowa, it is a major economic driver.


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