Sunday's Gravel Loop & Monday's Karras Loop

Gravel Loop – 81.8 Miles 1,941 Feet of Climb
Karras Loop – 101.3 Miles 2,087 Feet of Climb

Total 183.1 Miles 4,028 Feet of Climb.
A fun first two days!!!

Who’s In??? I am!!

32 Replies

W Fanning, March 14, 2017 at 1:24 pm

I plan on doing both.. plus I plan to bike ride to Hararden on Saturday.. I’m coming to Iowa to do my favorite 2 things.. bike ride & meet people.. see you in Orange City…


John Fontaine, March 15, 2017 at 5:23 am

See you out there! I am gonna try it.


flyinbrian, March 16, 2017 at 2:05 pm

Always, have to collect those little patches. Also, this ride is really the second shortest ever without the loops.


Anonymous, March 18, 2017 at 9:19 pm

This will be my first RAGBRAI (at age 65), so I was happy to realize it would be one of the shortest. My initial reaction was that I was not interested in making any days longer, especially not the first day or the second.

On the other hand, I am training (out yesterday for 16km [10mi] even though below freezing) and hope to be in good shape by July.

Just glad I can decide toward the end of each day, and not at the beginning. So, a definitive MAYBE.


Curtis Moore, March 19, 2017 at 2:49 pm

I’ll be doing both. The tires and wheels I’m using should handle the gravel fine…I hope…while giving me some smooth riding and speed on the regular roads.


Rob Black, March 26, 2017 at 12:54 pm

Yes !! I’m in , bringing gravel bike along with my road bike , FUN AWAITS !!


Barin Beard, March 26, 2017 at 9:10 pm

I plan on doing them.


mootsman, March 27, 2017 at 8:37 am

Bruce W.,

Don’t sell yourself short either on the loop days. Depends on where you are now and how much riding in previous years you typically do. Try some long days before RAGBRAI if you haven’t done them before, at least 75 miles. After all, you have all day on RAGBRAI so why rush through the ride.

Taking long breaks in pass-through towns makes it more like a series of shorter rides during the day then 1 long day. Be careful not to load up on food the is difficult to digest. That can interfere with absorbing water and Gatorade (or whatever electrolyte drink you prefer). I hit the non-dairy fruit smoothies during the day for meals for energy and keeping the path clear for fluids. But at some point you’ll likely want to say yes to Mr. Pork Chop and Tom’s Turkey Tenders on some days. Usually the shorter days are best for that.

If you’re new to event rides or any kind, avoid the rookie mistake of riding too fast too early or you could pay the price later in the day.


Roy Trent, March 27, 2017 at 8:42 am

I will pass on the Sunday gravel loop but plan on the Monday paved loop.
Anyone have a guess on what percentage of riders do the extra loops? Could make for a less congested ride.


KenH, March 27, 2017 at 8:42 am

I hope to be able to do the gravel loop again this year. I ride the same bike and the same 38 mm tires all week. The tires deal nicely with gravel and with the cracks, rumbles, and other hazards of the paved roads. And at the proper pressure they are efficient on either surface.

If you want to bring two bikes or two sets of tires or two sets of wheels, that’s fine. If you want to ride the gravel on your road bike and 23’s or the whole week on your gravel bike that’s fine too. Fatter tires give you more comfort, more margin for error, but they are not the difference between success and failure. Whatever works for you. It is even possible that Jamis will be along again this year letting a few lucky and/or patient riders swap their normal ride for a Jamis gravel bike at the beginning of the loop and swapping back when they return to that point.

However you plan to do it, just get out there and ride the gravel!


mootsman, March 27, 2017 at 12:30 pm


Typically about 20% ride the century loop. It can vary depending on the weather. The 1st gravel loop I think was just under 5% if I recall correctly. Not sure about last year. I’d think a rainy day would prevent many from hitting the gravel.


KenH, March 27, 2017 at 3:20 pm

From the rider survey results the Register has posted here:


5½% rode the Gravel Loop through Pomeroy
34% rode the Karras Loop through Radcliffe


Nearly 9% rode the Gravel Loop through Imogene.
25.5% rode the Karras Loop through the Honey Creek Resort.


Brian Wallenburg, March 27, 2017 at 4:01 pm

Can’t speak on the gravel loop, but the Karras loop is highly dependent on what mile it begins at, how many additional miles in the day and the weather that’s taking place. In other words, if it’s a high mileage day, the loop is early in the route and the weather is nice, it seems to have more riders. Usually it’s a nice quiet ride, with few people on the road.


Jack in VA, March 27, 2017 at 8:38 pm

Oh twist my arm, slap my face, and make me write bad checks – I’LL DO IT!



Ken Askew, May 1, 2017 at 7:53 pm

Bringing the Salsa La Cruz for the gravel loop and riding it the rest of the week. Weather depending.


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