The route is out! Day-by-day breakdown.

https://ragbrai.com/2014/03/08/ragbrai-route-6-rookie-towns-on-this-years-ride/

29 Replies

jwsknk, March 11, 2014 at 11:08 am

oh well. before too much longer it will just be an Iowa edition of usa today. slipping more that way with every change they make.

#751005

Iceman, March 11, 2014 at 2:08 pm

I think the route is a concession to the aging RAGBRAI crowd. Either that or the beer concession folks. It’s really strange – having a 36 mile day and a 41 mile day (is that really correct?). Maybe there will be some strong winds from the east to compensate for the flat/short route, make people earn it. Of course, if the route were east to west, it would really be an interesting ride.

#751010

KenH, March 11, 2014 at 3:25 pm

In one of the early route announcements they hinted that the purpose of the two short days that sandwich the century day was to encourage more people to attempt the Karras Loop this year. The route is fairly flat as well, making it even more of a temptation to those who have never done a century. I did my first full RAGBRAI week last year at a reasonably advanced age and I finished the week stronger than I started. Plenty of riders are older than me and have no trouble either. I don’t think the route planners need to or are conceding anything to us “aged” riders!

#751012

Pdiddly, March 11, 2014 at 4:25 pm

Iceman,

I think there’s going to be some creative sight seeing on those short days, no doubt! I’m surprised myself at the two short days. I guess it might be a plot to get us all to buy an RV in Forest City at factory fresh prices….

Or drink more beer.

#751019

T. Gap Woo, March 11, 2014 at 6:11 pm

KenH: I did my first full RAGBRAI week last year at a reasonably advanced age and I finished the week stronger than I started. Plenty of riders are older than me and have no trouble either. I don’t think the route planners need to or are conceding anything to us “aged” riders!

KenH,

Last year was my first RAGBRAI, at age 60. Many friends and family members thought I was nuts. Once I finished in Ft. Madison, I returned to the Emerald City and smacked those folks upside the head with my cane! THAT shut them up. I’m looking forward to smacking more of those young whippersnappers upside their heads when I return from Guttenberg this year. As my father used to say, “Age is just a number. You can be young at 80 or old at 30. The choice is yours!”

See you on the road!

#751020

Ken, March 11, 2014 at 9:17 pm

Amen to that TGW. This year at age 71 will be my fifth in a row including the century in the last three years.

#751023

Fox Mulder, March 11, 2014 at 10:38 pm

I’m confused….why do people feel that “They are being cheated” if its a short flat ride? Who cares. It really amuses me that people think of RAGBRAI as some kind of endurance ride because it isn’t. Its a party on wheels and that’s what its meant to be and it does a damn good job of doing it.

I’ve been on RAGBRAI 9 times and its never been tough but its always been fun and I’m looking forward to just chilling this year with my team. Its not about miles….Its about smiles!

#751024

Michrider !!!, March 12, 2014 at 4:23 am

Fox Mulder: I’m confused….why do people feel that “They are being cheated” if its a short flat ride? Who cares. It really amuses me that people think of RAGBRAI as some kind of endurance ride because it isn’t. Its a party on wheels and that’s what its meant to be and it does a damn good job of doing it.
I’ve been on RAGBRAI 9 times and its never been tough but its always been fun and I’m looking forward to just chilling this year with my team. Its not about miles….Its about smiles!

Fox, I agree!!!!

http://i307.photobucket.com/albums/nn302/Michrider/FORUM%20PICS/like.jpg

#751025

KenH, March 12, 2014 at 8:04 am

I don’t know why people feel cheated by this ride either. It is one of the grandest parties on Earth. Just enjoy it. This year is short and flat, sure. Now let’s wait and see how much heat and wind and rain that week brings. It might not seem like such a cakewalk when it is done! And if it does it will still be the grandest part on Earth so how can you lose? I don’t know about anyone else but my decision to ride is not determined by the route details. I check them out like everyone else out of academic interst but the only thing that makes me want to ride it is the wonderful experiences I had on my first two RAGBRAIs. As long as that remains unchanged I will keep coming back. I believe this is the second relatively short ride in a row. Longer ones will come if that is what you really want.

#751027

Sandaltan ., March 12, 2014 at 9:32 am

Miles of smiles is my RAGBRAI too, I like that term Foxy.

RIDE RIGHT

#751029

Iceman, March 12, 2014 at 3:48 pm

I’m well into my sixties as well, but all I said was that this year’s distance – being very short (and flat) – must be a concession to the older RAGBRAI crowds, and there’s no denying that the average age of the riders is getting up there. You have to admit that if this was a southern, hilly, long route this year, a lot of AARP card carrying riders might think twice about attending. Say what you will about the DMR, they know their audience and the ride is as much about the money as anything. Nothing wrong with that.

#751043

KenH, March 13, 2014 at 9:09 pm

Didn’t mean to pick on you, many have said that this year is disappointingly easy. Do you really think that the average age is getting up there? I’ve only done it two years so I have no history to compare to. The crowd seems quite young to me, about as young as the US population at large. It is quite different from the crowd at Chicago’s Music of the Baroque concerts. I always look around in wonder at those and think that I might still be in the youngest half of the audience! I fear for the future of Baroque music in the Chicago area, I have no fear for the future of RAGBRAI.

If you accept that “difficulty” equals miles time climb as the GeoBike site rates RAGBRAIs then this is the second easiest in history. That is due more to the climb than the miles however. If you include the Karras Loop XLII is only the 14th shortest. Last year was the second shortest but only the eighth easiest because of the hills. Heat and wind are the wild card for difficulty however. Geobike presents the averages but your ride will vary!! I have the data in Excel and it isn’t obvious that there is a bias towards easiness in recent years. Maybe I should put it into Minitab while my license is still good, Minitab might make trends more obvious….

#751070

Robert Vano, March 14, 2014 at 7:08 am

Ken,

Speaking of GeoBike, is there a way to interpret the data to see what the grade %ages are on any hills? I see the climb info but it really does not show how steep the climbs are. Personally, I don’t care about it….I am used to 10-15% climbs here in Pittsburgh, but we have a few in our group who would like to know more.

#751073

KenH, March 15, 2014 at 11:03 am

So I put the data into Minitab (a statistical process control software package) and tried to find statistically significant differences between the last few year’s routes and previous year’s routes. If you compare the last few years to time periods of similar length in the past then the recent routes are easier than most. Curiously the first few years were about as easy as recent years. And you can’t say that there is a statistically significant difference to the normal 95% confidence level although the recent years are easier to about 90% confidence level compared to the hardest few years. I doubt that there is an intentional “dumbing down” of the route to accommodate anyone. If there is it would take a few more years of route selections for the trend to become statistically certain. You can find time periods of the same length in the past that were as easy as these last two years and the second hardest day of all time was last year’s century day.

I don’t see any way to directly get grade information from GeoBike. However if you load up this year’s route and click the “Google Earth Maps” link over on the left side of the page you can open the route in Google Earth. Then if you right click on the route you can select the option “Show Elevation Profile” from the pop up list. That gives you a graph that you can mouse over to see the elevation and grade at any point on the route. There is also some summary information at the top of the graph. This year’s maximum climb is 3.5% and the maximum descent is 3.8%. If you ride in the Pittsburgh area I don’t think you will have any trouble with this year’s or any other year’s RAGBRAI in terms of the maximum grade. No one hill is all that bad, the killer is that there is no end to the hills. On last year’s century day we were passed by a team that literally laughed at the top of each hill. We were at about mile 45 of the ride and they chanted “hill 55, ha, ha, ha, ha, ha”. There can be more hills than miles….

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