RAGBRAI Route Announcement Party set for Friday, January 28! Get your tickets

Thoughts on the route?

What does everyone think?

59 Replies

Jboz, January 22, 2017 at 2:30 pm

I’m torn. I may go upright this year on my newly built-out Soma Saga touring bike complete with a Jones Loop H-Bar. But I have to say, a fully suspended tadpole trike is about as comfortable, relaxed and sweet as a ride can be. We shall see how the training progresses the spring.


david636, January 22, 2017 at 2:57 pm

I’m somewhat disappointed as I was looking forward to a little more distance that last year. That said, I agree with Ken H’s assessment: “As usual its noteworthiness a few years from now will lie entirely in the job that the towns do for us, and in what the weather does to us!”.
Anyway I’m signed up, and looking forward to it.


Mike Murphy, January 22, 2017 at 4:23 pm

I hope they have some good pass through towns on the short days. When we did the northern route in 2014 some of the days were short and nothing happening till the end town. I beat the baggage truck in several days and I stop in every town and look for something interesting. I would prefer a longer route with more of a challenge but that is my preference and I understand the ride is for everyone so I am ok with whatever. I just hope on those 40 and 50 miles days there is something interesting out there.


KenH, January 22, 2017 at 5:05 pm

vijay israni: This ride looks incredibly flat, short, and few cool features:
DAY start_city TO stop_city miles elevation gain
SUN Orange City TO Spencer 56 miles 512 ft elevation
MON Spencer TO Algona 50 miles 367 ft elevation
TUE Algona TO Clear Lake 46 miles 259 ft elevation
WED Clear Lake TO Charles City 41 miles 249 ft elevation
THU Charles City TO Cresco 50 miles 774 ft elevation
FRI Cresco TO Waukon 40 miles 958 ft elevation
SAT Waukon TO Lansing 17 miles 253 ft elevation
Totals 300 miles 3372 ft elevation

I hope the actual route has more hills and miles.

I’m not sure how you came up with those figures but the Register’s route summary says that your wishes for more miles and foc will be fulfilled! RAGBRAI seldom takes the direct route between overnight towns. If you try to get your own foc off the direct route then that will be off too. Especially if the direct route is a major highway where the grades have been eased considerably by cuts and fills. The numbers the Register gives below may change as the route is finalized and better data is taken by Mr Geobike but they typically are close to what to expect.

The numbers below typically do not include either the Karras or gravel loops. Both will add a bit to the route totals. Last year’s loops both added considerably to their day’s foc totals in fact and the gravel loop was fairly challenging. If you include both loops this year’s ride will probably move up a bit from its current 3rd easiest ranking among past RAGBRAIs. If the route towns do their best you will have many fine memories. If the weather turns against us rather than smiling on us the whole way as it did last year you will have all the challenge you could want. And if the Register somehow manages to pick a dismally non-scenic route through the driftless region anyone who’s been in that area will be dumbfounded!!

From the Register’s announcement:

Orange City ==> Spencer 59.5 miles, 1283 foc
Spencer ==> Algona 73.8 miles, 1631 foc
Algona ==> Clear Lake 51.4 miles, 934 foc
Clear Lake ==> Charles City 57.5 miles, 1290 foc
Charles City ==> Cresco 64.3, 2257 foc
Cresco ==> Waukon 60.1 miles, 2483 foc
Waukon ==> Lansing 44.8 miles, 3200 foc

How the route compares

Total mileage: 411.4, the third-shortest of RAGBRAI’s 45 journeys
Total feet of climb: 13,078 feet, the third-flattest
Difficulty of ride: Rated the third-easiest RAGBRAI by combination of distance and climb


“Bicycle Bill”, January 22, 2017 at 5:19 pm

If genefruit is correct on the routing for the final day through Rossville and Harper’s Ferry (and knowing the area I can’t imagine any other way of doing it), you’re going to definitely want to eat your Wheaties before starting out Saturday morning…



SFC JKL 2, January 22, 2017 at 9:32 pm

The route is what it is. If you get a tailwind you might be able to get by wiggling the handlebars instead of pedaling. If you want more distance, do the loops. If you want even more distance, make up your own loops for the other days or just repeat the official ones.
I you want more hiils, I’ll make a couple suggestions. http://www.horriblyhilly.com/ https://www.dairylanddare.com/ http://www.6gap.com/ If you are clinically insane for climbing, you can always cross the pond: http://www.raceacrossthealps.com/


aredgar, January 22, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Any chance that gravel and/or century loop will get added to the final plans?


Jboz, January 22, 2017 at 10:18 pm

I’ve yet to see a route that makes everyone happy. But this route seems to hit the mark for me. I get how some riders want more of a challenge, but this is a large ride and the DMR is trying to appeal to a broad audience And 400+ miles is still nothing to sneeze at. The average age on this ride seems to be getting older, and the rides of 500 miles are a bit much for many riders (including myself). The sweet spot for me seems to be about 65 or 70 miles per day. That’s a good day of riding where I feel like I accomplished something, and allows time to take a leisurely pace and soak it all in, while not being completely shot by the end of the day. I can do more, but it takes a lot out of me to do back-to-back big mileage (80, 90, 100) days. I suspect I’m not alone.


vijay israni, January 22, 2017 at 10:44 pm

Ahhh, Okay, I got bad data from another user….. The 411 looks correct! Thank you!

Yes, it’s short and flat, but, doesn’t matter, it’ll still be a lot of FUN!!!


Ken Reed, January 23, 2017 at 8:01 am

This year’s route looks like it’s going to be pretty similar to 2014’s mileage and feet of climb and if I remember correctly (frankly, some of it is a tad foggy), it was probably my favorite RAGBRAI. If people want more miles, do the Karras Loop and the gravel loop. As I said before, Orange City is my only hang up but I think they will fall in line.


jwsknk, January 23, 2017 at 8:02 am

Details from the Sunday register.
Day 1 Orange City to Spencer 60 miles, 1283 ft climb.
Day 2 Spencer to Algona. 74 miles, 1631 ft climb.
Day 3 Algona to Clear Lake. 52 miles, 934 ft climb.
Day 4 Clear Lake to Charles City. 58 miles, 1290 ft climb.
Day 5 Charles City to Cresco. 64 miles, 2257 ft climb.
Day 6 Cresco to Waukon. 60 miles, 2483 ft climb.
Day 7 Waukon to Lansing. 45 miles, 3200 ft climb.

Word is New Hampton pass through on Friday, coming into Lansing from the south on Saturday, that would just about take the route to Effigy Mounds, Waukon Junction and Harpers Ferry, all along the Mississippi.Vehicles from the west on 9.


jwsknk, January 23, 2017 at 8:05 am

New Hampton Thursday, wish the editing worked.


KenH, January 23, 2017 at 8:24 am


Any chance that gravel and/or century loop will get added to the final plans?

The Karras (century) loop is a permanent part of RAGBRAI. There is virtually no chance that any RAGBRAI will be without one. In the beginning there was no loop, there was just one day that was ~100 miles for all riders. I don’t think there was ever a RAGBRAI that did not have a century day. The data is on GeoBike so you can check that out if you like. At some point they, wisely I think, decided to add the loop and make the century optional. Either then or shortly thereafter they decided to call it the Karras loop in honor of one of RAGBRAI’s fathers

The gravel loop is new, this will be its third year. Gravel riding is popular of late and with this being its third RAGBRAI appearance in a row it appears to now be a semi-permanent feature of RAGBRAI. If the popularity of gravel riding wanes in future years it could be dropped from the legendary Iowa ride I suppose but it is starting to look like a sure thing in the near term. Early RAGBRAI routes did often include gravel roads on the main route. These days they tend to shy away from that but there is always the chance that a last minute emergency road construction project could have us all riding on gravel!

Here are some more details about the ride that I got from a team email posted by members who attended the route party in person this year:

Sunday gravel loop and mile of silence.
Monday Karras loop and pork chop day. Monday night. Ashton Kutcher charity Tuesday. People for bikes
Wednesday Law enforcement day
Thursday college jersey day
Friday jersey day

I’m glad to see the return of the mile of silence in honor of those of us who have been killed while riding. Pork Chop Day could “just” be a way of honoring a portion of Iowa’s agriculture industry but it instead honors the late Paul Bernhard, founder of Mr. Pork Chop. He was one of the many people who over the years helped to make RAGBRAI what it is today and he will be missed. The family will carry on the business of course so you can still get your pork chop and lemon slushie fix!!


Ken Reed, January 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

You’ve got to figure that Decorah is the meeting town on Friday. It’s been awhile for those guys.


genefruit, January 23, 2017 at 9:23 am

Here’s a RWGPS link to the full route and daily routes, draft at this time. I’ll include gravel and Karras loops. They will be updated when the official route is announced. https://ridewithgps.com/events/29500-ragbrai-2017


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