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Wednesday route?

The loop seems long, isn’t the loop supposed to get you closer to 100Miles? 116 ouch.

Is it an extra 3252 feet of climb for the loop in addition to the first 3252 that day for a total of 6500 ft?

I think 84.3 miles will be enough for me on that day.

22 Replies

swiifg, March 20, 2019 at 9:56 am

Detail on the website post below the graphic indicates total miles for the day, including the loop, will be 4562. That adds 1310 on the loop.

My question – are we seeing any of the overnight towns coming up with their themes? Seems like I’ve only seen one so far.


3 Pedal, March 20, 2019 at 11:20 am

I think the loop will be a little too long for me this year, but we will see how training goes.


KenH, March 20, 2019 at 12:37 pm

It appears to be the same loop we rode in 2016. That was a nice ride so I think you will enjoy it if you can do the miles. I mean, it’s only 16 extra miles, right? Should be a piece of cake, or pie with ice cream….

Apparently road construction has added some miles to the main route after they picked the loop and that is why it ended up at 116. The longest RAGBRAI century I have done to date clocked in at 112 so this isn’t much of a stretch from that. The first RAGBRAI century I did was 107. We will all be in good shape by then so no problem!

Did I mention that I am scheduled to drive SAG that day anyway?


kicks9, March 20, 2019 at 1:04 pm

I was looking at the PDF version. Did not see the rest of the details.


CyclingCyclone, March 20, 2019 at 4:04 pm

It’s a nice route around the lake that we’ve done a number of times.
If you want to talk about loops, in 1996 we had an option to celebrate the Sesquicentennial of Iowa being added to the Union. From Lake Mills to Charles City, a fantastic 150 miles on an incredible day.
About 1100 people did it, and on Team Skunk, we had about 10 of us ride it.
I’m just waiting to see what RAGBRAI has in store in 2046 for a loop.


Jboz, March 21, 2019 at 7:35 am

Admittedly, it’s a little beyond my range, but it all depends on the weather. If it’s a rainy day, then I will skip the loop. If it’s really hot, I will skip. If strong headwinds, I will skip. If however it’s an absolutely perfect day with 75 to 80 degrees, low humidity and tailwinds, I just might give it a shot. A guy can dream, right?


jwsknk, March 21, 2019 at 7:48 am

I saw someplace that the elevation on one of the maps accidently got copied and pasted so there is an error. They will correct it next week when the graphic person is back. Around the lake has a few little rollers, the worst I remember was that little town south of the dam when we left Centerville.


John Richardson, March 21, 2019 at 8:57 am

I’m not going to suggest that anyone should do the loop if they are not comfortable with the 116 mile distance. The enjoyable thing about the gravel and century loops to me is how much the bike traffic thins out. Every cyclist is different and should enjoy the ride the way that works best for them and that’s why the loops have always been options. Whether you ride the loops or not should never matter, the only thing that matters is that you’re having fun cycling.


Papa T, March 21, 2019 at 4:38 pm

I forget when it became optional, but gravel was once a part of the regular route. And hotly debated. Came to a head when the gravel portion was new gravel and was rained on. Big mess! Now it’s optional.


jimval, March 21, 2019 at 9:37 pm

I am curious given the mileage. Why not have the loop go the other direction this year. It would save 10 miles and still get you a 106 mile century?

Feels like we were just there.


mootsman, March 22, 2019 at 8:17 am


I mentioned that a few years ago about the gravel loop. Instead of a loop it would split off the main route into the gravel and then just rejoin. Bit then its not a loop. I suspect that the part of the route that people do twice on a loop is prime vendor territory (2 shots at the loop riders). And if the routes totally diverge it would be the opposite. The Karras would be the same deal.


John Richardson, March 22, 2019 at 8:38 am

You are very correct Papa T. The two years I recall were 2003 (a short section just before we arrived at Bloomfield) and 2004, with 2004 being the wet muddy one, which was quite a challenge on a tandem. They were certainly not optional, but I do recall several riders going miles out of their way to avoid them.


KenH, March 22, 2019 at 9:18 am

From what I have read on the RAGBRAI chronicles found on this site the gravel portions of the route in the early years were not optional, just part of the route. I’ve never read about an optional gravel part of the route until 2015 when the first “Hed” loop was announced, and just now in mootsman’s post above. Back in the beginning a 28mm tire was considered quite narrow. Could it be that gravel disappeared because 23s became so overwhelmingly popular? I think that had to have at least a little to do with it!

Every year you will see people riding the Karras loop backwards. When you get home and look at the map again you will realize that in almost all cases they are trying to get to the loop town and claim their patches using the least amount of effort. If the gravel loop town happens to connect to the main route on a paved road (it often does, and it does this year) then you will see people riding that route to claim their gravel patches without actually, you know, riding on gravel. It always makes me a little sad to see people doing this so that they can get a patch to commemorate something they did not actually do. So most years I would try to dissuade people from deviating from the loop routes and directions.

But if the backwards Karras loop does get you over 100 miles this year and you actually ride the whole thing then I see nothing wrong with that. If the route goes over the dam as it did last year I found that to be a nice scenic portion of the ride. If you feel that 106 miles is a goal you can achieve but 116 is not then go for it! But do be careful, it is always dangerous to ride the route backwards. Even on the Karras loop where the traffic is less dense. Look out for the people riding the right way, they will not be looking out for you!!


jwsknk, March 22, 2019 at 11:20 am

The gravel and a century day were not options in the earlier years. they were just part of the route and you had to deal with it. I think the last year for the gravel was the year it rained the night before and it was a soupy mess. A lot of the riders bypassed it by doing a on paved road route around it. Once they added the loops it seems you either go straight or to the right to get on it and enter from the right. I think they did that so loop traffic wasn’t turning across the other through people and coming on from the left..


KenH, March 22, 2019 at 12:39 pm

Upon reflection I have to say that I have changed my mind about riding the Karras loop backwards. It is just too dangerous, please do not ride any part of the route backwards. Unfortunately, having made a couple of other reasonable suggestions to the the RAGBRAI team a couple of hours ago and having had them rejected already there is nothing that can be done for those who feel 116 miles is too long. You ride the loop or you do not.

Or else you get an ebike!


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