Monday, June 11, 2007

Not all flat

While shuttling back and forth between my neighbor's cabin in rural Bernard and my son's baseball tournament in Dubuque over the weekend, I had the opportunity to preview the terrain for the last day of RAGBRAI. Specifically, I drove the 13-mile stretch from Cascade to Bernard along D61 and Y31. If this stretch is any indication of the day, and I believe it is, RAGBRAI officials have saved the worst for last.

Even my camper was slowed by the hills.

Day seven is the shortest ride in terms of mileage (56.6), but it's the worst in terms of climb (3,195 feet). That's 56.4 feet of climb per mile. Here's how the rest of the week compares:

Day 1 -- Rock Rapids to Spencer -- 75.7 miles, 1,647 feet of climb (21.8 feet/mile)
Day 2 -- Spencer to Humboldt -- 77.4 miles, 1,482 feet of climb (19.1 feet/mile)
Day 3 -- Humboldt to Hampton -- 71.1 miles, 1,491 feet of climb (21 feet/mile)
Day 4 -- Hampton to Cedar Falls -- 68.2 miles, 2,057 feet of climb (30.2 feet/mile)
Day 5 -- Cedar Falls to Independence -- 62.9 miles, 1,505 feet of climb (23.9 feet/mile)
Day 6 -- Independence to Dyersville -- 64.7 miles, 2,412 feet of climb (37.3 feet/mile)

Day 7 is 6.3 miles shorter than the next shortest day, but there's 783 more feet of climb than the next hilliest day. Day 2 is both the longest and the flattest, taking us 20.8 miles further than Day 7, but with 1,713 feet less of a climb.

Don't be fooled by the hype about "flattest ride ever." There will be hills-a-plenty, if only confined to the last day or two. Make sure you incorporate some hills into your training and save some strength for the grand finale.


Steve said...

Thanks Lonnie. Your post really helped me as I was starting to wonder if I really want to do all of RAGBRAI on the fixed gear. I did a century last Saturday on the fixed which was about 5,000 feet so you helped me to confirm my decision. Now all I have to do is maintain that over several days. My biggest problem was cramping in the heat. I really have to keep reminding myself to drink (water and/or sports drink).

Thanks too for the great post on gear. I've started the checklist!


Anonymous said...

The last time I rode into Dubuque (on SABRAI =RAGBRAI 2 too many years ago) they put the end of ride at the top of a super high mountain that the city imported just for the occasion.

Mike Albers