Thursday, January 29, 2009

RAGBRAI heading south

As nearly everyone predicted, RAGBRAI is heading south this year and according to organizers, it's going to be just as hilly as it was last year.

The 37th Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, from July 19-25, cuts a 442-mile route through the southern half of the state. Beginning in Council Bluffs on July 18, the ride will stop in Red Oak, Greenfield, Indianola, Chariton, Ottumwa, and Mt. Pleasant before ending in Burlington on July 25.

"You go south and people just assume it's going to be really hilly, but this year will be pretty close to last year," said RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz. "It's the sixth-shortest route of all time, and it'll be an extremely scenic adventure." The 22,806 total feet of climb ranks as the 10th most in RAGBRAI history.

I'm not too familiar with southern Iowa, although I did live and work in Burlington for a week two decades ago (and paid rent for several months, but that's a story for another time). I'm probably most familiar with Indianola, where my son has played in baseball tournaments and where I've attended several Coe sporting events at Simpson College. As a kid, I went to a high school football game in Ottumwa. As I recall, they had a loose meat sandwich restaurant of regional fame. It's also where we wound up watching a Packer game this season en route home from my nephew's wedding in Columbia. We couldn't find a restaurant with NFL Sunday ticket anywhere in Missouri. Mt. Pleasant has an Amtrak Station for those of you traveling from out of state.

That's my route preview, for the time being. Make this your year to join the official Coe College team on the adventure of a lifetime. Please fill out the information form here and we'll keep you posted as plans develop.

If you've already completed the interest form and are ready to join, you may register online here. After creating your profile (or logging in to your RAGBRAI account for veterans), you should choose to join the group CoeBRAI (#32344) before submitting your entry. Please do not send signed waivers or any payments to RAGBRAI. Instead, those should be sent to me, the group contact.

Also, if you are from one of the overnight towns and would like to host Team CoeBRAI in your community, please let us know.

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