Today’s Register included a bit more information about this year’s ride that I thought I’d share. When they said it’s going to be just as hilly as last year, they weren’t kidding.
At 442.3 miles, this year’s ride is nearly 29 miles shorter than 2008. However, 22,806 feet of climb is just 306 feet more than last year. Proper training will be critical to your enjoyment of the RAGBRAI experience.
Here’s a day-by-day comparison of 2009 vs. 2008:
We’ll begin our journey in Council Bluffs (population: 61,324), which previously hosted RAGBRAI in 1974, 1986, 1994 and 2000. Fast fact: The Bob Kerry Pedestrian Bridge (opened Sept. 28, 2008) is the longest pedestrian bridge to link two states.
Day 1: Sunday, July 19 – Council Bluffs to Red Oak (population: 6,197)
Distance: 52.6 miles
Climb: 3,684 feet
In 2008, Missouri Valley to Harlan covered 59 miles and 3,797 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: Red Oak is proud of its Victorian homes and turn-of-the-century courthouse. The Wilson Performing Arts Center opens this year. Red Oak has hosted RAGBRAI in 1976, 1986 and 1997.
Day 2: Monday, July 20 – Red Oak to Greenfield (population: 2,129)
Distance: 72.6 miles
Climb: 5,096 feet (the most of any day this year)
In 2008, Harlan to Jefferson covered 83 miles and 5,239 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: Greenfield’s painted Patriot Rock honors those who have served in the military. The town is also home to the Iowa Aviation Museum. Greenfield has hosted RAGBRAI in 1981 and 2000 and was a pass-through town in 1984.
Day 3: Tuesday, July 21 – Greenfield to Indianola (population: 14,156)
Distance: 77.1 miles (the most of any day this year)
Climb: 4,470 feet
In 2008, Jefferson to Ames covered 57 miles and 1,377 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: Thousands come to Indianola each year for the National Balloon Classic. It’s also the hometown of legendary RAGBRAI rider Clarence Pickard and home to Coe’s Iowa Conference rivals Simpson College. Indianola has never hosted RAGBRAI, but was a pass-through town in 1997.
Day 4: Wednesday, July 22 – Indianola to Chariton (population: 4,573)
Distance: 44.4 miles
Climb: 2,182 feet
In 2008, Ames to Tama/Toledo covered 78 miles and 2,869 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: The 9.5-mile Cinder Path is Iowa’s oldest railroad-converted trail, having been established by the county conservation board after the rail line was abandoned in 1972. Chariton hosted RAGBRAI in 1997.
Day 5: Thursday, July 23 – Chariton to Ottumwa (population: 24,998)
Distance: 76.9 miles
Climb: 3,388 feet
In 2008, Tama/Toledo to North Liberty covered 76 miles and 3,123 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: The Bridge View Center offers views of the Des Moines River. The city is the hometown of actor Tom Arnold and the fictional home of Radar O’Reilly of the TV show M*A*S*H. Ottumwa hosted RAGBRAI in 1984 and 2000.
Day 6: Friday, July 24 – Ottumwa to Mount Pleasant (population: 8,751)
Distance: 75.5 miles
Climb: 2,841 feet
In 2008, North Liberty to Tipton covered 65 miles and 3,051 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: Mount Pleasant hosts an Old Threshers Reunion and is the former home of former Iowa governor and U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. The city hosted RAGBRAI in 1975, 1984, 1992 and 2003 and was a pass-through town in 1979.
Day 7: Saturday, July 25 – Mount Pleasant to Burlington (population: 26,839)
Distance: 43.2 miles
Climb: 1,145 feet
In 2008, Tipton to Le Claire covered 53 miles and 1,835 feet of climb.
Fast Fact: Burlington hosts Steamboat Days and is home to “the crookedest street in the world,” where the Snake Alley Criterium Bike Race is held. Burlington hosted RAGBRAI in 1979, 1984, 1990 and 2000.