2012 RAGBRAI Route Announced
January 29th, 2012 by Ric Hanson
The 40th Anniversary ride of RAGBRAI will take more than 10,000 bicycling enthusiasts through a somewhat hilly northern Iowa this year. Officials with the Des Moines Register held a party Saturday night to announced the route for the July 21st through the 28th event. The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa — the world’s oldest, largest and longest tour of its kind — begins this year in Sioux Center and ends 471 miles later in Clinton. In between, riders will stop overnight in Cherokee, Lake View, Webster City, Marshalltown, Cedar Rapids and Anamosa. Webster City hasn’t hosted RAGBRAI since 1980. Cedar Rapids hasn’t seen riders pass through the community since a 2008 flood inundated the largest overnight town on the list.
There’s been no word yet on whether past Tour de France winners and RAGBRAI participants Lance Armstrong and Greg LaMond will join in, but officials say they expect about 60 percent of the riders to be from places outside Iowa, including some 20 countries. An economic study from the University of Northern Iowa two years ago found the festival brings $24 million in new spending to Iowa, or $3 million for each hosting town.
The event’s theme this year is “Celebrating 40 Years of Iowa,” and its less-intensive route should afford space to pause and reflect: The route is the 18th-shortest in RABRAI history and the 11th-flattest. Only eight routes since the ride’s 1973 inception have been easier. While the precise number of towns that riders will pass through on their river-to-river run won’t be released until March, here’s what’s known about the route: Riders should pace themselves for the stretch between Marshalltown and Cedar Rapids. It will be their hilliest day with a 3,576-foot climb. At 84.8 miles, it will also be the longest. Returning riders should feel confident, though; Despite a shorter distance, last year’s route featured more hill-climbing on day one than this year’s route does in the first three days.