The air was filled with excitement as the crowd awaited announcement of the route and overnight hosts for RAGBRAI XLII. The northern route was announced Saturday, Jan. 25.
"It was so exciting," said Deb Hite, Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce Executive Director. "When Emmetsburg was named I nearly jumped out of my chair."
This is the fourth time Emmetsburg is an overnight host for the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa. Emmetsburg was host for RAGBRAI in 1985, 1993 and 2002.
RAGBRAI HOST -- Emmetsburg was named an overnight host for RAGBRAI?XLII. Emmetsburg residents were at an announcement Saturday to receive the news. ictured (fromthe left) are RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz, with former Emmetsburg resident Jim Hart holding the “Emmetsbirg”?sign, Emmetsburg chamber of Commerce Executive Director Deb Hite, and Emmetsburg residents Robin and Jeff Jamison. --submitted photo
"This is a great opportunity for Emmetsburg to come together to greet the 15,000 cyclists and guests coming to our town," said Dan McCain, President of Emmetsburg Chamber of Commerce. "We have experience as an overnight host and we know how to make this a memorable event for the cyclists that will be riding across our state and visiting our community."
This year's route is a return to small-town Iowa. The ride begins in Rock Valley where they will camp on Saturday night, July 19, before heading east across the state on Sunday, July 20. Riders will travel northeast to Okoboji to spend Sunday night. This is the first time Okoboji will host an overnight stop.
Bicyclers will ride to Emmetsburg and spend the night on Monday, July 21. Emmetsburg offers the beauty of Five Island Lake and the well-known hospitality of a former overnight host for this Iowa bicycling event.
From Emmetsburg, riders head north and east to Forest City to spend Tuesday night, July 22. The following day they will ride to Mason City and overnight Wednesday, July 23. The route dips down to Waverly for an overnight stay on Thursday, July 24, then farther south to Independence on Friday, July 25.
The final leg of RAGBRAI XLII takes cyclists to Guttenberg and the finish line on the Mississippi on Saturday, July 26.
"We're getting back to smaller communities, which are the perfect size for RAGBRAI," T.J. Juskiewicz told the crowd at the announcement party.
Juskiewicz told the group, and is quoted in the Des Moines Sunday Register, "This year's tour is remarkable for its ease, length and pitch. At 418 miles and with 11,316 feet of climb, it is the third shortest and second flattest route in history. There has only been one route since RAGBRAI began in 1973 that was less difficult by those criteria.
"It is a true northern Iowa route, and it's very flat," Juskiewicz said. "And when we're up in that corner of northeast Iowa, the state is a little smaller."
"We are counting on the people of Emmetsburg to volunteer in any way possible to help make this a memorable event for the thousands of bicyclers that will be visiting our community," said Dan McCain.
Planning for this event begins immediately. An Advisory Board will be named, along with committee chairmen.
"We have RAGBRAI host veterans and we have newcomers that will want to be involved," said McCain. "We have 25 weeks to prepare for over 15,000 excited and eager cyclists and guests. This is a wonderful opportunity to display our town at its best."
Tuesday, Feb. 4, is Emmetsburg's first meeting with T.J. Juskiewicz. The Chamber of Commerce Executive Committee and Advisory Committee members will be involved in this initial meeting.