As Emmetsburg prepares to host RAGBRAI for an overnight stay July 21, here are some thoughts about the annual event, compiled by veteran riders Greg and Steven Hoyman.These "RAGBRAI?Moments" are intended to give people some insight into RAGBRAI and what goes on behind the scenes.
THE ROUTE is planned by the RAGBRAI staff during the winter and announced to the world at a party in Des Moines in January each year.
The staff then sends letters to the county engineers to find out if there is road construction planned on the route before finalizing it about March 8. (They got in trouble one year when they had to move the route and bypass a town that was planning on it).
Each year they select a century loop (100+) Miles. Riding 100 miles is something bikers like to do and early on there was always a 100 mile day. However, after some really bad days it was decided to cut it back by having a century route.
The bike riders talk about the 4 H's 1. Heat 2. Humidity 3. Hills 4. Head Winds. Not all bikers will agree what is worse. Bret (my grandson) and I think head winds are the worse. But heat comes in close second.
The route is getting a little easier since I believe the organizers have been increasingly worried about all those people out that are maybe not ready for it.
Most bikers ride all the way.
Most bikers like to start early to avoid the heat.
Some of the bikers are very good and can ride the whole day at 15 to 20 miles a hr. and rarely stop.
I would guess the first bikers will be in Emmetsburg by 8am
RAGBRAI does not like riders to start before sunrise, however, if they have lights some do.
Some do not always follow the assigned route but this can be a problem because there is no support.
The Register wants everyone done riding and off the road by 6 p.m.R