A few minutes ago, the Des Moines Register announced the 2015 route for the Register's Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI). None of the ten most-guessed overnight towns are on this year's ride; many people wrongly predicted a southerly route after last year's northern passage. Instead, most of the route will traverse northern Iowa again this year, until the last two nights in Coralville and Davenport. Muscatine boosters, buoyed by unsubstantiated rumors, will have to hope for next year.
A 15-mile gravel loop will be an option for riders on July 20, added this year to honor the memory of Steve Hed. The legendary bike designer passed away last November.
Overnight stops are after the jump, along with daily mileage totals and feet of climb. Three overnight stops on this year's route were part of the original RAGBRAI in 1973.
On Sunday, July 19, RAGBRAI begins in Sioux City (Woodbury County). The first day's ride to Storm Lake (Buena Vista County) will be both the longest and most hilly: 74.3 miles, 4110 feet of climb. Storm Lake was a stop on the very first RAGBRAI.
Monday, July 20, Storm Lake to Fort Dodge (Webster County): 68.4 miles, 1314 feet of climb. Organizers said tonight that Fort Dodge was also on the original RAGBRAI itinerary. Riders may complete an optional 15-mile gravel loop on this day.
Tuesday, July 21, Fort Dodge to Eldora (Hardin County): 71.8 miles, 1490 feet of climb.
Wednesday, July 22, Eldora to Cedar Falls (Black Hawk County): 56 miles, 1845 feet of climb. Best known as a college town for the University of Northern Iowa, Cedar Falls has become one of Iowa's most bike-friendly cities.
Thursday, July 23, Cedar Falls to Hiawatha (a suburb of Cedar Rapids in Linn County): 69.6 miles, 2669 feet of climb.
Friday, July 24, Hiawatha to Coralville (Johnson County): 57.9 miles, 2600 feet of climb. The Iowa River Landing 180-acre mixed-use development was a key reason ride organizers selected Coralville.
Saturday, July 25, Coralville to Davenport (Scott County): 64.2 miles, 1920 feet of climb. Apparently Davenport was the final stop on the very first RAGBRAI.
Total for the week: 462 miles (with a couple of optional loops that would push riders past 500 miles), 15,948 feet of climb.