By Molly Moser
This year’s river-to-river ride across Iowa will end in Guttenberg, RAGBRAI officials announced on Saturday, Jan. 26. The ride’s northern route begins in Rock Valley, a first-time RAGBRAI host, on July 19, and cyclists will roll through Guttenberg a week later on July 26.
City Manager Mary Willett attended the announcement party in Des Moines, where she met John Karras, RAGBRAI’s co-founder. “I’ve never been to their announcement before – I really didn’t know what to expect,” said Willett. Her cousin, a 72-year old RAGBRAI veteran, introduced her to various cyclist teams while a bike helmet wearing, kick-lining band performed live. “I’d definitely say the RAGBRAI crowd likes to dance,” Willet laughed.
As overnight towns were announced one by one, cyclists calculated mileage. She recalls a collective, good-natured groan about the climb into Guttenberg. At 3,073 feet of climb over 68 miles, Willett said, “This is considered to be the most challenging destination because of the elevation.”
RAGBRAI staff will visit Guttenberg for the first of many planning meetings on Feb. 5. Beginning next month, there will be at least two meetings per month leading up to the event. A route inspection is scheduled for the first week in June, and a comprehensive two-day meeting later that month will cover food and vendors, entertainment, public safety, electrical walk-throughs, and much more.