Your go-to guide for all things RAGBRAI in Des Moines, Central Iowa

The countdown is on: 109 days and counting until RAGBRAI XLI begins in Council Bluffs on July 21 and makes its way through the state’s capital city before ending in Fort Madison.

RAGBRAI making its first trip through Des Moines in 16 years has generated a buzz to rival that of any of the rides event director T. J. Juskiewicz has led in the past.

“There’s just an excitement level I haven’t seen in 10 years, and I can’t pinpoint exactly why,” he said.

Juskiewicz expects ridership to swell as the event makes its way through the metro. In fact, some of the largest rides to date have included routes through Des Moines: an estimated 23,000 people rode from Boone to Des Moines in 1988, and in 1997, approximately 20,000 riders made their way from Creston to Des Moines, according to the RAGBRAI website.

Through this blog, I’ll be updating you on what to expect as one of the nation’s largest cycling event rolls through Central Iowa. From the bands performing at night and the breakfast being served the next day to road closures and overnight accommodations and, of course, how all those church ladies are preparing for the onslaught of pie requests.

So check back regularly for updates on what you can expect on the ride, as well as features from different towns along the route and profiles of local riders and teams. Have suggestions for something I should be writing about? Shoot me an email at eschettler@dmreg.com, and follow along on Twitter at @eschettler.

This is my first RAGBRAI and I’m excited to finally be participating in one of the most-famed cycling events in the country and experience many cities I’ve visited in the past in a whole new way. As a newbie, I’ll also probably take advantage of this blog to ask for your advice on trails to check out, gear recommendations and staples to bring for the week-long ride.

And a final reminder for all you procrastinators, yesterday was the last day to register to ride the entire ride but day passes are available until June 1.

Check back soon!

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