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RAGBRAI XLIV
July 24 - 30, 2016 Through Southern Iowa

RAGBRAI, The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, is an annual seven-day bicycle ride across the state. Heading into its 43rd year, RAGBRAI is the oldest, largest and longest bicycle touring event in the world.

In the beginning, no one imagined that RAGBRAI would become the Iowa tradition it is now. We at The Des Moines Register thank all the riders who have joined us over the years. We especially wish to thank the thousands and thousands of volunteers in the towns we’ve visited along the way for their tireless work to show RAGBRAI riders the hospitality that has made our ride world famous.

The event is seven days of riding with an average of 67 miles per day through the Iowa countryside.

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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, March 17, 2016, Page 1

Official RAGBRAI route released

RAGBRAI has released the official route map for July 26 which bikers will take on their trek from Creston to Leon. A large portion of that day's ride will take place in Ringgold County.

Here is the complete route from Creston to Leon. The route travels 58.3 miles with a challenging 3,318 feet of climb. Participants will get to ride some nice rollers during the day's ride. The whole route features only three turns, so it will be hard to get lost.

RAGBRAI will return to the town of Diagonal after a 35 year hiatus. The ride from Creston to Diagonal will be 19.8 miles, from Diagonal to Mount Ayr 12.1 miles, from Mount Ayr to Kellerton 9.6 miles, Kellerton to Decatur City 12.2 miles, and Decatur City to Leon 4.8 miles. Total miles for the day's ride will total 58.5 miles. Total feet of climb for the day will be 3,318.

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Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, May 19, 2016, Page 1

Company's coming!
Mount Ayr gears up for RAGBRAI

By Curtis Riggs

Figuring out how to feed, entertain and cool off 10,000 to 15,000 visitors to the community on the last Tuesday in July is the work of a new RAGBRAI committee, which held its initial meeting last week.

Mount Ayr will be such a busy place on Tuesday, July 26 because it is a "meeting town" on the 58-mile stretch of the RAGBRAI route between Creston and Leon.

"Meeting towns" are the towns on RAGBRAI routes where bicyclist meet up with their personal support vehicles. Many food and other vendors focus on "meeting towns" because there is typically more action in those locations.

Liz Schafer and Mount Ayr city councilman Ken Robertson are the co-chairs of the local RAGBRAI committee. Nearly 20 representatives of local civic groups attended the meeting along with several business people.

Bicyclists will come south from Creston on the Hi and Dry Road to Diagonal. From Diagonal they will follow County Highway P33 to Highway 2. They will then proceed east on Highway 2 to reach Mount Ayr.

Early bird riders could come through as early as 7 or 8 a.m. The main contingent is expected around noon, however.

Riders will be directed off the highway onto Pierce Street, which is the street on the east side of Caseys General Store. They will the ride east on Madison Street to reach the square and downtown Mount Ayr.

Riders will be welcomed onto the square through an entrance made of hay bales, which will be constructed between the post office and US West bank.

The Mount Ayr Lions Club will be serving pancakes on the side of the square that day. All entertainment will take place on the east side.

Robertson said the large crowds will be in town for approximately three hours and that efforts will be made to get them back on the road by 3:30 p.m. This should allow them time to reach Leon by nightfall.

Podium Ink is expected to provide a welcome sign for the riders, which will be placed just west of town.

Joe Murphy will have the Skelly Station Beer & Steak beer garden on the Skelly Station property on the south side of the square.

The First Christian Church will open its doors that day as a place for people to cool off.

Efforts will be made to give local vendors priority placement for their stalls. Schafer said. The deadline for vendor application is June 15 so more will be known about the planned festivities then.

Future meetings are also planned as the event draws closer.

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Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Tuesday, July 26, 2016

RAGBRAI Day 3: Creston to Leon

Diagonal

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Mount Ayr

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 28, 2016, Pages 1 & 9

RAGBRAI descends on Ringgold County
Thousands treated to area hospitality
Local RAGBRAI vendors make money, meet people

By Curtis Riggs

Ready or not - here they came!

After months of preparationg, on Tuesday, July 26 the city of Mount Ayr welcomed well over 10,000 bicyclists who were riding on RAGBRAI, the oldest and largest cross country bicycle tour in the world.

Mount Ayr served as a meeting town for the annual bike ride across the state.

After an early morning stop in Diagonal, most riders hit town in late morning, and many lingered in the shade in the courthouse lawn until mid-afternoon. Some of the heartier riders began arriving in Mount Ayr by 7 a.m. and left town well before the horde that followed.

While here rides were offered food and drink of every type and size along with a wide varity of merchandise, bike repair facilities and other special attractions. One popular location was a dunking tank filled with ice where riders were invited to take a plunge to win up to $100.

Riders, primarily talked about the beautiful morning and the small-town hospitality of Iowans as they relaxed on the court house lawn before the push on to Leon.

Jerry Spangler, of Topeka, KS, was glad to be in Mount Ayr by mid-morning. He stressed that Mount Ayr was like man RAGBRAI towns in the "you have to climb a hill to get to it."

Jueva Tsthirren, of Iowa City and formerly of Switzerland, was on his first RAGBRAI. He said he was sure to ride again next year because of all the friends he made this year.

Paul McCormick, of Tracy, CA, was riding in his 12th RAGBRAI.

"I guess I am crazy. I swear I will come back," he said. "Towns like this are what make it worthwhile."

Ben Douglas, who is originally from Cedar Rapids but now lives in Kodiak, AK, was on his fifth RAGBRAI.

"I love it because Iowa is so beautiful," he said. "It is a great opportunity and great exercise."

He also spoke about "loving" eating pork chops for breakfast.

Scott Offenberg, of St. Louis, Mo, was also on his fiftth RAGBRAI. He said the first few were pretty hilly, "but no it is starting to flatten out."

Red McCabe, of Lyle, IL, now on his 17th RAGBRAI, said that Iowa hospitality is what keeps him coming back.

"I park my bike and someone ran up and handed me a bottle of water," he said about Iowa hospitality.

Local vendors around Mount Ayr saw a great turn out and met great people [page 9] from all over the country.

In the Princess Theatre Martha Landphair was speaking with a rider from Asheville, NC about how beautiful Iowa was and how Peggy Whitson is an inspiration as an astronaut, something Asheville doesn't have. "It's been so much fun," said Landphair.

One rider from Pennsylvania was upset that he wasn't able to see Peggy Whitson's space suit. The Theater wasn't able to acquire it due to the school being worked on, however, he was able to get into the school and was allowed it see it.

People would ask about the process of the restoration and several people made donations for further improvement.

Still Smokin' BBQ said business has been tremendous. "I've had the same guy come back four times," said Hallie Still, the daughter of Doug and Gina Still.

One man from Chicago told the Stills that there was nowhere in Chicago to get brisket like theirs and one RAGBRAI participant talked about how it was the best barbeque they had on the entire trip.

Ryan Gregg, owner of Greggio's still had people being served as the crowd started to thin out. "I've met a lot of great people," said Gregg. "We've fed about 400 people in four hours."At the tent for the Ringgold County Cattlemen they said they were as busy as a bird dog in a brush pile.

"It's a great thing for the community and Ringgold county, said Jim Werner.

The park and recreations board had a tank filled with ice cold water and colored washers. Paying $5 got you 15 seconds to dive into the tank and find a colored washer. Depending on the color, you could win money.

"A gentleman from the Air Force got a $50 washer and donated it right back to us," said Andy Kellner. The "dunk tank" saw the largest concentration of people between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. and they estimated 34 of the people that won money donated it back. The money is going towards the Nature Center that is being built just outside of Mount Ayr and various other projects around the county.

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Redding

Food Stands by 4-H, United Methodist Church and Frontieer Days
Redding, Iowa

Kellerton

Mount Ayr Record-News
Mount Ayr, Ringgold County, Iowa
Thursday, July 28, 2016, Page 8

Kellerton News - By the time this is printed, the RAGBRAI riders will have been through our fair city. The fire department and several of the local people will be on hand to welcome them as they make their way across southern Iowa this week.

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Breezin' Past Decatur City

Leon

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Small town Leon hosts 10,000 RAGBRAI riders
By Nicole Agee, KCRG-TV9

Leon, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) -- RAGBRAI riders took over the small town of Leon, Iowa, Tuesday night.

The riders pedaled more than 58 miles from Creston to Leon on the third day of the annual event. This leg of the Register's Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa was hilly again, making it tough on riders.

Several of Iowa's larger cities are frequent overnight stops for RAGBRAI. But Tuesday night, around 10,000 riders were in a town of fewer than 2,000.

KCRG-TV9's Nicole Agee shows us how Leon, a community that hasn't hosted RAGBRAI in 35 years, is handling all of these riders.

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Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Lance Armstrong returns to the RAGBRAI route
by Matthew Leimkuehler

Spotted on RAGBRAI: Lance Armstrong, eating a piece of pie and hitting the golf course.

According to an Instagram post from photographer Elizabeth Kreutz, Armstrong started his RAGBRAI journey on Tuesday, which included a stop in Leon for the aforementioned pie.

But wait, there's more ... food that is. The cycling legend also indulged at iconic RAGBRAI food stand Mr. Pork Chop, with a side of corn on the cob. That's about as Iowa as it gets.

Armstrong took to his podcast, called “The Forward Podcast,” this week to let listeners know he would be spending three days on RAGBRAI. He said on the podcast, which posted Tuesday, that he "loves" the ride and thanked the people in Iowa for "always being super cool."

“If you guys can just visualize this,” he said. “It’s six or seven days long. It’s from the west side of the state to the east. It’s wacky. It’s like Woodstock on bikes.” He plans to ride three days of the weeklong Iowa tradition, through Friday. Another post from Kreutz showed Armstrong has hit at least one golf course thus far.

“Lance Armstrong can always find a golf course,” the photo caption says.

Armstrong noted in the podcast he’s a regular on the RAGBRAI route, riding it for "about" 10 years, he said. He’ll be joined on his final day of riding by professional race car drivers Jimmie Johnson and Brad Keselowski, he also said.

“That’ll be fun,” he said. “To get a couple of other top-level athletes out there, mixing it up.”

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RAGBRAI at LEON

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RAGBRAI riders with Leon's Freedom Rock
Courthouse Square, Tuesday, July 26, 2016

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Des Moines Register
Des Moines, Polk County, Iowa
Thursday, July 28, 2016

RAGBRAI Day 4: Leon to Centerville

Garden Grove

Coming into Garden Grove

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Compilation & submission by Sharon R. Becker, July of 2016


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