CLINTON — The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa is slated to return this year, with two Clinton County stops.
After a one-year hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic, RAGBRAI is returning with stops in Clinton and DeWitt. The 426-mile trek is scheduled from July 25 to July 31 and will feature 11,481 feet of climb, making the 2021 RAGBRAI the 16th flattest route in RAGBRAI history.
RAGBRAI will begin July 25 in LeMars and includes the overnight towns of Sac City, Fort Dodge, Iowa Falls, Waterloo, Anamosa, and DeWitt and will end July 31 in Clinton. Riders will travel from Anamosa to DeWitt on July 30 before traveling from DeWitt to Clinton on July 31. The route from DeWitt to Clinton is 31.6 miles and will pass through Charlotte and Goose Lake.
This is the sixth time that Clinton will be the finish line, where riders will mark the end of the ride by dipping their tires into the Mississippi River.
Clinton Mayor Scott Maddasion is excited to have RAGBRAI coming to Clinton in 2021, he said. It is an honor to be the final stop on this year’s race and will be awesome to see all the riders come through to dip their tires in the Mississippi River, Maddasion said. It will be a great opportunity to show off the community with the recent updates to the riverfront, Maddasion believes.
“I think any time you can get involved in a statewide event such as RAGBRAI, it is a huge positive for the community as a whole,” Maddasion said. “We will get a chance to work with several communities across the state and provide a great event for all those involved.”
The city began preparations for RAGBRAI in 2020, Maddasion said. The city was expected to be the final stop last summer before the race was canceled, Maddasion added. The overall plan will be led by new Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau Director Lesley Webster along with the RAGBRAI committee, Maddasion confirmed. The city will lend a hand and help in any way necessary, Maddasion added.
The city’s main objective early on will be ensuring the RAGBRAI ordinance is up to date and ready to go, Maddasion said. Coordination between city hall, the Clinton Police and Fire departments and the Clinton Convention and Visitors Bureau will be critical to allow for a smooth execution of the race-day plan and the expected traffic before the race, Maddasion said.
This year will be DeWitt’s first as an overnight stop. DeWitt’s last time on any RAGBRAI route was in 1994 as a pass-through town. The route from Anamosa to DeWitt encompasses 60.3 miles. The climb is 1,690 feet. The route will pass through Oxford Junction, Lost Nation and Calamus.
DeWitt Mayor Don Thiltgen believes it will be a great opportunity for DeWitt to show off the community, he said. If DeWitt were just a pass-through community, it would have little effect on the city’s economy, Thiltgen said. Businesses and non-profit organizations will have the opportunity to realize profits with DeWitt as an overnight stop, he believes. The COVID-19 pandemic created a real hardship for the local economy and this will provide an opportunity to have a positive impact on city businesses, Thiltgen said.
“I frequently hear many positive compliments regarding our community from visitors,” Thiltgen said. “Now we have an opportunity to showcase our gem.“
DeWitt Development and Chamber Director Angela Rheingans and City Administrator Steve Lindner have been working hard and diligently organizing and preparing for the event, Thiltgen said.
Another cross-state ride across Iowa, Iowa’s Ride, is scheduled for the previous week, from July 18 to July 24. The ride will span from Dubuque to Rock Rapids.