STORM LAKE, Iowa -- The Des Moines Register is staging the annual RAGBRAI Route Inspection, Pre-ride this week. About 30 riders are taking the actual route RAGBRAI will follow July 19-25. The route will cover 468 miles across the state, and go through eight to ten towns per day.
"We're out pretty much meeting with the towns, seeing what their plans are," said RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz. "We're seeing what their plans are for RAGBRAI, looking at road conditions, traffic patterns, making sure we have a safe and enjoyable RAGBRAI."
Going through towns RAGBRAI hasn't visited before is a priority.
"We're always looking to pick up additional towns," Juskiewicz said. "We'll pick up 10 (new) pass-through towns."
Juskiewicz added the ride has never been to Manson, and has not been through Newell since 1974.
Though this route is fairly flat by comparison," Juskiewicz said. "Anytime you have headwinds, it can make your ride tougher."
He added that there were some hills coming from Sioux City to Storm Lake.
"The ride is definitely sold out," Juskiewicz said. "So we'll have over 15,000 people riding."
He said for the night-time entertainment, you can expect 25,000 to 30,000 people descend on the overnight towns entertainment areas.
The ride may look like a vacation, but that might not describe how this week is going.
"Part of it is fun, but when you are battling 15 mile an hour headwinds like we did yesterday, I don't know if I'd call that fun," Juskiewicz said.
"A lot of riding, a lot of shooting," said Register Journalist Bryon Houlgrave. "There's a lot of social media involved, so we try to stay caught up with Twitter and try to send out a few Instagrams."
Houlgrave also provides photos for the Des Moines Register pages as well. He uses a small Go-Pro video camera to record what it looks like in each town riders will come to.