RAGBRAI is a statistician’s dream any way you slice it — by the number of riders, the miles traveled, the feet of climb, the calories burned. It’s the kind of thing that appeals to a certain kind of brain, especially when that brain is gliding down the road in a helmet with plenty of time to think.
When we asked RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz to rattle off a few stats, his first response was this: “The magic number of RAGBRAI is the number ‘ridiculous.’”
But he started off our by-the-numbers list with a stunner:
32,000: The number of cyclists the Iowa State Patrol counted on the 56 miles between Boone and Altoona during the ride two years ago. If that were a city, it would rank 16th on a list of Iowa’s biggest, right between Bettendorf (33,217) and Mason City (28,079). For further comparison, there are about 32,000 students currently enrolled in the Des Moines public schools.
105: The heat index on that day two years ago. If Tuesday is cooler, Juskiewicz said, the cakewalk from Perry to Des Moines could easily become the single biggest day in RAGBRAI history.
$20: The price for one of the official host-city T-shirts from the East Village shop Raygun. The design features a bike wheel rising over the city skyline and the tagline “Des Moines: Even Better in Spandex.” Cyclists can have the logo silkscreened onto their own jerseys for $10.
10,000: The riders with official registrations. The slots filled up months ago.
49.9: The miles on Tuesday’s route from Perry to Des Moines.
1,308: The feet of climb on Tuesday’s route, about twice the height of the state’s tallest building at 801 Grand.
19,025: The lines of computer code in RAGBRAI’s interactive app, which features 11 different maps, weather forecasts, news alerts and more photo galleries than a rider can shake a pork chop at.
41: The ride’s age. If your Roman numerals are rusty, that’s XLI — one year more than last year’s extra-large anniversary.
750: The number of local volunteers helping with Tuesday’s events in Des Moines.
20: The number of beers on tap at the Iowa Craft Beer Truck, parked Tuesday at the Principal Riverwalk downtown.
4 feet, 5 inches: The height of Little Kato, one of the contenders in the wrestling matches scheduled from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday at the Longest Yard bar in Dallas Center, Tuesday’s midpoint town. Another contender is Starla Love, formerly of Hulk Hogan’s Micro Championship Wrestling.
4: The number of “Jersey Boys” who will sing a short set in Tuesday night’s entertainment lineup. The cast is in town for a run Wednesday though Aug. 4 at the Des Moines Civic Center.
4: The number of previous times Des Moines has hosted riders overnight — on the first year, in 1973, then 1988, 1992 and 1997.
4: The number of international media outlets that interviewed RAGBRAI Director Juskiewicz — in a single day — after he announced that Lance Armstrong would return to this year’s ride. Reporters from CNN and ABC called, too.
1990s: The decade in which Tuesday night’s headliner bands reached their peaks. They are Everclear, Live, Filter and Sponge.
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