RAGBRAI cyclists preview Fairfield
A team of two dozen RAGBRAI cyclists descended on Fairfield Friday afternoon.
The group of RAGBRAI officials rode the route more than a month in advance to test out the road conditions along the 407-mile journey. While in Fairfield, the riders enjoyed the sights and sounds of Fairfield’s 1st Fridays Art Walk in the downtown and then spent the night. They awoke Saturday morning to travel to Fort Madison, the route’s final stop.
Fairfield’s “Ride Right” RAGBRAI committee joined the cyclists when they arrived in Packwood so they could all ride into Fairfield together. Some of the local cyclists continued on with the RAGBRAI officials and rode to Fort Madison the next day.
RAGBRAI officials who went on the ride included RAGBRAI director T.J. Juskiewicz, assistant director Scott Garner and RAGBRAI media manager Andrea Parrott. They were joined by Nate Kaeding, a retired placekicker who played professional football for the San Diego Chargers for nine seasons.
The RAGBRAI officials updated the blog on the official ragbrai.com website after each stop. The website states the riders found the route between Fairfield and Fort Madison more challenging than the route between Oskaloosa and Fairfield. The ride from Oskaloosa to Fairfield is 52 miles, while the ride from Fairfield to Fort Madison is 62 miles.
Parrott wrote on the blog Friday was a perfect day for cycling. She wrote the route from Oskaloosa to Fairfield was the easiest day of the week since it is short and has only 1,222 feet of climb compared to the 2,800 feet of climb on the route to Fort Madison.
“We left Oskaloosa with a slight rain and cool temps, but it burned off by late morning,” Parrott wrote. “Everyone was in a chipper mood as we did not experience too many hills on the day’s ride.”
The website also noted the final day of riding was particularly hilly.
“Most of the climbs were departing the villages of Van Buren communities that are along the Des Moines River as we climb out of the river valley,” Parrott wrote.
Julie Harvey, a member of the Ride Right committee, said the RAGBRAI officials were impressed with Fairfield’s restaurants and the power wagon display that weekend.
Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce board member Terry Baker said Garner wished he could have stayed more days in Fairfield because there was so much to do.
“They really had a lot of fun during art walk,” Baker said.
Fairfield will be the final overnight stop for RAGBRAI, which comes to town July 26.