The Chainlink


Hey all.  I've been thinking about doing the Dairyland Dare in WI this August.  It seems perfect. I've been looking for rides like this - something greater distance and more challenging.  I'd love to do the Ragbrai across Iowa, but to be honest, i've been looking around for an organized ride with a greater daily mileage.  What happens on a 6 day ride if you can knock out the daily 60-70 miles in a relatively short time..what's to DO the rest of the day?  I like to start early and ride steady and fast.  But if i get to the next checkpoint so early, i think i'd just be waiting around until the following morning.  no?


But i've never done an organized ride like this before so i'm a little hestitant - just because i know so very little about it.  Is the route marked? It can't be, right?  That's just far to many miles to cover.  So what happens if i'm separated from the pack, come to a turn and it's not marked? I've taken long solo trips before and it's no big deal if i get a little sidetracked.  But in this case i'd prefer not to have to stop and try to figure out where i am and where i'm going.


So how to long group rides work, anyway?  Am i completely wrong and course changes would be marked?  Or should i just make damn sure that i keep up with an experienced group and rely on them as a guide?




Oh..and...Go Saints!

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Steven, your assumption about finishing early on a multi-day ride is right. If you're to the rest town by noon, then you don't have much to do other than hang around in town. I suppose you could go back on the day's route backwards then come back to the overnight town.

As far as this year's RAGBRAI is concerned, it's one of the flattest route in the history of the ride. Last year's total climbing was around 23000 feet. This year's is only around 14000 feet - and that's over 6 and a half days mind you.

While RAGBRAI is fun, if you're looking for climbing, riding the Dairyland Dare looks like it would be the better choice this year.

Though you could always do both.
It's not so much the climbing that i that i'm looking for (not that i could avoid it either), i'd just prefer a longer daily route. I'd love to do RAGBRAI though. You're right, i could try both. :)
I'm confused-- the Dairyland Dare seems to be a one-day ride; are you asking about what to do if you get in early in regard to multi-day rides in general?

I can answer the marking question-- yes, all these are marked. There is a lot of distance but remember there are very few turns to mark on rural routes. Sometimes they paint the street, sometimes they place some sort of signs or markers on stakes; sometimes they screw it up badly so it's always a good idea to stay close to others who seem to know what they're doing, because it's no fun discovering you're 10 miles off the course.
My favorite multi-day rides are Cowalunga, TOMRV, and the Hilly Hundred.
While they're not multi-day events, you should check out the Brevets scheduled by Great Lakes Randonneurs (

Check out the Randonneurs group here on Chainlink...
Oops, I forgot I really, really got to like the Michigander.

What do you do when you get in early? Most of these rides have massage therapists on hand. Some serve meals, others leave you on your own for some or all.
First thing you do when you get in is get settled and get a nice shower, then maybe a nap.
Then you seek out the people you've gotten to know that year or on previous years . . . figure out what everyone's doing for dinner; see what the options are for after dinner plans.
You get to know people on these rides and you become like a little family of gypsies moving across the lanscape in your little packs by day, looking after eachother at night.
I swore off these rides because I have too many aches and pains to get any enjoyment out of distance riding anymore, but you're making me want to sign up for them again . . .

Links added below:

H3N3 said:
My favorite multi-day rides are Cowalunga, TOMRV, and the Hilly Hundred.
If you like to ride steady and fast RAGBRAI may not be the ride for you. The draw of RAGBRAI (for us at least) was stopping in the towns along the way and enjoy the food and local attractions. We had an informal rule that we stop at every place that had farm animals that one could pet.

Rides like Dairyland Dare aren't group rides per se, but given the large number of riders, I doubt you would be truly alone at any time.
You'll be given an annotated cue sheet and painted street markers or sign indications may or may not be present. There will be tons of volunteers and riders in spandex. Dairyland Dare is very hilly and challenging and ranks up there with Horribly Hillly. It brings out some tough guns so make sure you get in some solid base training on some hills. Riding hard and fast is easy on flats. Also I would recommend the 100K for your first time. And for the record, the chances are probably reasonably high you may get lost your first ride if you're not familiar with the area. Happens to a lot of people and that 100K just became 125K.
I don't think RAGBRAI and Dairyland Dare represent an apples to apples comparison. If your goal is to push yourself, cover lots of miles, and get to the end as fast as possible, RAGBRAI won't appeal to's more about the ride than the destination. Dairyland Dare, Horribly Hilly Hundred, and Insane Terrain Challenge seem more up your ally.

Last year, I did Dairyland Dare's sister ride, The Insane Terrain Challenge. It was 124 miles, lots and lots of climbing (13,500 feet according to my Garmin)...ending with a 1 mile, 1,000 foot climb into Blue Mounds State Park.

With the constant climbing and decending, it was very difficult to stay in a group. Pacelines don't really work, and since some people are fast on the descent while others are fast on the climbs, people tend to spread out or pair up with someone with similar ability.

The course is very well marked. If you are looking for the markers, it's difficult to get off course. Plus you have a map.

On this particular ride, expect water and food stops about every 25 miles. You get a timing chip with Daryland Dare, so that would enable you to see how your riding stacks up to others.

I hope this helps.
Thanks for all the replies and insight. Dairyland is definitely something i'm going to have to put on my "to-do" list for this summer.
Sweet! We'll check back on August 15th and see if it worked out for you.

Steven said:
Thanks for all the replies and insight. Dairyland is definitely something i'm going to have to put on my "to-do" list for this summer.
I did the Dairyland Dare last year 266K. If you've never done long rides (over 50 miles) I would recommend the 100 K. Other good rides in the area are the Horribly Hilly Hundreds (sold-out the day it open for registration Jan 15) and the Insane Terrain Challenge.

I usually make a few trips before the rides to get some miles with elevation. The roads are good with great scenery and hills (hills!). Good places to stay at are Blue Mounds State Park or Governor Dodge State Park.


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