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Glenwood Going After RAGBRAI

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Bicycle Trek Across Iowa Last Started in Glenwood in '03

By Joe Foreman, Editor

    It’s been seven years since the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) last started in Glenwood.

    The Glenwood Area Chamber of Commerce believes it’s time to bring the colorful bicyclists back to town.
    Linda Washburn, executive director of the chamber of commerce, has been putting the finishing touches on the city’s formal application to serve as a RAGBRAI host city in 2011. The application must be submitted by Aug. 15 for Glenwood to be considered for next year’s ride across the state of Iowa.
    “The new high school is done and the chamber board has decided that somebody would have to take the initiative,” Washburn said. “The route for next year won’t be announced until Janaury, but we want to be ready if we’re selected.”
    In addition to completing the application, the chamber has secured letters of support for hosting the ride from the City of Glenwood, Mills County Board of Supervisors and the Mills County Historical Museum.
    Washburn said the chamber board believes there are many “positives” associated with having RAGBRAI come to the community.
    “This is the longest-standing and largest bicycle ride in the world. I think we look at it to showcase Glenwood, southwest Iowa and the Loess Hills,” Washburn said. “There are also some economic benefits. I certainly hope it would be financially beneficial for our local businesses, organizations and clubs to have RAGBRAI in Glenwood.
    “RAGBRAI also gives people in our community the opportunity to work together with other people in our community who they might not get to know normally.”
    Washburn said should Glenwood be selected to be a host city for RAGBRAI, public safety will be the top priority for the community.
    Later this year, probably in the fall, the chamber plans to host a public meeting to gauge interest in RAGBRAI and to recruit potential volunteers that might want to serve on the various committees needed to host the event.
    “We have a list already of people who want to assist,” Washburn said. “We feel like there’s a level of enthusiasm building.”
    Glenwood has served as the starting point for RAGBRAI five times, most recently in 2003. The ride also came to Glenwood in 1980, 1984, 1989 and 1992.
    Washburn said the chamber wanted to wait until the new high school was completed before attempting to host the ride again. In past years, the area that now houses the high school has served as a campground site for RAGBRAI.