Gene Bisbee has this to say to do myth-busting comparing the elevation of the RAGBRAI and Ride the Rockies bike tours, take a look at the article to see hardest day comparisons along with average days and enough stats to make everyone happy.
From his article:
In terms of elevation gain — which should really be the yardstick for comparing a flat ride and a mountainous ride — there’s not much difference between the two.
The total elevation gain for the 2011 Ride the Rockies bike route announced on Sunday is 21,604 feet. I was amazed by that total, until I went back to check the RAGBRAI route and discovered that cyclists in “flat” Iowa would climb 21,206 feet.
It was news to me that RAGBRAI rivaled Ride the Rockies in difficulty, so I hunted around the Internet until I found the expert on RAGBRAI trivia. That’s Rich Ketcham, a software consultant who has been crunching all the RAGBRAI numbers and has them all online at GeoBike.com.