About Us and About RAGBRAI

Dear Friends,

Thank you for your interest in Pork Belly Ventures and RAGBRAI. 

The Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa is the biggest bike ride in the world, a moving festival whose route from the Muddy Missouri to the Mighty Mississippi is characterized by hills and heat, pigs and ponds, barns and silos, and rows of corn all the way to the horizon. As one of the 10,000-plus cyclists from all over the world who converge on Iowa every summer during the last week of July, you can expect a step back in time, an athletic challenge, friendly and interesting fellow riders, and all the pie, watermelon, sweet corn and hospitality your Iowa hosts can dish out. We invite you to come and pass the corn!

For over twenty years, we at Pork Belly have devoted much of each summer to planning, strategizing, and coordinating our ever-better services for the benefit of our team members. Our hardy Porkers come from all walks of life--cardiologists and teachers, stock brokers and firemen, grandparents and gen-Xers--and from all over the country and the world. We serve long-time friends and first-time RAGBRAIers every summer. While we love to welcome our old buddies back to Iowa, meeting new ones and sharing a first RAGBRAI with a newcomer are great pleasures, too. So, if you're friendly and you regularly exercise your sense of humor, you'll be right at home with Pork Belly Ventures.

You're probably wondering about a few things, and we'll put a bit more info below. Under the Details tab and in our Invitation Letter, you can learn a whole lot about what we provide on RAGBRAI.

Who runs this thing? Pork Belly Ventures (PBV) is operated by Pete Phillips and Tammy Pavich (my brother and me). We've been on this ride for over 30 years, 11 of them on bikes, and more than 20 years running PBV. We know what a rider needs and we pride ourselves on making improvements to our service every year. Our family and our large crew help us take care of our riders.

We are lifelong Iowans. Pete and Kay have raised three kids here. I, Tammy, married a Porker from Hawaii (Mike) and lived in Honolulu for a while. But we've been back home for seven years now and live in Council Bluffs, near the Omaha airport, mowing our Iowa lawns and paying our Iowa taxes. Our dad grew up here, and so did his dad. Our siblings live here. We have a big barn in the country where we store the Pork Infrastructure throughout the year.

What does PBV expect of its team members? Very little, really. Be good to our crew. Read your email updates and do what they say. Tell jokes if you know any. Help us learn your names. Be friendly and courteous to our crew. Keep our campsites clean. Be pleasant to our crew. Don't miss an opportunity to help a fellow Porker. Be of good cheer. Roll with it. And above all, be nice to our crew.

What are the dates of the ride? The ride always occurs during the last FULL week in July. The seven-day ride is Sunday to Saturday. That means that we will meet up with most of you on the Saturday immediately prior to the ride, either at the Omaha airport, at the Mississippi River ride's-end town (for the east/west shuttle), or at the first host town campground.

How can I find out this year's route? Check www.ragbrai.org. The Des Moines Register (ride sponsor) typically announces the route in late January. We cannot establish our pricing for services until the route is announced, but when the announcement is made, we'll get our prices and invitation letter on our website and in the mail asap. Whether or not the route has been announced, you can always plan to fly into and out of Omaha, and Pork Belly Ventures will get you to/from the bike ride smoothly and comfortably.

How do I get an official RAGBRAI XXXIII Wristband? Go to www.ragbrai.org and download the official Des Moines Register entry form and waiver, complete them, and send them and your fee to the Register by the deadline of April 1st. By May, you'll know whether you're chosen. If you are not selected, NO WORRIES, you can get one from one of the many people who have to cancel their Iowa plans. Each year, many people call us to find a buyer for their wristband, and we've never failed to find a wristband for someone. We fully support the Register, so you must have an official wristband to travel with us.

What services can be purchased from Pork Belly Ventures? Please see our invitation letter, clickable from the home page. Pay special attention to the description of our Weeklong Support. We hope we don't sound immodest when we say that having PBV as your RAGBRAI home base may be the best money you spend on your Iowa cycling vacation.

How much do these services cost? Please email us for pricing.

Can I have a good time on RAGBRAI without training very much? When pigs fly. Simple concept: The more you train, the more fun you'll have. Some say you need 500 miles under your belt before coming to Iowa. Some say more. Ride hills. Ride day-after-day. Make friends with your saddle. Read our tips.

Why do people ride RAGBRAI? RAGBRAI can change your life. We know a lot of people who have come to Iowa for a break from their hectic lives and never been the same. You wouldn't think that breaking camp at the crack of dawn, riding seventy-five miles a day, standing in line for portapotties, and sleeping on the ground would have a favorable effect on one's personality. But, there's just something about it--the laid-back feeling, the constant laughter, the camaraderie, the beauty of that stream of bikes as far as you can see, the good-ache in muscles, hard earned pie-and-ice-cream, and the impact of small kindnesses from others on a daily basis--that just sticks with you. This ride attracts friendly, healthy people like you. We thank you for your interest in our charter and we hope you'll give us the chance to welcome you to Pork Belly and to Iowa.

All the best, and may the wind be at your back. 

Tammy (Phillips) Pavich and Pete Phillips 
712/328-0161 h, 808-375-8921 c, tammypav@aol.com 
  402-681-2613 c, petephillips@cox.net