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RAGBRAI 2019      

Testimonials

Thank-You Notes of 2018

Every year, we hear from Porkers who have nice things to say about our charter, far more than we can publish here.  

Please know that we will always keep it real and work toward improving the next version of PBV.

For good reason, our cheerful and energetic crew get much of the praise below. 

 To everyone who wrote to us after the ride,

We thank you for passing the corn with Pork Belly Ventures.

 

Tammy, I'll just say that I was completely impressed with PBV, and cannot say enough about how much it helped to make my first-ever week in Iowa a smashing success.  I really had no idea what to expect.  RAGBRAI was much more than I imagined, and the PBV experience just kicked it up several notches, and I can't say enough about how much it contributed to my overall experience.  The PBV crew's intense, cheerful helpfulness is like salve on sore legs after a long day en bike.  I appreciated the in-camp meal option, the cold drinks, the outstanding music, and the pickle juice!  The woman who greeted us with towels at the showers (I don't recall her name) had the best smile of the whole bunch all week. PBV is now my gold standard for epic service.  I will be back before long, and probably bring at least a few more friends.  Thank you for the outstanding service you and your crew provide, from invitation letter to farewell letter and everything between.  I look forward to rejoining the pork tribe in Iowa soon.

-- Bob from Washington

 

Pete and Tammy, I own and operate six Panera Bread Cafes in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and  I was incredibly impressed with your organization, the system and processes you had in place, the food, the tents and showers, and most of all the friendliness of your entire staff. Everyone I ran into was friendly and helpful. You guys run a smooth operation and have it down to a science. You both treated me great, when I called at the last minute to get a tent and took the time to answer my questions and help me out. Thanks for a great time at Ragbrai.

—Steve from Minnesota

 

Dear Tammy and Pete,  My first RAGBRAI was spectacular, for many reasons, and among them are you and Pork Belly Ventures. Thank you so much for everything you and your team did to make that so.  In the months leading up to July 21, I had a few questions, and whether it was email or a phone call, you and your team were always so quick to respond. My cousin's flights got messed up coming into Omaha, and, Tammy, you took time to talk that through with him. When his derailleur broke the first day, Pete, you took time to discuss options with me, despite the scores of demands for your attention that afternoon.  And I cannot say enough about your set-up: tents, food, showers, charging trailers, welcome desk, etc. You made things so that all I had to do was cycle for seven days. Now that's a great vacation.  My cousins and I, along with other cousins and my 81-year-old uncle, are already talking about next year. If we do it, I assure you that you'll see us. Again, thank you. I wish you all the best.

—Greg from California

 

While I am not sure that Pork Belly Ventures influenced the great 2018 RAGBRAI weather I'd like to believe you had a little something to do with it.  Once again I felt like family as the temporary city moved west to east across Iowa.  Loved the bands - the Sunday night band was incredible - and the kind helpful staff really sets the mood for everyone in camp to follow their way. Campers and staff all get along great with the example of #IowaNice set by everyone at Pork Belly Ventures.  If you have some spare time could you come run the state of California?  Please? :)

Big Rick from California

 

Tammy and Pete,  You two and your team exude happiness. The smiles are contagious. At the showers, I asked Amy, a paramedic in real life, how she kept her smile. She said, “ A day and a half to go.”  She called herself one of the three-letter ladies. She has been at the showers for all my years with PBV. She is always happy. Dave, Kim, Kay, Kris, Grace, Goober, and countless others make the week with you a treat for me and Gary.

Everything seemed to glisten this year. You reinvest in the infrastructure. New flags for the front desk, laundry etc.  New floors in the Phat rooms. The trucks, trailers all looked super clean. I have run a fleet of 138 pieces of rolling stock for the last thirty years.  Before that I was part of a team with 350 trucks in New York City. Great job!

I am Catholic, and each year we hunt for Mass on Sat night. In Onawa, we found a small church filled with standing room only, about 400 this year.  The full voice responses of 400 people is overwhelming to me. The singing of the hymns is equally impressive.

My wish for the two of you: Get REST and keep your spirit.  Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

—Tom from New York

 

Tammy and Pete, I have said it before and I will say it again, I can't imagine doing RAGBRAI without the support PBV provides.  You all anticipate what we need and make sure that it is available to us.  It's nice to have a "home" to come to after the long ride every day.  You make sure we have food available, hot showers, flush toilets, and charged phones--it's truly amazing!  Please send my thanks to your very patient staff that makes this happen each day of the ride.  And my thanks to you all for coordinating this enormous operation year after year.  I hate saying goodbye to Iowa, so I won't.  I will simply say until we meet again.  Thank you.

—Hillary from Maryland

 

Tammy/Pete,  I wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed your Pork Belly services for RAGBRAI this year. This was my second RAGBRAI and first time with PBV, and the services and organization were phenomenal. In my career, I have been a business owner and responsible for construction crews of 50-60 people on tight schedules for industrial facilities, and I thought that took coordination. I am in awe of what you and your crew had to accomplish every day, and even more impressive is that it got accomplished.

I would also like to compliment you on the attitude of your staff. Those people are amazing. I never met one that was unfriendly or unwilling to help, from the time I dropped off my bike Friday night till I took my shower in Davenport the following Saturday. To say they were friendly, cordial and helpful is an understatement. To have staff that organized with stellar attitudes says a lot about your processes and systems, but even more about how you treat people in your organization.  RAGBRAI 2018 was a success for me and you were a big part of that. PBV will be my outfitter of choice for future RAGBRAI’s and any other events you support that I would ride.

—Brad from Iowa                                                                  

 

Tammy and Pete, Your team performance was the best ever in my five years.  It really was a stellar performance. You both did a great job of planning and execution. I have for five years been an absentee family member from our annual family gathering on the Georgia coast.  It is time for me to return as a participant before they kick me out!  I’ll miss my time in the corn immensely.  Ragbrai and especially Pork Belly have given me so much joy over the years.   There will be a void in my soul to which I will both be sad and thankful; sad that I am not there but thankful for the memories.  You both are miracle workers that have grown a business that is so much more than debits and credits.  You have created a unique experience that goes deep and makes us remember.  Good memories are hard to come by.  Thanks for the many that will forever be mine.  Your friend,

—Gaines from Mississippi

 

Dear Tammy & Pete, and really all the Pork Belly crew,  This is was my twenty-third year riding across Iowa.  My grandchildren refer to it as spending six months of my life riding across Iowa. Most of those trips have been with Pork Belly Ventures. I am still amazed at how everyone on the Pork Belly team makes it appear so effortless in going about the everyday task of moving a mass of humanity and supplies from one camp ground to another…with a smile on their faces and a kind word to everyone they come in contact with. When I tell people back home how well this works and how many people are involved, they simply don’t believe it. I have never come across anyone in the Pork Belly team that had a harsh word or anything bad to say about anything. We can all learn much by watching the Pork Belly team in action.  Some things and some people in life you simply can’t say thank you enough. Just to say thanks doesn’t seem like enough.  To say the Pork Belly team has made a dramatic change in peoples lives would be putting it mildly.  Thank you all so much.

—Leo from Illinois

 

What an amazing week you guys provided for us.  I lost it during the singing of Hallelujah on Friday night.  I’ve only done two RAGBRAI's and they have both been with your team. I can't imagine sleeping anywhere other than PBVs tent city.  Thanks.

—Rick from Georgia

 

Tammy and Pete, Just wanted to say thank you for all you did to make RAGBRAI a wonderful experience. This was my third RAGBRAI and my third time with Pork Belly

Ventures. Each year, the services you provided have been superb. You and your crew do an amazing job. Having spent most my career in the military, I am in awe at how well you execute the complex movement between sites and how well you coordinate every detail. I have nothing but praise for you and the Pork Belly Ventures crew. Thanks and best regards,

—Ty from Virginia

 

Whoever packed my bike did a beautiful job! Please extend my appreciation. Thank you for EVERYTHING. Wonderful support for the ride.  5 ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️

—Donna from California

 

Tammy and Pete, Thanks a bunch for what you do to ensure an enjoyable time at RAGBRAI. Not sure if many know the amount of work/effort you all put in, before and during!  A long way from a few hundred riders and a few Ryder trucks you had years ago. Quite the set up, and you continually think of ways to make the event more enjoyable for all.  Really appreciate the efforts of all involved.  As you know, your Pork Crew is what keeps me coming back. Love them all!!!  OK, I enjoy the little bike ride, too!  Just got home after a brief detour through WY and UT for some mountain biking. Looking forward to visiting, riding, and laughing at some of your upcoming events. Take care!

—Bry from Arizona

 

Tammy,  I wanted to take a moment to thank you for hosting an awesome experience. Your operation was extremely impressive and provided us with all that we could have asked for and expected from your website and overall description. The people were awesome in every way.  The RAGBRAI experience was everything I expected, glad I did it, and you played a large part in that.  It was awesome. I look forward to considering doing it again, and if I do, I won’t do it any other way.

—Ralph from New Hampshire

 

Hi Tammy,  Simply exceeded expectations, great job with everything!  Actually, when I spoke with you on the phone last January, you warned me about lines and crowded roads, but I did not find lines to be an issue.  My approach was get up early, ride hard and get ahead of the masses.  As a result, I had great views of the beautiful sun rises each day and soaked in miles of corn, soybeans, silos, grain elevators...along with the rolling hills, very different than my rides in Massachusetts.  Only when the Karras loop re-connected did I experience the other RAGBRAI, but on that day I was riding with a likeminded 60+ and we still managed a quick pace without any issues.  My thanks to the entire PBV crew for their work and hospitality so I only had to focus on riding and scenery! Thanks and take care,

—Pete of Massachusetts

 

My team captain had chosen PBV in advance because of prior experience.  Remembering dealing with a wet tent for a week back in 2006, I chose your tent service as well.  I was second-guessing paying the additional amount.  But by the second day, I was grateful for the tent service, and others on my team are considering it more seriously in coming years now! I must say that RAGBRAI + PBV  is The Vail of Bicycle Tour Support!  I am sure I enjoyed my week at RAGBRAI at least as much as many of my ski trips.  I don't know if I can do this every year, but I will definitely choose PBV for future editions of RAGBRAI.

—Richard from Illinois

 

I had a great time and thought Pork Belly did a great job.  Everyone that works for PB was very friendly and helpful.  Thank you,

—Jack from Utah

 

Just a quick note on my first RAGBRAI.  My riding partner and I talked about on the drive home, what could we say to provide feedback to you?  In the end, not too much.  What impressed us most was the people. Every single interaction with PBV staff was positive.  I travel 130 nights a year.  Hilton and Marriott could take lessons from PBV.  That type of result is not an accident.  Kudos to your talent processes.  Yes you can train for it.  But we thought, wow they are really doing a good job at hiring the right people that have out-going positive attitudes to start with.  Well done.  

We can suggest only minor tweaks for improvements.  Your processes are solid and you have great people.  A winning combination. 

—Tim from Wisconsin

 

Dear PBV, My stay with you guys was AWESOME, AWESOME, AWESOME!!  Thanks for all you do to, so that we don't have to do it with our tired and weary bodies at the end of our rides!!

—Malcolm from New York

 

Tammy, Thanks so much!  I only used your shuttles from Omaha and to Quad cities and shipped my bike.  I like the challenge of being self-supporting; I am also a distance backpacker.  Your logistics were great, your team was helpful and friendly.  I have used your shuttles and shipping back before and will probably again - if my family lets me go!  No complaints.  Not even any suggestions, and that is unusual from me!

—Steve from New Jersey

 

Best week ever.  Well done.  Tyler and I had a terrific time.  No complaints.  Get some rest. All the best,

—Mark from Arizona

 

Hi Tammy,  Thanks for a fabulous RAGBRAI this year!  It all went smoothly from my perspective and was a great experience.  I’m fortunate Ed was able to make it! [Editor’s note:  Mary’s brother Ed rode with a shoulder injury!]  Have a good remainder of the summer, Tammy!

—Mary from California

 

Tammy, A big thank you to Pete and the whole Pork crew. Great RAGBRAI and even better weather.  I will be sure to take the survey when it goes on the app, but your update made me remember I have meaning to tell you this. IMHO, best Pork grub yet, both in quantity and quality. I think I missed the Tuesday night in Ames, but the other dinners were great.   My best--

—Jim from Arizona

 

Tammy,  I wanted to thank you and everyone at Pork Belly Ventures for making this year’s RAGBRAI unforgettable. The services that PBV provided were invaluable.  On my return shuttle ride to Eppley Airport I had the privilege of sitting with a couple from Colorado, Hal and Sandy, who were delightful. They were staying in the Pork Suites and were raving about how nice it was sleeping in air conditioning and not having to pack their gear everyday. I know I had you place me on the waiting list, but I was curious to see if I might be able to procure one for next years RAGBRAI. Thanks all your efforts on our behalf, during this year’s RAGBRAI. Stephanie, Jonah and I are most appreciative. Best regards,

—Rick from Texas

 

Tammy, I first heard about RAGBRAI about forty years ago and I finally had the opportunity to go this year.  Thank you and your team for making it such a wonderful, unforgettable experience.  I hope join you again before my bicycling days are over.  Again, thank you for a great time.

—John from Oregon

 

My daughter and I thought PBV was excellent once again. Cheers and thanks for providing us an excellent ride.

—Brad from Virginia 

 

This was my first RAGBRAI, but certainly not my last! I had heard stories of RAGBRAI for years, but now I know that you must experience RAGBRAI to understand the scale and magnificence of this annual event. The people, the food, the rides, and the team buses were truly amazing. Thanks to PBV for all your help!  I enjoyed my week in the corn, livin' like a PIG!

—Jim of North Carolina

 

Pete & Tammy, I requested and paid for a cross-Iowa bus ride.  I received: A hearty welcome, directions for parking and bus pick-up, the paid-for bus ride, a welcome to PBV camp, an invitation to stay for the night, plans to capture other Team Navy riders coming on Saturday, plans to transport Team Navy riders to their host-home, offer of all of PBV services for the evening and the next day, personal transportation of myself and all of the Team Navy PBV bus riders to our host-home, an invitation to utilize PBV services throughout the week, if needed.  Holy Pork, what customer service!  May God continue to bless you both,

—Dizzy (Jim) of Ohio

 

I want to say thank you for being a big part of our very successful RAGBRAI adventure a few weeks ago.  PBV provided everything we needed (including some things that had not occurred to us) for a great week of riding across Iowa.  I am pleased that we could join the PBV tribe, and create a big mess of great memories.  Cheers,

—Bob

 

In addition to the sampling of Thank-You Notes above,

here are a few responses to our survey question,

“What was your most memorable moment with Pork Belly Ventures

during RAGBRAI 2018?”

 

You guys are saints. And your staff is too! No matter the heat, the lines, the confusion or anything else, my family’s greatest experience from PBV is the way you all take care of us in our week in the corn. I talk more about PBV than I do the ride itself when I tell people about RAGBRAI.

--Jason and Family from Omaha

 

I can’t say as I had a most memorable experience as much as just an overall great experience the whole week. I can’t imagine doing this ride without the support. Probably everyday just having a great shower made my day. I thought the food vendors were great and the dinners, of which I bought all of them, were truly filling and delicious.

--Rod from Virginia

 

Brought a rookie, brother in law Mike. He was blown away by how smooth PBV operates. For once, my hyperbole matched reality. PBV once again delivered a superlative Ragbrai experience.  My buddy Jerry and I are six-timers with PVB, and as long as we ride, you guys are our partners.

--Brian from Illinois

 

The friendliness and helpfulness of the crew is a standout. Everywhere I went in camp, I was greeted by crew who had smiles on their faces, and who seemed genuinely interested in helping out in any way they could. When I was parched, I knew I’d always get friendly service, a beverage, and a joke that would keep me laughing.

--Steve from New Jersey

 

My back getting absolutely FIXED by my massage from Chelsey! She made it so I could ride all week!!!

--Sarah from Oregon

 

The entire week was fabulous. Meeting new friends and PBV running such a seamless program from drinks, showers, dinner, entertainment, yoga, etc. Workers were great! It created a stress-free environment to allow me to enjoy my vacation. Thanks!

--Phyllis from British Columbia

 

There is nothing else in the world, quite like RAGBRAI. Pork Belly makes my life easy, so I experience as much of it as possible, while they take care of the details.

--Mickey from Nebraska

 

Being a RAGBRAI and Pork Belly first timer the entire week was one of the most memorable weeks in my life. However the final night in camp singing Hallelujah was such an emotional moment for me, and I will always cherish that memory.

--Sam from Texas

 

The bands were great! Also loved the bugle lady...  “if you’re happy and you know it clap your hands” was a fun way to get going for the day.

--Karen from Illinois

 

You guys saved us from being tentless when we forgot to signup for the correct service. AND also memorable… Nick singing to the girls in the shower line!

--Jillian from Michigan

 

I got in late once, and dinner was over.  I asked to buy a can of soda. The gal, one of your crew chiefs, came back with a soda and dinner—a plate covered with foil.  This is an example of what PBV is and does. Anything to make your week more enjoyable.

--Dale from Iowa

 

It's like going to sleep-away camp when you were a kid...seeing your Ragbrai friends, hearing Bart yell your name across the parking lot, seeing how all of the PBV have grown over the past year, and the list goes on!

--Jeff from Pennsylvania

 

My first time riding RAGBRAI and first experience with PBV. What stands out are the hard working staff and the logistics of pulling this off.  Great job by all.

--Tom from Illinois

 

With my day job being as a director of operations for a luxury hotel the one thing I noticed and found most memorable were the employees. Your team always seemed to have smiles on their faces no matter what time of the day it was. I will always remember the warm welcome each day upon my return to camp when I went to the showers and each and every morning when the guys working the luggage always seemed excited to assist.

--Nick from Arkansas

 

Everything was so well run and convenient. Loved the entertainment.  Mobile showers are such a big benefit.  Blown away by the entertainment. Will definitely use Pork Belly in the future.

--Andy from Minnesota

 

My most memorable Pork Belly experience was probably just the feeling of being done at the end of the day and having great bands play. It’s a great feeling to be so physically tired for a good reason and then just relax with music. The bands you bring to the camp are really phenomenal.

--Dan from Ohio

 

Pork Belly makes RAGBRAI memorable because it takes out a lot of the headache that can come with RAGBRAI. It makes things very easy and you can focus on the ride/ having fun.

--Hayley from Texas