RAGBRAI 2019      

Pork Belly Update #10--A Pork Miscellany

June 26, 2018

Dear Porkers,


The June Letter is out. Yet we have this odd collection of topics to which we we want to draw your attention. Some of these are in the letter, but we'd like to highlight them. Others are time-sensitive. We put the fun stuff at the end.


So here we go with A Pork Miscellany, and let's begin with...




The June Form--Where to Find It

Congratulations to 61% of our Porkers who have their June Form handled less than 24 hours after it was activated. That might be a record.


We've given these instructions in the June Letter, but as they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. Below, you'll see our big blue arrow pointing at your June Form tab, the green one on the right, across from your name on the left. There's a June Form tab across from the name of every rider on an application, and we need a completed June Form for everyone.

Applications with More Than One Person

Sometimes people complete the June Form for the first person on the application only. This is not good. That person gets a seat on a coach. The rest are in limbo until their June Forms are done. Be sure you complete the form for everyone on the application, please.

Half Hoggers and the June Form

Half Hoggers, we should have told you this... if you are using either our Omaha shuttle to Onawa or the E/W shuttle, we do need a little info from you on your June Form. If you're not using either shuttle, you can enter the words "day passes" in the Official RAGBRAI Wristband fields, and you're done.


Remember please, that you can't check in for your partial week with Pork Belly Ventures until you have those RAGBRAI daily wristbands on your wrist.

While You're Logged IN: Common Group Name

If you and your friends don't have a common group name on your applications.... sorry, but you just can't complain if your tents are not next to each other or if you ride across the state on separate coaches. It's last call, Porkers, for entering group names on your applications.


The website is our passenger-sorting, bus-departure-management, tent-grid-making software. In all of these instances, a group name tells us who is with whom.


Some of our helpers are not aware that Tom always sits next to Jane, or that one group of friends has always been next to another group in Tent City. We won't know that this year. Not without a common group name. 


BELOW: These friends belong together, and God bless them, they put a common group name on all applications. Last call for group names!

While You're Logged IN: Check Your Balance

If your balance is not zero, do take care of it. At some point we have to cancel unpaid applications so that we're dealing with real numbers. Thank you for taking care of your balance due.

The June Letter

It's the PBV Travel Guidebook, and it's up on our homepage. It's now a Top Tab on the App. Nobody needs to read all of it. Everybody needs to scan for the information relevant to his/her RAGBRAI.

Mode of Payment

You are welcome to mail your check until July 7th. That will allow you to avoid a credit card fee.


After July 7th, the only way to settle your balance is by credit card.



Room Blocks in Omaha, Release Dates

For our room blocks on Friday 7/20 at both the Candlewood Suites and Best Western Plus hotels, unclaimed rooms will be released on 7/1. To get our rate and access to our block, call these local numbers, and do it soon!


Best Western Plus (formerly Holiday Inn), 402/505-4900

Candlewood Suites, 402-342-2500


For our room blocks on Saturday 7/28 at both the Candlewood Suites and Best Western Plus hotels, unclaimed rooms will be released on 7/8. To get our rate and access to our blocks, call the local numbers above.

Change in Omaha Airport Shuttle and Omaha Airport Parking

We have now begun working with Stewarts Airport Parking in Omaha. This info is covered in the June Letter, but some veterans are used to the old arrangements and might miss it. So here's a quick summary.


If you fly into Omaha on Friday, claim bags, go outside, and board the Stewarts Van. Give the driver the name of your hotel: Best Western Plus or Candlewood Suites. Sleep well. We'll be outside in the Candlewood lot bright and early Saturday morning.


If you fly into Omaha on Saturday, our crew will greet you at baggage claim. They will direct you to the Stewarts van. Say "Candlewood." See you there.


If you drive to Omaha, come to one of our two side-by-side hotels. At the front desk of the hotel, either of them will offer to valet your car for free to Stewarts Airport Parking. While sheltered parking space lasts, they'll offer you a rate of $5 per day (that's a special deal), or outdoor parking for $4 a day.


For more information, please see your June Letter, the fourth section all about Omaha.




We'll be printing and mailing labels this weekend. If you ordered shipping labels from SendMyBike.com, you should receive them late next week.

Serfas Hard-Shell Bike Cases

PBV has a small inventory of Serfas cases that retail for $350. We can ship it free. Order by emailing Pete, and ask about your $50 credit.





Attention: Anybody Bringing a CPAP Machine for Tent-Camping?

Write to me now, please. Even if you wrote to me earlier in the season, let me make sure I have you on my list. Let me know if you didn't receive our letter about using a CPAP with PBV. We want to be clear about what we can and cannot do.

The Loooong Days

As you know, Monday is 71.7 miles. We heard from folks who did the RAGBRAI pre-ride that this is the most challenging day.


Thursday is 68.6 miles, with the option of the century loop.


Pork Belly Ventures is planning to help you every day, but especially on those long ones. For instance...

HOT BREAKFAST: You'll wake up on Monday morning thinking of that long day ahead. Well, starting at 4:30 a.m., the Pork Producers of Crawford County will offer pancakes and sausage on the grill, in addition to our usual grab-and-go breakfast items. It's not often we get a hot breakfast in Pork Camp. Those cakes will get you a little further down the road before you need to stop again.


Watch updates... we may have another hot breakfast.

BELOW: A church supper in Red Oak, Iowa, years ago.

´╗┐Someone is getting her just desserts!

SUPPER IN CAMP: A 70-miler can take it out of you, but we'll put it back in.


On both Monday night and Thursday nights, thank goodness, when you come home to Pork Camp, we'll have supper waiting for you. For those of you who remember, we've worked with Lidderdale Country Store many times, and they'll be cooking up pork medallions in au jus on Monday, with red roasted potatoes, their great salads and sides, plus a dinner roll.


On Thursday, we will stay with Father Charles and the kind congregation of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Sigourney. The ladies are cooking our dinner that night--beef and noodles, mashed potatoes, green beans, a warm dinner roll, and homemade pie for dessert.


We'll publish ALL SIX dinner menus soon, including vegetarian alternatives to the entree. Sunday, Wednesday, and Friday are included with Weeklong Support. You'll have the chance to purchase any optional dinner upon check-in in Onawa. Here, we just wanted you to know that we have you covered on the long days!


BELOW: A planning meeting in Sigourney at St. Mary's. Father Charles, Jenny, Tammy, and Shannon. These folks are in contention for the sweetest hosts Pork Belly Ventures has ever had. And that's saying something.

[You can't sign up for optional dinners in advance, sorry. That happens in Onawa.]


BELOW: At St. Mary's, there's an English Walnut tree whose branches touch the ground. Father Charles showed me that it's bearing fruit this year. I envy those who will set up their tents under this majestic tree. The grounds are absolutely lovely.

ENTERTAINMENT: We don't want to steal too much thunder from our most exciting update (coming soon), but suffice it to say that we have booked some wonderful entertainment on stage, like the energetic and hilarious Missouri Stompgrass Band below. Wait till you hear that fiddle.

SAG RESERVATIONS: Some people have already decided to forego the ride on Monday, just to make the rest of their week go better. We aren't trying to persuade you, but if you already know that you want to sag on any day of RAGBRAI, you can write to Dave Kennedy now, dave@pkbelly.com, and he will make your reservation for $25 per day.


BELOW: Make a sag reservation in advance, and take your coffee on the coach.

MASSAGE: Our wonderful massage coordinator, Julie, has informed us that her ten tables are filling up on Monday and Thursday. If you want to make massage appointments with any of our ten talented therapists on any day of RAGBRAI (Sunday through Friday), please contact Julie now at massage@pkbelly.com.


Of course, there are many other ways that PBV will provide your happy home base on every day of RAGBRAI. But if you're a little worried about the long days, Porkers, take heart. Remember the options and comforts above.

Massage Appointments for Any Day, Sunday through Friday

Prime times fill up, even before RAGBRAI begins. So if massage is important to you, we encourage you to contact Julie in advance. You can write to her with the following info...


  • day of massage appointment request
  • hour of day
  • duration of massage
  • preference of male or female therapist (most of our therapists are women)


Write to massage@pkbelly.com.

Pork Yoga

We at PBV were delighted when Kim Stackman contacted us. She is going to lead a Pork Yoga class every day, and below you'll find her message to all of you.

"Hello there, Pork Belly riders. I teach yoga and Pilates back home in Virginia, but my favorite way to reach out to others is to teach during weeklong bike rides. I have taught at several state rides and many resorts. I can't wait to meet you all. I will also be a fellow Pork Belly rider, so I will know exactly what muscles need stretching and many ways to feel alive after a hot tough day. All levels are welcome. Love beginners!

"Look at the activity board near the PBV Front Desk every day and see where the class will meet. Usually 5:00PM, but check the board.


"You should bring a yoga mat or big towel, an open mind, and a tight body.


"Look for me around our camp and introduce yourself. I am coming alone because I love to make new friends along the way.


"See you all soon,




p.s. The Pork Belly App will let you know yoga class times each day.

Showers in Davenport on July 28th

On the last day of RAGBRAI, Pork Showers will be operating on our site at St. Ambrose. We didn't explicitly say this in the June Letter, but you'll be able to shower that last day before catching your shuttle or leaving Iowa.


Our showers will stop sometime in the mid afternoon. But right there in a gym at our site, St. Ambrose is offering showers too, so even late-comers will be able to freshen up.

Maddie Won.

It's old news now, but we still can't get over it. Maddie Poppe, Iowa girl and long-time darling of Pork Belly Ventures, is on her way to living the dream, having won the whole darn American Idol competition. Many of you were tuned in and ready to vote every Sunday night. We were too. She didn't compromise or detour from her quirky style or her impeccable taste. She stayed true to herself, and America loved her for it.


It was especially touching to see her parents' happiness and pride. Our warmest congratulations to a fine Iowa family!

A Pork Portal in Your Pocket:

The Pork Belly App

You probably know about the rider route maps that are already on our app. And you know that our eight host-town maps will be there soon. RAGBRAI news is accessible on the app, and so is the weather. You can get familiar with Pork Camp and all of the Pork Infrastructure, and you can even meet some of our veteran crew members. We offer tips for first timers, a suggested packing list, a complete archive of the season's updates, and even videos.


But did you know that during RAGBRAI you can get daily notices of everything that's happening in Pork Camp? Will our lunch vendor have chocolate milk today? What time is Pork Yoga? Is this laundry day? What's for supper tonight? Who's on stage?


It's all on the App.


The Pork Belly App has been developed by the brilliant Katy Fletcher of Doxieworks--and she frequently adds new and interesting content. Did we mention it's free? Download it today and browse the features. You'll like hearing that little chime that brings you Pork News As It Happens, coming at you every day of RAGBRAI.

BELOW: A million spokes, a handful of Iowa towns, and you.

That's it for this one. The updates will be coming fast now. Stay tuned for some great opportunities in our next one.


All our best,

Tammy and Pete