RAGBRAI 2019      

Pork Belly Update #3---Warmth on the Way!

March 19, 2019

Dear Porkers,


We want to thank those of you who have reached out to wish us and our crew and families well. As you've seen on the evening news, our whole region is seeing rivers, lakes, and streams out of their banks, and some of our good friends are getting the worst of it. Many of you know our crew chiefs, Mick and Roger, whose properties are under water at this writing. But the flood is on the wane, and we just hope for a speedy clean-up. Tonight, please say a prayer for Mick and Roger and their families. And, looking forward, let's count a few spring blessings:

  • The mid-fifties feel pretty good after an exceptionally cold winter.
  • A couple towns have invited us out to scout, always exciting in March. Now that the deep snow is gone, we can actually see prospective campsites.
  • The trails of Iowa are calling. You'll find training resources and invitations in this letter--and in some cases, you'll find the opportunity to stop at breweries and listen to great music along our trails, while putting in your training miles, too.


No doubt we'll have another brief snow or even two. But we can feel it. Warmth is on the way.


ABOVE RIGHT: Roger posted this photo on Facebook, and you can see that the water didn't reach the house, thank God. On the north side of the road, you'll see all Roger's farm equipment moved out of harm's way.

RAGBRAI Day-by-Day

This week, we're getting better sense of what this year's RAGBRAI route will be like. RAGBRAI officials began yesterday, Sunday, March 17th, releasing one rider route map per day. Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday are shown here, and day-by-day, you can watch the route roll-out of Wednesday through Saturday. Although we've known our overnight stops since late January, these maps show daily mileages, pass-through towns, and elevations for every day of RAGBRAI, along with themes for each day and any bonus loops, like Sunday's gravel option.


ABOVE: Every piece of Pork equipment will be in Atlantic on Sunday, but maybe it's worth noting that Sunday's route rolls by Pork World Headquarters on the western edge of Minden, Iowa.

These route maps are normally published a week earlier, but as the officials said, "It has been a long, rough winter for looking at the Iowa roadways and being able to determine a safe and enjoyable route for RAGBRAI this summer." They also warn that road construction--sometimes driven by winter weather--may affect the route. Check on the daily releases yourself, right here:

RAGBRAI Route Maps

RAGBRAI Registration--April 1 Deadline

As we've said in our invitation letter, you don't want to crowd this deadline. That means that if you have not yet registered for RAGBRAI at RAGBRAI.com, you really need to get it done in the next week. Don't wait any longer, folks. Go to RAGBRAI.com and click REGISTRATION.


If Your Plans Aren't Firm...

Now, if you simply aren't sure you can get away for RAGBRAI this July, there's a way to sign up legally later in the game. When you know you can make it, please write to tammy@pkbelly.com and let me know you'd like to purchase the rider wristband from someone who has to cancel. It's easy. We'll introduce you to a seller, who will mail you their packet. You will mail the seller a check. And you, the buyer, can complete RAGBRAI's online transfer form for this purpose. When this simple process is complete, it will be as though you'd signed up before April 1. (If you do know your plans, the simplest way is registering well before April 1.)

ABOVE: Gracie and Mary are part of the Pork Crew who will serve you this summer.


Pork Availability

All Services and Shuttles of Pork Belly Ventures are available at this time. The only service that is going rather fast (you guessed it) is our Rental Tent Service, always very popular. You can still sign up for the tent service and all other services and shuttles. We'll continue to update you about Pork Availability in future updates.


BELOW: The PBV Tent Service is usually our first service to sell out during the season. There have been years when it has not sold out, but do watch our updates for warnings if we're getting tight on any services.

Where PBV Will Be,

Volume 2

We started a new series of updates this year, telling the story of all of the rides we support, not just RAGBRAI.


Last month, we published Where PBV Will Be, Volume 1, with descriptions and photos of five awesome 2019 rides we'll support in Missouri, Georgia, Nebraska, and Minnesota. We include explanations of the varying services we can offer on each of these cycling events.


To see WPBVWB1, please click here:




It's our plan to publish WPBVWB2 next week. Stay tuned for the second half of our season, including beautiful rides in Oklahoma, Nebraska, Missouri, Iowa, Minnesota, and Kansas.

The Season Takes Off When Scouting Begins!

Later this month, we're going out on our first scouting trip of RAGBRAI 2019. Scouting involves driving out at the town's invitation to look at possible campsites, measure areas for tent camping, and locate the appropriate infrastructure for our shower trailers. We also get the conversation started in each town about indoor sleeping, food vending, and catering. Some of our hosts are old friends who have done the job of campground chair before, and we are delighted to work with them again this season. Shout out to our friends Pam and John, for taking on this big responsibility a second time!


ABOVE right, Mick, George, and Pete, during last year's early, cold-weather scouting of Newton. Below, Pete with the wheel, and Dave, looking at our Ames campsite. Still some snow on the ground when we scouted.

Write to Tammy IF...

Reminders... If you're bringing a CPAP machine to Pork Camp, or if you're planning on PBV charging your E-Bike Battery, be sure to write to tammypav@cox.net and get on our lists. Thanks to those who have done it already!


Training Blog


No matter where you are, you can always dial up RAGBRAI's Training Blog to put a sound training program in place. It's only March! Get this training season off on the right foot, starting here:


RAGBRAI Training Blog


Training Series

Yo, Iowans! Can you hear the call of the trail? Let's get some dates on your calendar, starting with PigTails, a 48-mile springtime ride geared toward women.


It's May 18th, starting and ending in Ankeny, and traversing the incredible High Trestle Trail.



For more...




BELOW: Iowa's High Trestle Trail, part of the Pigtails route on May 18th!

Bacoon--the sixth annual bacon-themed bike ride on the Raccoon River Valley Trail! Don't miss this "Year of the Pig" version of Bacoon. Presented by RAGBRAI, the Blue-Ribbon Bacon Festival, and The Iowa Bicycle Coalition, this hugely popular ride starts and ends in Waukee.


Get June 15th on your calendar, and for more info...



BELOW: the Raccoon River Valley Trail, where Bacoon 6 is headed!

And finally,

Big Rove,

the new 36-mile summertime cruise on the Iowa River Corridor Trail, with multiple stops at hospitable breweries along the way.


Starts in Iowa City, June 29th.


For more...





BELOW: the Iowa River Corridor Trail, future site of Big Rove!

Spring Training:

Bike Medicine Performance Camps!


After such a long indoor winter, some of us are a little behind on road-readiness. The folks at Bike Medicine are in the business of training cyclists--especially cyclists in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and 70s--with necessary skills, proven strategies, effective habits, and safety measures, to prepare us for the cycling season and especially for riding multi-day rides like RAGBRAI. Do you need some Spring Bike Medicine?

Like all of you in areas where winter weather cramps your style, we're ready to transition from an indoor exercise regimen to getting some fresh air in our lungs. Recently, we've been talking to the guys at Bike Medicine, who will be with us during RAGBRAI. Though they come from the racing world, it's their mission to help the average cyclist adopt some of the skills of racers in order to prepare for a multi-day bike ride like RAGBRAI.

We're including more info below about how Bike Medicine Performance Camps can make us safer and more effective on the bike, while also teaching us good training strategies and even healthy eating habits. Depending on how the season goes, I may choose a weekend Performance Camp this spring. Bike Medicine operates camps all over the place. Their home base is in Houston, Texas, but they're willing to bring a performance camp out to you and your cycling friends.


Here's a little more from the Bike Medicine team...

In two and a half days, packed with solid cycling learning, personal instruction and take home reference materials we will expand your horizons and change the way you ride a bike forever. Plus we do everything in a very nurturing and enjoyable atmosphere. After all, it is about becoming a much better cyclist and having a lot of fun while you do it.


You will have the opportunity to practice all of the skills and techniques with highly experienced instructors, taking the time to work directly with you. We don't just simply explain, we do it with you, until you get it right.

In our experience, the combination of a higher skill level, a structured annual training program and access to professional know-how, produces safer, stronger and faster cyclists. Also, the highly skilled and trained riders stay in the sport for a much longer time. Cycling is a truly lifelong activity with profound wellness benefits. Our camps will show you how to get the most out of it.

Usually we hold a half day orientation, bike check, assessment and classroom session on Friday afternoon. Then on Saturday and Sunday, we deliver the payload. Each weekend morning is a technical briefing, then the rest of the day is spent on teaching skills and techniques, practicing to perfection, followed by a solid road ride to put the new knowledge to use.


If you're interested in taking part in a Bike Medicine Performance Camp or if you have questions, contact Bruce at bruce@bikemedicine.org. Or find more here: BikeMedicine.org

Do You Have Our FREE Pork Belly App?

Our app is extremely robust, and it connects you with a wealth of information about Pork Belly Ventures and RAGBRAI. It's your portal for receiving our updates, viewing our host-town maps, and getting daily notices during RAGBRAI about what's waiting for in Pork Camp--your Iowa home base. Go right to your App Store and get our App today.

That's it for this time, Porkers. Stay tuned for WPBVWB2, and also the roll-out of 2019 bike-shipping with SendMyBike.com. And wherever you are, we hope you're safe and dry. Until next time, we remain,


Your friends,


Tammy and Pete