It is Tuesday morning and I did not sleep well last night. My mind has been occupied with cycling half a year away and half way across the country. This last weekend, the route for the 2014 edition of RAGBRAI was announced. I watched the official announcement of the route on RAGBRAI.com. I have done the essential research of the route. I am really excited about RAGBRAI 2014! Here are some stats.
- July 20-26
- Total Miles 418
- Total Elevation Gain 11,316 feet
Initially, I was a bit disappointed that this year’s route is so short (3rd shortest) and flat (2nd Flattest). The shortest day is only 36 miles with only 695′ of elevation gain. However, doing my research made me really excited! There is only one town with a population over 10,000 on this year’s route. Seeing so much of small town Iowa last year was awesome! RAGBRAI is a financial windfall for the communities it passes through. I like the idea that I am helping small communities. I love that the most challenging day of RAGBRAI 2014 will be the last day. It will be great to end on a high note! Quite a few of the towns on the 2014 route are on lakes. There are few things better than a refreshing dip after a long, hot day on the saddle. CYCLEBUTTCRACK has held a couple local BEER Runs which have been a blast. RAGBRAI has to the the world’s largest cycling BEER Run.
Iowa is home to very friendly hospitable people, the new Indian Motorcycle and has a strong tradition in agriculture. However, Iowa is not known for its flavorful microbrews. Coming from the northwest, I experienced genuine beer culture shock on RAGBRAI. It was the second day of RAGBRAI 2013. It was a hot humid, difficult day in the saddle. I walked into a pub expecting quench my thirst with a flavorful local brew. When I asked the bartender what local micros do you have on tap, I was told, ‘We don’t have any. Our biggest sellers are Bud and Bud Light.’ NOOOOOOO!!!! Someone help me! I cannot taste my BEER! I thought I was going to have to spend the whole week with ‘sex in a canoe’ BEER. Luckily I discovered there is a small but growing microbrewing industry in Iowa. I stumbled upon Peace Tree Brewing and Confluence Brewing to satisfy my thirst for flavorful BEER. Luckily RAGBRAI 2014 will present some exciting barley soda possibilities.
There is more to Iowa and RAGBRAI than beer of varying degrees of flavor. Therefore I took the time to research the RAGBRAI overnight towns. In addition to its breweries, I will present a couple interesting facts about each town. I love heading into a new town and discovering all that it has to offer. At the same time, it can be handy to know what to look for. The intent of this list will be to present a little bit of background, what to look for and where to find a drink in each town without telling you so much that you lose the joy of discovery. Stay tuned to next week’s blog post!