RAGBRAI 2015… What you need to know. Part 2 Where the BEER at?

By | March 4, 2015

RAGBRAI 2015…  What you need to know.  Part 2. Where the BEER at?

If you read part one of RAGBRAI 2015…  What you need to know, you know that there will be craft BEER options on RAGBRAI whether or not the overnight town has a brewery.  Thank goodness!  Enjoying well crafted, tasty barley sodas is the cherry on top of a hell’a fun event.  If you want to experience the growing Iowan craft beer industry first hand, you better plan ahead.  Last year I referred to RAGBRAI 2014 What you need to know Part 1 and 2 to guide my way to local craft beer options whenever I had cell phone coverage.  This year, if I go, I am bringing a waterproof hard copy.  If I had a Garmin, I would enter the craft breweries in advance.  So lets not waste any time and get into it!

Ride Statistics.

  • Resister’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa 2015
  • July 19-25
  • 462.2 Miles
  • Elevation Gain 15,948 Feet

Sioux City, IA Start Town – Overnight Town 1

Picturesque Sioux City sitting on the Missouri River.  Ooooh!  Pretty

Picturesque Sioux City sitting on the Missouri River. Ooooh! Pretty

  • Date: Saturday July 18, 2015
  • Population: 85,013
  • Incorporated: 1857
  • RAGBRAI Stats:  7th time as Starting town, starting town of the first RAGBRAI in 1972.
  • Craft Breweries:  None 🙁
  • The Lowdown:  The navigational head of the Missouri river and the home to the Sargent Floyd Monument to the only man lost during the Louis and Clark Expedition, Sioux City has a long history.  It was known as the little Chicago during prohibition.  It is shocking that Iowa’s 4th largest city does no have a single Craft Brewery.  Sigh.  Oh well there are plenty of other sites to take in.  With such a long history, an architecture geek like myself will take the opportunity to check out the cities historical architecture.  Here is a link to Sioux City’s Historical Preservation Commission.
  • Entertainment: Despite their abhorrent lack of a craft brewery, Sioux City knows how to kick off RAGBRAI.  This year’s performer will be none other than Huey Lewis and the News!  Hell yeah!  Wow!  Talk about taking me back to the days of my youth!
  • Trivia:  Sioux City’s Gateway Airport code is SUX.  Ha! Ha!

Day 1:  Sunday: Sioux City, IA to Storm Lake, IA.  Distance: 74.3 miles. Elevation gain: 4,11o feet.  Coming to Iowa from Seattle in the middle of the summer is a shock to the system.  Suddenly I have to adapt to the stifling heat and humidity.  In the past it has been a struggle and has taken me a few days to get acclimatized.  This year RAGBRAI ups the ante by making the first day in the longest with the greatest elevation gain.  Ouch!  In 2014, the last day was the day with the greatest elevation day.  It was a wonderful day.  I was used to the weather and the daily riding.  I felt like Contador going up the climbs.  I won’t be so confident on this ride, but I will be determined to have fun!

Storm Lake, IA Overnight Town 2

You can bet if it is hot, I am going to immerse myself in come cool water in Storm Lake!

You can bet if it is hot, I am going to immerse myself in come cool water in Storm Lake!

  • Date: July 19, 2015
  • Population: 10,790
  • Incorporated: 1873
  • RAGBRAI Stats: Inagural Overnight town in 1973.  This will be Storm Lake’s 6th time as an overnight town.  It was also a pass through down the year of my birth 1975.  It was a very good year.
  • Craft Breweries:  None 🙁
  • The Lowdown:  As the name implies, Storm Lake has lake.  It also has a lakeside water park.  If it is terribly hot, my goal will be to immerse myself in some cool water!  Be sure to pack a swimsuit!  In addition Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University and the Historical Harker House Museum.  Being the museum geek I am, I am also apt to check out the Harker house and the Storm Lake Historical Society.  I will find a way to enterrain myself even without a brewery tour!
  • Trivia:  According to the novelization of Star Trek, James Kirk first met Uhura Shipyard Bar in Storm Lake.  The two meet in 2255, but it does not yet exist for you to visit.  Gene Hackman attended 10th grade in Storm Lake.  The Buena Vista University mascot is the Beavers.

Day 2: Monday: Storm Lake, IA to Fort Dodge, IA.  Distance: 68.4 Miles. Elevation Gain: 1,314 ft.  I will likely be a bit sore to start the day, however this ride will be the one that really puts the soreness in the old legs.  It is a good thing it is a flat day!  It is all good.  Being a little sore and tired, makes you enjoy the party at the end of the day that much more.  This day will include the optional 15 mile gravel loop for people who like to get gunk in their drivetrain.  My friend Chopper will be all over this if he were to go.

Fort Dodge, IA  Overnight Town 3 

I love historical downtowns.  On a hot or rainy day catch a movie to cool off.  Most theaters are air conditioned.

I love historical downtowns. On a hot or rainy day catch a movie to cool off. Most theaters are air conditioned.

  • Date: July 20, 2015
  • Population: 24,639
  • Incorporated: 1869
  • Craft Breweries:  None.  Where are the breweries?!  🙁
  • RAGBRAI Stats:  This will be Fort Dodge’s fourth time as an overnight town.  The last time was in 2004.
  • The Lowdown:  Fort Dodge got its start when the army built a fort at the Des Moines River and Lizard Creek called Fort Clark in 1950.  It was renamed Fort Dodge because there was already a Fort Clark in Texas and we all know how pretentious Texans can be 😉   If you like gypsum, you will love Fort Dodge.  It is a long time home to a gypsum mines and a logical place to make gypsum wall board.  Last year, I tried to tour the Winnebego factory in Forest City.  I would try to tour a drywall factory, but suspect people would think I am weird.  For non drywall related activities, Fort Dodge is actually a great place.  In late July, they host a rock festival called Shellebration.  This year they will feature Boston.  Fort Dodge also features a summer blues festival called Blues Under the Trees.  Thanks to Fort Dodge’s reputation as a musical venue, I have high hopes for the entertainment there.

Day 3: Tuesday: Fort Dodge, IA to Eldora, IA. Distance: 71.8 Miles.  Elevation Gain 1,490 feet. This day’s ride offers the optional Kerras Loop to bring the daily total to 100 miles.  Sadly I have yet to tackle the Kerras Loop.  My RAGBRAI experience tells me that I am not quite in the mood for extra miles this early in the ride.  The third day is when I am most likely to be sore and still trying to adjust to the climate.  I hope to tackle the Kerras Loop this year, but a more important goal is to have fun!

Eldora, IA Overnight Town 4

The Twister house featured in the movie twister is located near Eldora.

The Twister house featured in the movie twister is located near Eldora.

  • Date: July 21, 2015
  • Population: 2,732
  • Incorporated: 1895
  • Craft Breweries:  None.  Oh Come on!
  • RAGBRAI Stats: This will be Eldora’s fourth time as an overnight town.  The last time was in 1998.  Eldora was also a pass through town in 2004.
  • The Lowdown: You could say it will be a big deal when 10,000-30,000 RAGBRAI riders descend on a town of 2,732 people.  Luckily it seems that Eldora has some fun options.  For $25 you can spend 3-5 hours doing the rock-n row.  This is a fully supported tube trip along the Iowa River.  Make your reservations early, groups of 2 or more get a free rental of a floating beer cooler.  No Bottles allowed.  Eldora’s downtown has earned a historic downtown designation.  Check out the Hardin County Historical Society.  Yup I am a total history nerd.
  • Trivia:  If you are a fan of fantastic Helen Hunt movies, you will recognize the twister house from the 1995 monster hit Twister.  The Twister house is located neat Eldora.  Check out its history.

Day 4: Wednesday:Eldora, IA to Cedar Falls, IA.  Distance: 56.0 miles. Elevation Gain: 1,845 feet.  This is the shortest ride of RAGBRAI 2015.  Last year, the shortest ride was only 38 miles.  Why bother?  This year, the ride lengths are a bit more consistent.  The last two years, I felt I was in great shape at the start of RAGBRAI, but I still struggled the first couple days.  By day four, I am getting into the rhythm of the ride.  At this point, I start thinking about how few days there are left and wishing RAGBRAI would last a few days longer.  Does that make me a masochist?

So We have made it 4 days into RAGBRAI without a single craft brewery.  What the hell man?  In part three, we finally tell you.  Stay tuned biotches!

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