Over 70 riders gathered this morning at this summer’s dip site in Sioux City’s Larsen Park boat ramp to start the annual RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride.  This 462-mile fact finding mission will take place this week, ending at the Mississippi River in Davenport on Saturday, June 6.

Along the way, the ride swelled as others joined in towns of Kingsley, Washta and Quimby and Hanover.  Riders from the Siouxland area joined the RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Team on a chilly May morning.  We battled two of the 4H’s in Hills and Headwinds, making the opening day even tougher.

Big thanks to the Sioux City RAGBRAI Committee for all the support.  The riders were mostly comprised of members of the Siouxland Cyclists, Team Checker and other area teams.  This morning we were riding in honor of the late Frank Brinkerhoff.  Frank was a leader in the Siouxland area and passed away during the opening day of last year’s RAGBRAI.  Frank’s wife addressed the riders and balloons were released after moments of silence.

The day’s ride was 75 miles and about 4,200 feet of climb.  Most of big climbs are traveling through Sioux City and then on the way to Kingsley.  The rest of the day still had some good climbs, but the first portion packed the hills with the most punch.  Every time RAGBRAI crosses the Loess Hills, you know to expect some climbing.  The nice part about these hills was that you could get pretty good momentum to help you up the next one.  Not quite “rollers”, but a different type of hills than last year.  Unfortunately today, we had 15mph headwinds that made you pedal down the hills.

The ride is packed with rural scenery.  You can see that most of the corn and beans have been planted that will provide a very green backdrop for riders.  Speaking of green, you’ll also notice why Iowa is one of the top states for producing clean energy as hundreds of windmills pepper Buena Vista County.

Here are some facts and points of interest from each town.

Leeds, Iowa

Although Leeds is not an incorporated city, this neighborhood of Sioux City will serve as the first pass-through community of RAGBRAI XLIII.  Leeds Park will be the main stopping point for breakfast treats.  Steinbeck’s Pub is a local favorites along Floyd Boulevard in Leeds and is technically the first bar of the left of the first pass-through town.  Leeds is also the home of Jolly Time Popcorn, the original brand name of popcorn in America that recently celebrated their 100 years in business!



We stopped for our second breakfast this morning at the Kingsley Golf Club and we ate like, well, kings. You should have no problem finding something for your first, second or third breakfast in Kingsley as they will have over 15 local and outside food vendors lining 2nd street. There are also two local bars, Doosky’s and Scootch’s which will both be open.

All funds raised by Kingsley will go toward the Freedom Rock Project. After you get your food and/or drinks head over to the beverage garden, where there will be a DJ. Or if that isn’t your think you may want to check out the Plymouth County Freedom Rock, or the Chad Groepper Memorial.  Army Cpl. Chad D. Groepper of Kingsley died February 17, 2008 serving during Operation Iraqi Freedom.



When we heard that Washta was the Coldest Spot in Iowa, we couldn’t believe that RAGBRAI has only visited once (in 2010). Way back on January 12, 1912, they hit -47 degrees, and that doesn’t include wind chill. While it won’t get nearly that chilly in July, you can find many shady spots to relax in this valley bordering the Little Sioux River.

Food/Beverage List: Washta will be a great stop for you first (or second) lunch. They’ll be serving burgers, brats, corn, pie, frozen fruit in a sugar cone, noodles, pizza, burritos, pork chop on a stick, turkey legs, smoothies, mini donuts, sandwiches and more. Seriously if you can’t find something that sounds good you aren’t looking hard enough.

Entertainment List: Stop and dunk your tires in Washta’s “Coldest Spot in Iowa” dunk tank, or sit in the shade and listen to one of the two DJs they will be hosting. There will also be photo ops at the petting zoo and dunk tank.

If you would like to attend church services, the church will host them every half hour. The bank and gas station will both be open if you need cash or snacks. You will be well taken care of in Washta!

Attractions and Historic Sites:  Musician Oliver (Bobby) Beers who played with the Lawrence Welk Orchestra and State Representative Charles Bush were from Washta.

Keep up with Washta’s RAGBRAI preparations AND order your Washta, Coldest Spot in Iowa t-shirt on their Facebook page, http://ift.tt/1SPuhwS



Quimby is located in Cherokee County and in, “the beautiful little Sioux Valley”. With a population of 368 residents, Quimby encourages economic and social growth.

Quimby has a 9-hole golf course with a par of 36 and is 3,500 yards long, a rarity for a small Iowa town. The golf course hosts the annual Watermelon Days were the community gathers for activities on the last Friday and Saturday in June (June 26-27 this year).

Quimby is gearing up to host a great RAGBRAI.  Food will be plentiful as the town will give you a taste of Watermelon Days with FREE watermelon for the riders.  Food choices will include grilling by both the local Beef Producers and the Pork Producers. Several out of town vendors include smoothies, pizzas and apparel shops.

They are excited to start baking the hundreds of pies that will be cut and ready for hungry riders.  Choices include peach, apple, cherry, mixed berry, rhubarb, blueberry and gooseberry at the church stand!  There will also be local homemade ice cream, fruit and plenty of Gatorade.

The Fire Department will be hosting the beverage garden, with the Golf Course coming there as well to serve their signature Bloody Mary’s.  Sarge’s Quimby Inn will drop anchor on their famous “beer boat”.  This is the owner’s actual fishing boat filled with ice and beer.

RAGBRAI will visit Quimby for the 6th time this year. The last visit was in 2010.



Our final stop before Storm Lake will be Hanover Historical Village. While the village may be unincorporated (actually has a population of three) it is not to be missed and will be a great place to stop and grab a bite to eat before you head to Storm Lake.

Hanover Historical Village is a grouping of historic buildings including a general store, homes, a blacksmith shop, and an early 1900’s home. Each is packed with interesting historic items, in fact the village is dedicated to collecting, observing and interpreting the history of the people who have made Northwest Iowa their home.

They will be serving homemade rhubarb pie, sandwiches, bars, energy drinks, and other snacks, as well as both bottled and free water all afternoon. Keep up with Hanover’s RAGBRAI preparations on Facebook, here: http://ift.tt/1d8AZNz


Storm Lake

Be looking for the fabulous ‘Give Our Shores a Spin’ decorations as you bike along the shores of this beautiful 3200 acre lake.  Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University, one of the nation’s top private liberal arts universities.  Some sites in town include the Buena Vista County Historical Society Museum, the Harker House, and the Living Heritage Tree Museum.

The Harker House is a beautifully restored Victorian home built in 1875.  The interior is fully restored with original furniture and photos.

King’s Pointe Waterpark Resort has helped make Storm Lake a tourist destination.  Built in 2007, it features an indoor and outdoor waterpark, 9-hole golf course, mini golf course, outdoor cabins, a 100 room lodge and restaurant.

The main campground will be located in beautiful Chautauqua Park, right on the shore of the lake. This has been a favorite campground of many veteran RAGBRAI riders over the years, most notably Bob Brancel of Brancel Bicycle Charters.


  • Visit downtown and enjoy Ridiculous Days savings with the hometown merchants, kids’ activities and special vendors
  • Many fabulous restaurants in town
  • Non-profit agencies and many other food vendors
  • Awaysis Park along the lake shore for the beverage garden and entertainment area


  • Cool off at one of the public beaches along the lake front
  • The waterpark at King’s Pointe

High-energy line-up of bands: Brad Morgan from 2:00-5:00pm, The Mighty Nish Band from 5:30-8:30pm, and Arch Allies from 9:00-12:00 midnight

Keep up with Storm Lake’s RAGBRAI plans on their website, http://ift.tt/1SPugsG, on Facebook and Twitter.

Follow the pre-ride team along the route all week here at RAGBRAI.com, on Facebook: Facebook.com/RAGBRAI, on Twitter: @RAGBRAI_Iowa, on Instagram: @RAGBRAI, and on our Route Tracker http://ift.tt/1SPuhwY

More info on the towns, route | Interactive map | Downloadable mapRelive 2014 ride

For more information on RAGBRAI XLIII Day 1 – Sioux City to Storm Lake:

Here is a link to the Storm Lake RAGBRAI website for additional information on your overnight stay in Storm Lake.

And this is the link to Sioux City’s RAGBRAI website.

Want to read yesterday’s Route Inspection review? Click here.


PreRideGroup Leeds


Near Washta Washta


Hanover tumblr_nl2mvbeq971un6lrpo1_1280

via RAGBRAI http://ift.tt/1d8AZxg