What goes hand-in-hand with Iowa breweries? State-wide treasure and national claim to fame: RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI is this thing that I love that I never had any intention to. I never in a million years thought I would EVER want to be that person that rides 40-80 miles per day for seven days in a row. I didn’t even think I still wanted to ride a bike on a regular basis. I mean, I have a car! But when my other half wooed me into bike rides in the Des Moines area with promises of cool bars and breweries along the bike trail, I decided to give it a go. And then the rides got further and further.And the 2014 route was announced and it was going through northern Iowa and was practically in my back yard. The next thing I knew, I was committed to training for RAGBRAI.
As it turns out, I did not realize until I was already to the point of no return that biking is a cult. Once you’re in, your whole life revolves around it. You constantly need new gear and clothing and accessories and all these cool things. Any adventure you take suddenly revolves around places that have the best bike trails. Any extra time is, of course, devoted to getting in shape to ride 80 miles a day like it ain’t no thang. You no longer are self-conscious about going places in spandex shorts. Any time you meet someone new and (of course) it comes up in conversation that you are a rider, you instantly know you’re dear friends and not complete strangers. And it is a prestigious cult.
While the event may not be in the minds of the rest the state for another 6 months, we cult-members are already gearing up. Overnight stops were being announced this past Saturday. From the comforts of Peace Tree Brewing Co. (more on that later) night I waited anxiously via Twitter feed for the results. Around 9 p.m. the announcement came in: Sioux City, Storm Lake, Fort Dodge, Eldora, CEDAR FALLS!, Hiawatha, Coralville/IRL, Davenport. My initial reaction was (obviously): “Yay! RAGBRAI IS COMING BACK TO CF!” But my second reaction was also, “There are so many great breweries along the overnight stops!”
Soon I was researching those available in the towns I didn’t know. I mean, I need to take full advantage of the situation right? So here’s the tentative list. Many of them are pretty solid places. I may actually be finding myself wishing that there aren’t too many more along the way or seven days just isn’t going to be enough time to get from the Missouri to the Mississippi River.