Route Inspection Ride: Day 1 – Sioux City to Storm Lake
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 442-mile fact finding mission will take place this week, ending at the Mississippi River in Dubuque on Saturday, June 12.
Along the way, the ride swelled as others joined in towns of Kingsley, Washta and Quimby. Riders from Sioux City joined retired RAGBRAI Director Jim Green, RIDE RIGHT Chairman Dan McKay and his wife Becky and I on a beautiful June morning.
Big thanks to Aran Rush and the Sioux City RAGBRAI Committee for all the support. A police escort was arranged for the first leg as we rode the streets of Sioux City. The riders were mostly comprised of members of the Siouxland Cyclists, Team Fungus Among Us and other area teams.
The day’s ride is 68.5 miles and just under 3,700 feet of climb. Most of big climbs are traveling through Sioux City and then on the way to Kingsley. 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. We were fortunate today to have some cross and tailwinds to push us along.
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. We rode so close to the turbines that you could hear the “whoosh, whoosh, whoosh” of the spinning blades.
Here are some facts and points of interest from each town.
Although Leeds is not an incorporated city, this neighborhood of Sioux City will serve as the first pass-through community of RAGBRAI XXXVIII. Leeds Park will be the main stopping point for breakfast treats, but the nearby Triangle Lodge might be serving breakfast as well. Steinbeck’s Pub and Jitters Cafe are local favorites along Floyd Boulevard in Leeds. Leeds is also the home of Jolly Time Popcorn, the original brand name of popcorn in America around since 1914.
Incorporated in 1884, Kingsley is located in Plymouth County about 25 miles or so into the day. Kingsley has a population of 1,245 residents. “Some bigger….None better” is the motto of this small Iowa town.
President Herbert Hoover attended school and lived in Kingsley with his Grandmother for two years. The house where Hoover’s Grandmother lived is located at the corner of West 3rd & Barre. Kingsley’s landscape is known for its beautiful redbud trees. Keep an eye out for Kingsley’s famed black squirrels.
Last visited by RAGBRAI in 2001, this will be RAGBRAI’s third stop in Kingsley.
Washta (Meeting Town)
Named after the Sioux word for “good”, Washta is located near the Little Sioux River. Washta was founded in 1868 by Mr. Whisman who was the first post master. His house later became Washta’s first post office.
With a recorded temperature of 47 degrees below zero on January 12, 1912, Washta has Iowa’s coldest temperature ever recorded.
2001 was RAGBRAI’s last visit to Washta. The ride has visited Washta 3 times.
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.
RAGBRAI will visit Quimby for the 5th time this year. The last visit was in 2001.
The day’s ride will cruise along the lake shore as we end the first day’s ride in Storm Lake. The theme for Storm Lake is “Catch a Tailwind” to play on the areas main attraction, Storm Lake. The town is also home to Buena Vista University and Kings Pointe Resort.
The local committee is planning some great entertainment that night including Chrome Union, High & Mighty and the Johnny Holm Band. The main stage will be located in downtown Storm Lake just off of 7th Street, facing south on Lake Avenue. The bands are free to all who are willing to listen, however there will be a small admittance fee into the beer garden where you must be 21 or over. Chrome Union is scheduled to start around 4 p.m., High & Mighty at 7p.m. and The Johnny Holm Band at 9p.m. Visit www.StormLakeRagbrai.com to find out more information on each group.
Day 2 – Monday, June 7
Hopefully the winds continue to be kind on the ride from Storm Lake to Algona. Tune in tomorrow for another report from the Route Inspection Ride!