Hungry stomachs beware!!!! This is an epic food post. When riding your bike 60+ miles per day, you are burning a lot of calories in the hot and steamy, summer sun. Food is essential to keep pedaling those feet along RAGBRAI and it at some point, the only thing keeping you pedaling.
Here is my list for the must-eat foods along RAGBRAI:
#1 food you must eat on RAGBRAI (or in Iowa): The Pork Tenderloin
Pork Tenderloins are the best sandwiches in Iowa by far. Maid-Rite loose meat sandwiches are good but the pork tenderloin is where it is at. There are some great stands along the RAGBRAI route- at lunch and at the overnight stops. If you aren’t riding RAGBRAI, hit TC’s Point After in DeWitt for a Chuckie’s Tenderloin.
A lot of lunch stops on RAGBRAI are super crowded but the Butts and Bun BBQ was worth the stop. Hello beautiful:
#1 snack on RAGBRAI: This is a close call between watermelon and the great dill pickle. When it is 90 degrees and you need energy, fluid, and a break- either will do but the pickle reigns supreme.
The other great stop on RAGBRAI: Iowa Craft Beer Tent!
This West-O honeysuckle saison brew just beat out Confluence Farmer Johns for my favorite. In the heat on the day when you need carbs, find the Iowa Craft Beer Tent which is on the morning route and then moves along and sets up for the afternoon. I always hit it in the afternoon- the perfect break!
Best food on the go: Walking Taco aka Taco in a Bag
I love Tacos in a Bag!!! Doritos with meat, cheese, salsa, onion, peppers, and sour cream. Yes- just do it. Your kids, boyfriend, picky- eater friend will love this at your next BBQ. The best thing about taco in a bag is that it is so much less messy than regular tacos or nachos. A one napkin meal.
Best Breakfast on RAGBRAI: There are 2 best on this list- one is Farm Boys Burritos and the other the local American Legions/Churches/Schools with their homemade goods.
Farmer Boys burritos and burrito bowls are awesome- eggs, potatoes, bacon, sausage, jalapenos, salsa, sour cream, cheese, and onions are on the buffet of options and you get to pick what you want to put in your breakfast.
I skipped the sausage and sour cream to be slightly healthier while still getting my protein and carbs for bike riding.
The small town Iowa schools, churches, Legion groups offer homemade food which is usually amazing. The American Legion in Springville was one of my favorite meals.
They called it pigs in a blanket but it was delicious sausage with pancakes on the top and bottom with a side of syrup to dip.
But my aunt’s sour cream coffee cake deserves an shout out! Good stuff!
Let’s not forget dessert: There are funnel cakes, ice cream cookie sandwiches, and homemade ice cream all along the route.
Thelma’s Ice Cream Sandwiches based in Des Moines was my favorite dessert. I had a snickerdoodle with vanilla ice cream and a peanut butter cookie with banana ice cream. It was all amazing.
Favorite dinner spot on RAGBRAI: Spaghetti dinner at the United Methodist Church in Eldora
The spaghetti was good and hit the spot but the rhubarb pie will live on in my dreams.
Food is an important part of an endurance bicycle ride and it important to keep the amateurs, like me, pedaling to the next town. It is easier to keep going when you know there is a delicious beer or slice of pie in the next town. If you think you can’t do a long ride RAGBRAI, think again! There are so many carbs to consume that will keep you riding long into the afternoon!