Sunday, April 29, 2007

Packing advice: bring the sunscreen

Bob's post reminds me of an important piece of advice I might forget to mention: bring sunscreen, lots of it. In only two years, the sunscreen application ritual has become a CoeBRAI tradition.

Though I'm not as dedicated as most, as my leathery skin will attest by ride's end, repeated sunscreen application is more important than water to get you to the Mississippi. Iowa in July can be quite brutal. The highways we'll traverse will not be shaded.

Bob got burned on our training ride to Center Point and I got a head start on my farmer's tan. And it was "only" 26 miles, not to mention April.

It was so good to ride with Bob, Katy and Brian on a glorious Saturday. I set a personal best in distance for a non-RAGBRAI day, covering 39 miles, including the distance between my house and our gathering spot, in just over 3-1/2 hours (not including lunch at Joensies, where we took advantage of two RAGBRAI traditions, pork and pie).

Weekly Friday rides begin at noon May 4. Gather at Clark Racquet Center (locker rooms available) for a 10-mile ride along the Cedar River Trail. I'm also available for weekend rides on Saturday, May 12; Sunday, May 20; Saturday, June 2; Sunday, June 3; Saturday, June 23; Saturday, July 7; Sunday, July 8; Saturday, July 14; and Sunday, July 15.

here comes the sun

Just to report: when the temperature outside is 72 degrees, this does not eliminate UV rays. No need to submit a federal grant request to confirm this groundbreaking scientific conclusion. Just come look at my arms. (or trust me. My arms hurt.)

Not since I picked ice plant for four hours from a cliff near the Pacific just south of San Francisco have I generated such a burn. It's not life-threatening, but is at least noticable.

But that is the least of Saturday's adventure. Four of us met in Hiawatha for a good ride; I think we averaged closer to 12-14 mph than my previously predicted eight mph. Heck, I'm ready to push it, sometime. Not real soon, but sometime. WITH sunscreen.

Also, to reiterate: a Coe alum can call themself a 'Coester', which is always handy a parties, because people will hand you drinks, thinking you're trustworthy by the label. Use this benefit responsibly.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Training ride

Members of Team CoeBRAI in and around the Cedar Rapids area are invited to join in our first group training ride of 2007. We will gather at 10 a.m. Saturday at Boyson Road in Hiawatha and bike 13 miles to Center Point along the Cedar Valley Nature Trail. After breaking for lunch at Jonesies, we’ll return to Cedar Rapids.

That’s 26 miles round trip. If you're available and interested, just show up. And bring a friend.

Meanwhile, we've finalized the jersey design and will be submitting orders on May 11. Please go to and click on "jersey order" for sizing and ordering information. Also be sure to indicate if you will be attending the alumni gathering in Cedar Falls on July 25.

Monday, April 23, 2007


I cannot compete with either the graphics of this first blog nor, I doubt, the physical conditioning that no doubt most CoeBRAI riders are already in. I have been exercising enough in 2007 that I now have a "jones" for my bike; I have hit a place beyond the first pains that allows me to really want to ride regularly. I'm currently doing 50 miles/week.

But the main point of this blog is to wonder: might others in CR want to ride together sometime? Would doing it slowly (like, say, eight miles an hour for 20-30 miles) be a deal breaker?

I'd like to do the Cedar Valley Nature Trail this Saturday from Boyson Rd Hiawatha to Center Point (26 miles roundtrip). Any others interested, at the speed (I use that word liberally) noted above? If not, would you happen to know how far behind someone you can still get any benefits from drafting?



Friday, April 20, 2007

Flattest ride ever

That's how organizers are promoting the 35th edition of the Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) 2007.

"It's the flattest RAGBRAI ever," said ride host Brian Duffy of this year's 478-mile trek across the northern third of the state, scheduled for July 22-28.

That's a welcome assessment for those of us who struggled with portions of the 2006 ride. Now if they could only control the heat, humidity and headwinds.

The ride will roll from west to east through these overnight towns: Rock Rapids (July 21, on the eve of the ride), Spencer (July 22), Humboldt (July 23), Hampton (July 24), Cedar Falls (July 25), Independence (July 26), Dyersville (July 27) and Bellevue (July 28).

The route shows riders staying in overnight towns with landmarks including Dyersville's Field of Dreams and the UNIDome in Cedar Falls. Pass through towns include George, Ashton, Melvin, Hartley and Moneta on Day 1; Dickens, Gillett Grove, Webb, Marathon, Laurens, Havelock, Rolfe, Bradgate and Rutland on Day 2; Dakota City, Thor, Eagle Grove, Clarion, Cornelia and Alexander on Day 3; Aredale, Dumont, Kesley, Aplington, and Stout on Day 4; Denver, Klinger, Dunkerton and Fairbank on Day 5; Winthrop, Lamont, Dundee, Manchester and Earlville on Day 6; and Worthington, Cascade, Garryowen, Bernard and LaMotte before we dip our tires in the Mississippi river in Bellevue.

As musician/poet Bruce Springsteen crooned in "For You," "they're waiting for you at Bellevue, with their oxygen masks."

This year's ride has additional allure due to cycling star and cancer research activist Lance Armstrong's pledge to ride the entire route.

Meanwhile, plans are coming together for Team CoeBRAI. Twenty-six brave souls have signed up for the trans-Iowa adventure, including 10 Coe College alumni, three current students and two staff members. We have riders from Illinois, Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio, Virginia, Wisconsin and Connecticut, as well as Iowa. We have secured host families in six of the seven overnight towns, with Humboldt the only holdout.

And they're waiting for you at Bellevue, with their oxygen masks.