Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ride on

The real RAGBRAI training began tonight, over pork and pie, at a drivers' meeting held at the home of Sara and Brian Farrell. Sara, a Coe psychology professor, has graciously agreed to drive our rental truck. Brian, a local attorney, will be biking across Iowa for the first time.

Also attending this meeting were my wife, Lisa, and kids, Zach and Karissa. Zach will be accompanying me on bike for the first time. Lisa and Karissa will operate the family camper and assist with ensuring your comfort.

Tony Bata, the sag wagon driver and sous chef for the last two CoeBRAIs, also attended to offer some sage advice and to share some tasty wine.

Tony's presence reminded me that this RAGBRAI will be different than the past two, although I'm the only one who will notice. And while we won't have someone preparing lavish meals for us each night, we won't go hungry either.

Here's a rundown of the CoeBRAI itinerary:
Friday, July 20 -- Pasta dinner in the Coe cafeteria at 6 p.m. Free for all CoeBRAI participants. We'll hand out wristbands, jerseys, maps, etc. at this time for all who can attend.

Saturday, July 21 -- Gather in the parking lot behind Eby Fieldhouse for a planned 10 a.m. departure for Rock Rapids. (RAGBRAI theme: Wild Wild North West.) Please allow ample time for loading your bicycle and gear (packed in a 30 gallon plastic tub). We'll camp at the home of David Springer '94 in Rock Rapids.

Sunday, July 22 -- Bike 75.7 miles to Spencer (RAGBRAI theme: Licensed to Thrill), where we'll camp at the home of Tarrel Zwiebahmer Storey '93. The Storeys have invited us to make use of their deck, fire pit, and bathroom off the garage. Showers will be available at the YMCA, three blocks away.

Monday, July 23 -- Bike 77.4 miles (or 100 for those opting for the Karras Loop) to Humboldt (RAGBRAI theme: A Holiday In Humboldt). It's an official CoeBRAI jersey day as we hope to gather for lunch in Havelock with Brady Krischel '07 and her family. Brady and her father are recovering from a near-fatal traffic accident over Christmas break and we plan to present her with her very own CoeBRAI jersey. Biking across Iowa is small potatoes compared to the journey she's on. We don't yet have a host in Humboldt, though I haven't given up hope. If nothing materializes, we'll likely be camping in the main RAGBRAI campground at the fairgrounds in northeast Humboldt.

Tuesday, July 24 -- Bike 71.1 miles to Hampton (RAGBRAI theme: Hot Fun in the Summer Time), where we'll be hosted by Tess and Henry Wieck, parents of Joe Wieck '04. The Wiecks have graciously offered a free barbecue for all CoeBRAIers.

Wednesday, July 25 -- Bike 68.2 miles to Cedar Falls (RAGBRAI theme: LiveLarge). We'll camp at the home of Barb and Al Poe, parents of current Coe student Anson Poe. The Poe home will also be the site for the alumni dinner, free to CoeBRAI participants and catered by Famous Dave's (mmmmmmm). This could be a wild overnight as Blues Traveler headlines a benefit concert at the UNI-Dome ($10 for RAGBRAI participants).

Thursday, July 26 -- Bike 62.9 miles to Independence (RAGBRAI theme: America's Fame is in Our Name). We'll camp at the home of Coe Admission staffer Mary Ohl and we'll be treated to Mary's husband's famous barbecue pork loin. (See what I mean about not going hungry? Or broke?)

Friday, July 27 -- Bike 64.7 miles to Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams (RAGBRAI theme: Ride the Distance). Here we'll be hosted by Colleen Ries '04 at the home of her mom, Charlene Willenbring. Their home is most conveniently located on the inbound route through town. You're on your own for dinner, but they have rented a port-a-potty for our use.

Saturday, July 28 -- Bike 56.6 miles to Bellevue and the Mississippi River (RAGBRAI theme: Soaring into Bellevue on the Mississippi). This should be the most challenging day of the week in terms of hills. While we'll almost never ride as a pack, it's a cool feeling to enter the end town as a unit, so we'll gather at a school on the edge of Bellevue and finish our journey (wearing CoeBRAI jerseys) as a team. We'll then bus back to Cedar Rapids. In the past we've been back on campus by 3 p.m. That might be a best-case scenario this year, but we'll be home on Saturday regardless.

Special note about housing: Anyone needing a place to stay before or after the ride should notify me ASAP. Please don't assume that we can put you in a vacant dorm room without notice. Much as I wish it worked that way, it doesn't.

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