Saturday, February 21, 2009

Payment procedure

I just wanted to remind everyone as you are sending in your payments to make checks payable to Coe College with Team CoeBRAI in the memo line. $200 is due March 1 along with your signed waiver. Also, if you ordered a RAGBRAI jersey or souvenir pack, please include the cost in your initial payment. Final payment of $175 is not due until July 1. Payments should be send to my attention at Coe College, 1220 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bowlin for kids' sake

While not exactly a fundraiser, it'll certainly be a fun-raiser with John Bowlin returning for his second consecutive torture tour. Instead of bringing a girl, this time he's bringing fellow 2007 grad TKEs Joe Greenwood and Jase Jensen.

John was often the life of the party last year -- even when the party was asleep -- and 2009 promises more of the same. I don't mean to sound an alarm for anyone -- from what I know of these three guys, John is the wildest -- but the Ely boys better bring their "A" game.

All of this is a way of saying, holy smokes am I amazed at the response!

Joe and Jase make the 27th and 28th registered members of Team CoeBRAI. I have another 20 people on the radar, but expect maybe another half dozen entries. While our intention was to cap the team at 30 full-time riders, don't worry. Just register and we'll sort it out later.

We ordered a bigger bus and a bigger truck today to ensure we can accommodate a bigger group. But we do have limits. Initial payments aren't due until March 1, but please don't wait until then to register. RAGBRAI isn't until July, but these are critical times for team captains.

Monday, February 16, 2009

9 spots left

Assuming we follow through on our threat to cap Team CoeBRAI at 30 full-week riders (a number driven by logistics), there are only nine spots left after today's flurry of registration activity. Good work, team!

I also added four names to the interest list, including three full-week riders. One of them has registered already (he lives in Omaha, so the Council Bluffs start has to be appealing) and the other two should be considered co-founders -- along with Tony Bata -- for the modern-day Team CoeBRAI.

Academic Technologist Lisa Wiebenga Stroschine and her husband, Jamey, were CoeBRAI pioneers in 2005. Lisa and Director of Academic Computing Tony Bata led the effort in 2005 and 2006. They made the perfect team with Lisa's organizational skills and Tony's culinary skills. Oh, the food! And Jamey saved my butt on more than one occasion with his bike repair skills.

Back then we fought for ourselves in RAGBRAI campgrounds, but were assured the finest meal served in each overnight town, courtesy of Tony, who doubled as our support driver. Those were good days.

And after taking a few years off RAGBRAI for rides in other states, Lisa and Jamey are back! Lisa delivered their second child, Cam, just recently and is on maternity leave. Imagine my surprise when her e-mail arrived today announcing their return.

The Team CoeBRAI experience has evolved over the years (this will be our fifth). We've traded RAGBRAI campgrounds for residential lawns. Instead of Tony's cooking, we hope for generous hosts or fend for ourselves. We rarely pay $5 for a cold shower. Thanks to the generosity of hosts from the Coe family, we enjoy a uniquely Coe experience within the RAGBRAI experience.

Lisa and Jamey, Susan and Nick, Steve, Steve and me represent the "old guard". I can hardly wait. Get off your teeter-totter and register!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A fortnight until CoeBRAI registration deadline

That’s right, in just two short weeks I’ll be finalizing the roster for Team CoeBRAI 2009. Around 40 people have expressed interest in participating with the official Coe College team on RAGBRAI XXXVII, but only 16 have registered here. Six people have sent me their initial payment of $200, which is due by March 1 along with a signed waiver, which you will receive upon registering. The remaining $175 will be due July 1.

I know it’s difficult to make plans for July in February, but logistics require that we follow this timetable and it is our policy that all participants must be registered. If you are still planning to join, could you let me know and fill out a registration? If you are no longer interested, let me know and I’ll stop badgering you.

For those who can only manage a couple days, we can accommodate part-time riders also at a fee of $50 per day. Half of the total is due March 1, along with your online registration and signed waiver. The remaining half will be due July 1.
As space allows, transportation may also be available from Cedar Rapids to Council Bluffs on July 18 ($100) and/or from Burlington to Cedar Rapids on July 25 ($50).

Registered CoeBRAI riders who must cancel for any reason will receive refunds according to the following sliding scale: 75 percent on or before May 1, 50 percent on or before June 1 and 25 percent on or before July 1. While we understand that life happens, we must insist on a no-refund policy for cancellations after July 1. (In other words, by registering now and paying the initial $200, you're only risking $50 by May 1, $100 by June 1 and $150 by July 1.)

RAGBRAI XXXVII cuts a 442-mile route through the southern half of the state. Beginning in Council Bluffs on July 18, the ride will stop in Red Oak (July 19), Greenfield (July 20), Indianola (July 21), Chariton (July 22), Ottumwa (July 23), and Mt. Pleasant (July 24) before ending in Burlington on July 25. It's the sixth-shortest route of all time and the 22,806 total feet of climb ranks as the 10th most in RAGBRAI history.

We are again actively seeking hosts from among the Coe family at each of the overnight towns. If you know someone in one of the overnights who would like to host us, send me their contact information.

You’ve got two weeks to register online. After creating your profile (or logging in to your RAGBRAI account for veterans), you should choose to join the group CoeBRAI (#32344) before submitting your entry. Please do not send signed waivers or any payments to RAGBRAI. Instead, those should be sent to me, the group contact. Checks should be made payable to Coe College.

Although the Register's online entry deadline is April 1, we encourage you to meet our March 1 deadline for the initial payment so that we can have a handle on the number of participants, which will be capped at 30.

If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact me. Information will also be communicated on our Web site and on this blog.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Bob's Your Uncle

That's the name of a popular Iowa City restaurant that I haven't frequented, but am constantly tempted solely because it makes me think of Bob Untiedt, everyone's favorite uncle. You see, Uncle Bob signed on for RAGBRAI XVII today -- the third in a row.

Ironically (for you triskaidekaphobiacs), he's the 13th person to register for Team CoeBRAI. I'm registered, obviously, though I wasn't even the first. That honor goes to RAGBRAI veteran but CoeBRAI newcomer Jacquelyn Burmeister, the mother of the new graphic designer in our office, Christina Kroemer. Jacquelyn celebrates a milestone birthday Feb. 20 and invites us all to help celebrate her 55th at the Piano Bar after work.

"I will be strolling down the street from my work to the Piano Bar for an after work birthday Martini...will probably be there for about an hour or so (I'm a slow sipper), if any of you CoeBRAI'rs would like to stop by, I'd love to meet ya's! Hopefully I'll recognize some faces on the trail this spring/summer before RAGBRAI," she said in an e-mail.

So who else has signed on for 2009?

Bob Beer, Coe class of 1983, who is apparently a RAGBRAI veteran who heard good things about our group. He's bringing along his friends Mike Weepie and Glen Wiltgen. I don't know any of them, but I didn't know the Ely boys last year either.

They'll be back in full force. Ringleader Chris Boyd, a 2001 master's in teaching grad, is registered along with his brother, Danny. Also returning from the Ely boys are Mike Estenson and Brett Henecke. If you rode in 2008, you know this is good news.

Brian Farrell is back for a third straight year and continues to work on his wife, a Coe psychology prof. Sara drove in 2007 and biked a couple sweet days in 2008. We're all hoping this is the year she stops testing the water and dives in.

Back after a year's hiatus are Michael Albers and Meg Reid. Mike, a 1980 grad, rode the oldest bike I've ever seen on RAGBRAI in 2007. I understand he's upgraded for 2009. Meg, a 1988 grad, also rode in 2007 and gained the incredible sense of accomplishment that comes with biking Iowa coast-to-coast. She intended to return last year, but had to cancel. I'm thrilled to see her back on the roster for 2009.

So 13 of 36 who have expressed interest are registered. What about the rest of you?