Monday, May 18, 2009
Our applications have been accepted. Our jerseys have been ordered. Our overnight hosts are a work in progress as we continue to seek housing in Red Oak and Chariton. Housing request forms have been mailed to both towns, but if anyone knows anyone, send them my way. Not much left to do now but train (I’ve got 260 miles in; how about you?).
I thought I’d take this opportunity to spell out some logistical matters you may be wondering about. Our group is bigger than ever, so loading will be interesting. Anyone who is planning to have their bike shipped can certainly ship it to me at Coe. But if you’re shipping it anyway, it makes more sense to ship it directly to Council Bluffs and then home from Burlington. That way we don’t have to load it and haul it across Iowa. Shipping information is available here.
I’m going to assume that all of you are riding with us from Cedar Rapids to Council Bluffs and back to Cedar Rapids from Burlington, although I know that’s not the case for some of you. Please inform me of your plans so we can plan accordingly. I learned tonight that we’ll be picking driver extraordinaire Abby Masters up on the way out in Des Moines, so that will be our lunch stop. Others in the Des Moines area may also want to consider this option.
We will be having a spaghetti dinner/pre-load opportunity on Friday, July 17 at Coe. Dinner at 6 p.m. followed by loading of as many bikes as are ready to go. (Free for CoeBRAI participants and $7 for guests. Please let me know whether or not you can attend and if you’ll be bringing guests.) This really makes things easier on Saturday and provides an opportunity to get to know your teammates. Loading begins at 8 a.m. Saturday, July 17 at Eby Fieldhouse on the Coe campus with a planned departure of 10 a.m. Those flying in may want to know that we’ll shoot for a late afternoon return to Cedar Rapids on Saturday, July 25.
Housing may or may not be available at Coe before and/or after RAGBRAI for anyone who needs it. If you need accommodations, please let me know. In the past we’ve been able to put people up at Coe and I hope to offer that again this year. I just don’t know yet.
I know some of you are unsure what to bring, so here are some tips from the RAGBRAI folks, plus a few of my own.
Please put identification on everything you take on RAGBRAI. Lost items can be returned to owners.
Bicycle equipment: Helmet is #1. In four years of CoeBRAI, we’ve had zero helmetless riders and I have no intention of starting now. Bicycle shops can handle most any mechanical need you have (last year, my bike was repaired by the Iowa Conference football MVP), but you might consider bringing a small repair kit that includes a tire, spare tube, tire irons and small wrenches. (I've survived on spare tubes and chain lube. As long as you get your bike serviced before RAGBRAI, it should be good to go.) In addition, a rear view mirror, bike gloves, pump, bike bag, rain gear, bicycle lock and water bottles are necessary equipment. (Personally, I don't mess with rain gear. If it rains, I get wet or I get off. And a lock isn't really necessary either, from my experience.)
Camping equipment: You'll need a duffle bag (or, in our case, a 30-gallon plastic tub, such as the one pictured here), sleeping bag, pillow, pad, tent, ground cloth, rope, stakes and a flashlight. (A collapsible chair will also come in handy. It need not fit into your plastic tub, nor does your tent. The tubs are just a handy way to tote items from town to town and also offer protection from the rain. For extra protection, pack what you can in large ziplock bags. I have a small supply of tubs should anyone, particularly out-of-towners, wish to use them. With the number of riders, I’m going to be strictly enforcing the one-tub-per-person rule. On RAGBRAI, less is more.)
Toiletries: Pack a towel, washcloth, toothbrush, toothpaste, skin lotion, shampoo, soap, razor, nail clippers, brush/comb, hair ties/barrettes, deodorant, mirror and toilet tissue.
Clothes: T-shirts, shorts, a jacket, pants, warm-up suit, underwear, socks, shoes, sandals, sleepwear, swimsuit and sweatbands/bandannas should get you through the week. (Two sets of biking attire are sufficient from my experience -- one to wear and one to dry out after "washing" it in the shower. Remember that you will be getting a CoeBRAI jersey and some of you also ordered a RAGBRAI jersey. Remember also that each overnight town has a t-shirt they would like to sell you. Be sure to bring padded biking shorts!)
First Aid: Pack aspirin, ibuprofen, vitamins, Band-Aids, gauze, tape, first-aid cream, lip balm, sun block (lots of it!), insect repellent (even more!), safety pins, special medicines, Campho-Phenique and sanitary protection with disposable bags if needed. (Chamois Butter before and during, Gold Bond powder after. Avoid this advice at your own peril.)
Miscellaneous: Bring an alarm clock, spare glasses, sunglasses, a scouting knife, camera, film, watch, earplugs (THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT. Trains, rock concerts, civil defense sirens, etc., will inevitably disturb your effort to get some rest. Bring earplugs.), ID, money, traveler's checks, credit cards, journal, pens, pencils (who uses pencils anymore?), stamps, address book, several plastic trash bags for rain protection and zip-lock bags. Be sure to enclose everything in a water-tight plastic bag.
Or, just bring your cell phone. Service is usually epically spotty with the crush of people, and I expect nothing less in southern Iowa. But we will have charging stations available in camp. Please send me the number of the cell phone you will have with you and also the name and contact information of your emergency contact