Monday, November 15, 2010

Thank you, ma'am, may I have another?


Online registration opens today for RAGBRAI 2011!

Veterans should have received an e-mail from RAGBRAI with registration instructions. First-time participants will first need to create a profile at the RAGBRAI Web site. You will then want 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. (While it is not certain that I will lead the charge again next year, I will at least serve as the point of contact until a successor is found.)

Fees for Team CoeBRAI will remain at $400, despite a $10 RAGBRAI increase to $150. Of this, $200 is due March 1 along with a completed (online) entry form and signed waiver. The remaining $200 will be due July 1.

The fee includes the official $150 RAGBRAI entry fee, a Team CoeBRAI jersey and license plate, bus transportation to and from Cedar Rapids and the starting/ending towns, some meals, and snacks and non-alcoholic beverages at each overnight stop.

If you're not ready to commit, don't sweat it. Our "official" registration process doesn't begin until January. But if you’re like me and can't imagine a summer without RAGBRAI, go ahead and register. It's also a good time to add biking gear to your holiday wishlists.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Weird racing

Thanks to Tom Hicks for sharing this fascinating bike racing video. I think we ought to challenge the Wartburg team to a competition.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Reflections of RAGBRAI and our team...Team CoeBRAI

As I climbed back on the saddle today for a my first bike ride since RAGBRAI I couldn't help but reflect on the wealth of emotions I was feeling while riding down the flat, boring, lonely roads in Blacklick, Ohio. I kept hearing the echos of my fellow riders shifting gears while going up hills...I found myself missing people yelling "biker on", "slowing", "on your left" or "biker off".


I'm a bullet point kind of person, so I wanted to jot down some of my favorite memories from my recent trip to Iowa that ran through my head today while I was out riding with a big smile on my face...


Before I start my list though, I absolutely want to thank Lonnie, Lisa, Ryan and Abby. Without you guys, none of this would have been possible. Lonnie, I can't imagine the planning and coordination it must take to organize a ride like this. I can't thank you enough for ALL of your time and efforts! Also, for allowing me to be part of such an amazing TEAM...This was truly an experience I will cherish for the rest of my life and I have you to thank for that!! Lisa, you amaze me. EVERY morning when I would get up, you'd be up, running around, taking care of everyone and everything. Absolutely wouldn't have made it without all of your support!! Ryan and Abby, you guys are simply the best! The work you guys did behind the scenes is what made this bike ride possible and a lot more enjoyable! Running to the store for everyone while we were out riding, making sure I knew which cooler had water and Gatorade in it (hehe), driving the truck all day (which not to mention broke down 4 million times!) and finally being so positive and supportive of everyone riding! I can't thank ALL of you enough for all of your time and efforts...I'm humbled by your hard work, dedication and total selflessness.


FAVORITE MEMORIES:

*Tour De' Food - How could you EVER doubt this would make the top of the list? Touring the roads of Iowa enjoying some of the BEST food I've ever had...Farm Boys breakfast burritos...Judy's Mom's cinnamon rolls...need I say more??? Too many good food stops to mention!


*Sitting in the Post Office the day we had the bad storm (can't remember what town we were in but I've NEVER laughed so hard in my life...I was actually crying from laughing so hard and I'm not even too sure what was so funny!)


*The bus ride to Sioux City and all of the gambling going on!


*Wanting to yell "I-O" the first time I heard someone say "SLOWING" because I thought they say "O-H". (it's an Ohio State thing we do...I yell "O-H" and you would yell "I-O" to spell out OHIO for those of you that don't know)


*"Quityerbitchin" (hope I'm spelling that correctly Lonnie!) - the daily text from Lonnie telling us all to "quit our bitching" was priceless.


*Riding along side one of my best friends, Amy. You are awesome Amy! Thank you for pushing me and getting me through the rough times!


*Riding into Parkersburg had to be one of the most inspiring places we visited. All of the signs on the side of the road about the horrible tornado that hit their town and then reading about their football coach that was killed. All that, that town had been through and they were still rebuilding and surviving...I felt so inspired riding up the hills into their town.


*Riding along side some awesome new friends...Dana and Darcy! Darcy, I'm so glad we all started riding together!! I have literally laughed out loud writing some things on this list because of you!! Sooo many memories!


*Speaking of Dacry; her story about knocking over all the bikes in one town! PRICELESS!


*The pool/keg party


*Screaming "Ladies and Gentlemen......we have a biker in the corn!" That was just my way of calling out those who couldn't wait until the next town to use the restroom or worse yet, couldn't just go a few more rows into the corn so we couldn't see them anymore! ;)


*Our entire team - what a great group of people. I was amazed at all of the support!! It was great to get back to camp, join the "circle of chairs", grab a beer and sit and reminisce about the day that had just passed. So many great people, so many great memories.


*Breaking up a live TV broadcast; 10pm news (please see video on Darcy's Facebook page). I would like to let everyone know that I actually ALSO pulled off the "silent skip" behind her immediately following the "crazy run-behind her like a total idiot" which was not caught on tape due to concerns of being escorted out of the area - LOL! It was pretty funny! Couldn't have done it without my wingman - we'll just call him "guy in the green shorts" (because I have no clue what his name was, but he was my cover) and of course Darcy working the camera.


*Obviously dipping my tire in the Mississippi with my teammates and holding my bike above my head...UNREAL


*Riding down through Dubuque or any of the towns and seeing all of the people lining the streets supporting everyone!


*Arriving at Clark College and being with Team CoeBRAI before we all rode down to the river. Knowing that we had all made it!


*Just the overall experience of being a small part of something so huge.


*Finishing the 100 mile ride, jumping off my bike afterwards and grabbing a beer! :)


*Potter's Hill - if anyone is actually still reading...I know you're rolling your eyes. Seriously though, I learned a lot while walking up that hill. I promise to NEVER complain about ANY hill that I encounter EVER again while I'm out riding. I couldn't hardly WALK up that hill!


LOW POINTS:

*Day one - I learned a lot that day. Thank you, Judy!


*Riding in the storm and that horrible head wind! I felt like I got hit by a truck after that ride!


That's about all I have for now, I'm sure I'll think of other additions after I post this!! The ending was truly bitter sweet... Happy to not have to get on the bike the next day, but extremely sad to leave all of my teammates. I hope everyone adds your thoughts or favorite memories! I know one thing is for sure...I'll never forget this experience and all of the wonderful people I've met!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

RAGBRAI withdrawls


Well, we made it back to Salt Lake City yesterday afternoon. While I have to admit it is extremely comforting to be home and to sleep in my own bed, and to not be in full sweat mode as soon as I get to moving around (the humidity here in SLC today is around 25 percent!), I continue to have RAGBRAI withdrawls.

The camaraderie of our group, the beautiful green landscapes of home, the gentle breeze in my face, and warm smiles of Iowa - it's all etched in my photo book of memories. Makes me want to hop in the car and head back east next week!

My high point of the week? Saturday's beautiful ride from Dyserville to Dubuque. Absolutely stunning! The low point? Is it even worth mentioning the rain day? But even that wasn't that bad, was it? Well, okay, when it was raining, going up the hill against a headwind coming out of Winthrop, that's when I was truly wishing I was somewhere else. But out of seven days, that's not bad!

It was simply awesome to get to know and hang and ride with you all. Again, proof that the best thing about RAGBRAI is the people! Till next year..... Enjoy your well-deserved rest, but don't let those bike tires stand still too long!

Tim Wagner

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Final descent

Team CoeBRAI 2010 makes its final descent to the Mississippi River in Dubuque, completing a week-long, 450-mile journey across Iowa.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Saturday's ride, July 30, Manchester to Dubuque

I’m a little late posting the information from the final day’s ride from Manchester to Dubuque but we packed up, showered and had lunch at Barb’s sister’s home in Dubuque and drove toward North Carolina, stopping late at night at a small town just north of Louisville, KY, and I was too tired to post, so here goes:
The final day’s ride was in our minds the entire trip because of the promise of the toughest hill on the trip: Potter’s Hill. It is a one mile long, up to 19 degree (so they said) climb that promised to challenge even the most fit, youthful rider. So when I awoke on Saturday to overcast skies and cool temperatures I was pleased. Potter’s Hill was one of the last obstacles we would encounter, occurring within a few miles of the outskirts of Dubuque and heat and overpowering sunshine weren’t going to help.
My occasional riding partners Doug and Ron had left the group the night before to return to Cedar Rapids for a family reunion, so I would be on my own for most of the ride. I left after packing up at about 7 am, a little later than normal, and rode east toward the first way point on the map, Earlville, Iowa.
I have been to Earlville many times as a young man. It was the nearest town, I think, to our favorite summer place, Lake Delhi, which now lay bereft of its water following the dam failure of a week ago. I didn’t plan to stop but once on this ride and Earlville wasn’t the place so I rode on with my battery powered taillight flashing. I rode slowly enjoying the foggy landscape with its rolling hills so typical of eastern Iowa. I also thought constantly of conserving energy because Potter’s Hill was looming.
Dyersville was roughly halfway to Dubuque and that was my planned stop. My neice, Kim, works at a restaurant there and I hoped to have breakfast there. We rode into town passed a large processing plant that smelled like yeast. A short jog beneath the railroad tracks put us on the outskirts of Dyersville where we crossed a small stream that a week earlier had obviously been a very large stream and had flooded the area.
Up a hill and into downtown Dyersville where there was a small sign saying “Country Junction, breakfast, 2 miles ahead”. That was Kim’s place but I realized it was going to take me more than a mile off the route and leaving the route wasn’t something I would do on this final day.
I rode slowly through the downtown finally dismounting and walking to where the route turned to the right. I parked my bike on the hillside and walked back into town. I got a coffee and Danish at a coffee shop. I loaded it with four shots of espresso for the climb ahead and went back to my bike. On the way there were two guys dressed in White Sox uniforms from the period depicted in the film “Field of Dreams” that was shot here in Dyersville. It is the most famous attraction in Dyersville, although I might think that the beautiful Basilica there would provide serious competition. Anyway, with cornstalks as the background, I had my picture taken with them.
Then back to the hillside where I sat down to enjoy my coffee and rest for the climb ahead. People watching is great at RAGBRAI and as I thought there listening to an eclectic music selection playing from loudspeakers across the street, I thought about this wonderful event and all the interesting people I have met and seen. Imagine bicycles and riders walking by that hillside four and more across beginning probably at 6 AM and continuing non stop until sometime in the afternoon. That is what you see if you are an observer sitting on the hillside of one of the pass-through towns when RAGBRAI comes through. It is one of the amazing things about the event; the sheer volume of riders that participate – some 10 to 15,000 of them on any given day. They are riding every kind of one, two, three and more wheeled bicycles (“bi” doesn’t seem right to describe them). From unicycles to old fashioned with one very large wheel and one very small one behind, to single speed old fashioned Schwinn’s of my youth, to six passenger “tandems” and recumbents of every configuration imagineable, to an elyptical bicycle, they stream by you. Parents with children in trailers, families traveling on tandems modified so the children can reach the pedals and participate, ride by each pedaling and pulling their weight as they cross this verdant and beautiful state.
I have to say I was overwhelmed by the beauty of it and as the music changed to the first mvmt of the Haydn Trumpet I got up and pedaled off with one final shot of the twin spires of the Basilica framed by an alleyway at the top of the Dyersville hill. There was no going back, Potter’s Hill lay ahead and I hoped I had the strength and ability to make the climb.
Riding out of town we passed the site of the Field of Dreams where riders were relaxing, playing ball, and enjoying the scene. I kept pedaling and met up with Tim and Ann for the first time on the ride. From Utah with Iowa roots, Tim and I had enjoyed many conversations in the mornings and evenings but hadn’t ridden together. For several miles we rode and it was obvious to me that Ann had the climbing ability to give her a chance at the hill. The terrain became a little more severe, there were over 2400 feet of climb during the short 47 miles of ride with almost all of it in the final miles.
We turned left onto a curving road, the first that I recall on the entire route. We rode a ridge road up and down hills with small climbs of 100 feet here and there just tempting us for the difficult time ahead.
I looked to my left, I was overwhelmed with the view. There was a valley way below us with a winding road at its base and another road marginally visible rising up the other side. That must be it.
All I could think of was the 23rd Psalm. “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For Thy rod and Thy staff are with me.”
Here we go.
Down a screamer of a hill we wound into the basin into a small town at the base of the climb. A quick stop to adjust the tension on my shoes and out of town. They had paved the road recently so it was glass smooth coming through the town. We turned right and the handpainted sign said “Potter’s Hill, 19 degrees”. I didn’t really need that. I knew from reading about the hill that it had a false finish with a left turn and that when I got there I’d have another 1/3 of a mile to go to the top.
I looked up. There was no chance to get momentum. Most of the riders I could see had dismounted and were walking filling the right lane of the two lane road. I downshifted and began my climb.
I wear a heart rate monitor when I ride and I have a rule for my own safety that I will not ride more than a moment or two when my heart rate gets above 170 bpm. At my age it really isn’t safe. Up the hill I climbed and sweat was pouring off my forehead, arms, legs and anywhere else where sweat can leave your body.
I wore through the caffeine energy, through the energy bars I’d gobbled, through the Gatorade in my bottles, and through whatever reserves I had and I still wasn’t to the turn. I was more than halfway up the mountain though and passed David on his recumbent. I don’t know how recumbent riders can possibly make this hill. They fly down hills at great speed and then slowly make their way up the next one, wobbling their way skyward. I was too much for my friend and he and his daughter, who were riding together, put their feet on the pavement and began walking like most of those climbing.
A glance at my computer and I could see I was close to my heart rate limit. I wasn’t going to make it. It was time to stand on the pegs and really push but there was the 170 on the monitor and I had to get off, just short of the left turn that would have put the top in site and might have let me find enough energy to ride to the top.
Oh well, I’ll live to ride another day and another hill if I follow the rules. Off I went and walked the rest of the way.
Most of us walked and cheered those who could still pedal on their way with words of encouragement. We felt so good for them and really so bad for our inability to do the ride ourselves.
As I got closer to the top, the hill flattened slightly so I could remount and ride over the crest to the cheers of those watching at the top (no for me but for those who rode all the way). Someone on a loudspeaker was shouting, “This is Potter’s Hill. My father name is Potter. It is named for him. You can have your picture taken with him”.
Andy later said he called back that he didn’t want to do that and had something else in mind and the lady with the loudspeaker put the speaker down and said to him, “then you can hit him in the shins if you want”. That would have satisfied me right then and if she’d said it to me I might have.
The ride wasn’t over though and we rode down a couple more screamers (I reached a top speed of 43.5 mph and could have gotten more but thought better of it and braked slightly to slow. A downhill like that almost always means a similar climbs are coming and they did. All the way into Dubuque. The name must mean “the city of hills”.
We came to Clarke College next to Dubuque Senior High School where I had competed as a high school wrestler more than 50 years ago. A beautiful limestone rock building on a hilltop looked like a high school should look, I think. Not a modern, functional boxlike building but a solid structure where learning could be accomplished surrounded by architectural beauty.
Our instructions were to meet and wait til noon and then ride together down into the city and to the river to dip our front tire in the Mississippi to complete the ride that started with our rear tire dip in the Missouri 7 days previous.
We shared stories of success and failure. Ann did the hill; Tim didn’t. I wasn’t surprised that Ann was successful. Others had similar stories of success but all were satisfied, I think. A couple rode it after being forced to stop briefly by riders in front suddenly stopping in front. When you are riding hard up a hill at less than 3mph and someone stops in front of you, you will stop too or hit them. To my mind, restarting from that point would be the most difficult thing imaginable, but they were able to do that and get to the top successfully.
We rode into downtown Dubuque. It was a wonderful feeling to see the Coe College group riding together with our team jerseys on going down to the Mississippi where we walked to the water, posed for pictures and then went to a grassy hillside for a final team shot and began to disband, going our separate ways.
Barbara and her sister Jody were there. We walked back downtown to our truck, loaded the bike in and went to the Budget truck to collect the camping gear, say our farewells, and head to Jody’s.
This was a week of good fun. I’ve made new friends, reconnected with the college of my youth and ridden across the state that I call my homestate.
It was wonderful. It wasn’t the longest or the toughest RAGBRAI ever, but I think as my second one, it was the best. Isn’t that the way it is, though. The most recent experience is almost always the best. I’ll remember it always and hold it dearest til the next one.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Cows

A conversation about the jersey on the bus today leads me to post images of the full paintings that were used on the front and back of the Coebrai 2010 jersey.













Back of jersey














Front of jersey

I do really like the design of the jersey. But these images give you a better idea of the composition of the original paintings.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Grouchy day

The road to Manchester was lonesome for this cranky rider.
It happens every year. One day (at least) is my grouchy day. Although some might have a hard time distinguishing my bad moods from good, I do have them. To put it another way, sometimes I'm grouchier than others.

That was today as I ventured off from the pampered lifestyle offered by our Waterloo hosts into a rain storm. Though not nearly as bad as the hail ride of 2005, it wasn't long before I was wet and miserable. I took a long break at the Gilbertville Fire Department until it was evident that waiting out the rain was not a viable option. A few short miles later I happened by the Farm Boys location and opted to take advantage of my last opportunity for the official breakfast burrito of Team CoeBRAI. Filling up on coffee in an effort to get warm lasted until Farm Boys shut down and returned to wherever they are from, another RAGBRAI in the bag. But I was still 50 miles from Manchester and weather radar was not promising.

Just as the farmhouse occupant returned from taking another quitter to Manchester, he agreed to take me as well. Waiting for someone else to bail in order to make the drive worth his while bought time for the rain to let up and, ultimately, stop as the western sky turned light blue. When a unicyclist returned to the road, pride would not allow me to implement my exit strategy. It was a good thing too, as I never would have forgiven myself.

The wind increased as the weather improved, so I was no longer cold, but no less cranky. The absence of anything resembling a town for 27 miles between Gilbertville and Rowley only aggravated my funk. After a quick bite and a short nap on the edge of town, the route turned north through Quasqueton to Winthrop. Fueling for the final push to Manchester at the Winthrop Phillips 66, I lingered on a nice patch of grass on the shady side of the building. Fifteen miles later -- and 9-1/2 hours after the pedaling began -- I was in Manchester.

Our hosts -- Steve and Lila Geers -- rolled out a delicious picnic dinner (best burgers of the week, bar none). I opted to pass on the downtown activities so that I could prepare for Saturday's departure and because I wouldn't have been much for company.

Roger Bear '63, Judy Floy '77, David Moore '80 and Kaitlin Moore enjoy each other's company in Manchester.
Tomorrow takes us 47 miles to Dubuque by way of Dyersville, home of the Field of Dreams. All Kohawks are welcome to join us on the descent to the Mississippi. We plan to gather at Clarke College at noon. I've made it this far on the big ring and hope to make it all the way, but Potter Hill just outside of Graf may end that silly notion.

Whether or not my granny gear comes into play remains to be seen, but I'm glad to have my grouchy day behind me. In 2010, at least, the good far out numbers the bad.

Friday, July 30, ride from Waterloo to Manchester

Today’s journey to Manchester from Waterloo looked fairly easy on the map. A couple of thousand feet of climb over a 61 mile route didn’t sound too tough. Unfortunately mother nature figured heavily into the ride today.
When we went to bed we knew some weather was forecast. In fact we expected a shower at 11 pm that didn’t materialize. And the next day was 40 to 60% chance of intermittent showers for the day.
I left at 7 AM and the rain began. I rode about 4.5 miles in the rain from our host’s location until I was able to join the route near the Waterloo Water Park. It was just sprinkling by this time so when I got to Gilbertville I thought it was a good idea to stop for biscuits and gravy and a banana at the American Legion.
When I came out I heard thunder so I got on the bike and headed east rapidly trying to outrun the thunderstorm. The rain picked up until it was really coming down and the lightning was flashing around us. It was pretty spectacular. It teased us by dropping back to a sprinkle and I thought we might be alright. The sky lightened up,
Then “Wham”, a spectacular bolt of lightning struck about a half mile in front of us near a radio or tv tower and the rain began in earnest. It didn’t stop for 4 hours.
It is hard to describe riding this long (4 hours and 56 minutes) in a steady and sometimes driving rain with all those other riders. It was absolutely numbing. The miles just went by as you put your head down and pedaled away
Fortunately the road was good and the hills, though reoccurring on a regular basis, weren’t overwhelming – at least while it was raining.
I really felt sorry for the kids and groups who had set up shop along the way expecting to sell us beverages or food because we weren’t stopping for anything. We wound through the countryside (nearly all roads in Iowa run either north/south or /east west) until we came to a town where the call of nature and hunger forced me to stop. I was also out of liquids and the last thing you want to do on a multi day ride is to get dehydrated.
So Rowley got the benefit of my money with a chicken sandwich from the Tyson booth and a refill of liquids. Soaked doesn’t describe the day. As David said, “It just rained and got cold and then it got windy”.
I stalled a bit and then got back on the cold bike and pedaled on my way, determined not to stop again until I was at our Manchester host home. We’d come 35 miles to Rowley and there was about 30 more to go according to the map.
Through Quasqueton I pedaled even though it did look like a place where I would have liked to stop for a while. We had earlier crossed the Cedar River which was severely swollen from the previous rains. The Wapsie in Quasqy was also pretty full as I crossed it. No stopping and on I went. It really was a dreary day of riding without much of interest to report. I think it might have been more interesting, no, I know it would have been more interesting, if it had been sunny. The land we were riding through was the farmland of my youth and I could have enjoyed it if only the weather had been better.
I did reminisce a bit about my grandfather and going to some of the areas with him when he whitewashed barns or sprayed them with DDT to get rid of the flies, or sprayed barnyards for weeds with something akin to agent orange, I’m sure.
But mostly it was head down and pedal.
Finally we got to Winthrop, the last town before Manchester, about 15 miles to go according to the map. As we turned east, the rain stopped, but the wind slammed us in the face at what seemed like 20 mile an hour blast that set the flags out straight and the corn waving. And there were some decent hills to climb over the last miles too.
Finally into Manchester we came, across the Maquoketa River that had put Manchester in the national news only six days ago with a major flood. We could see what a sorry state it left some of the homes as we crossed the river.
Into the town we came and I had the chance to relax, take a shower at the nearby high school, and go visit an old family friend, Norma Hadrava, who drove up from Cedar Rapids with her daughter.
Then I got a message from a former business associate, Rick Werth, who now lives in Des Moines. He is riding tomorrow with his wife, daughter and son in law. We worked on Northern Telecom programs together for many years. He came to our host home and we talked for some time. It was good to see him and meet his family.
Our hosts brought us wonderful food tonight that they prepare. We had brats and burgers.
Tomorrow we finish in Dubuque, so rain or not it will be over. All is dried. I hope it can stay that way. We will say our goodbyes to our new friends and Barb and I will head home.
Oh, Barbara? Sounds like she’s not going to ride any with me after all. Maybe next year.
Remember, I just rode hard n a really crummy day but I didn’t have it near as bad as lots of folks in the Clemmons area who need your help. So send some money, maybe $68 to match the number of miles I rode today. Or $442 for the advertised route mileage for the week. Send your check to the Clemmons Food Pantry, c/o Clemmons Methodist Church, Clemmons, NC 27012 and mark “Roger’s Ride” on the check.
Thanks. I’ll post something tomorrow.

Friday, July 30, ride from Waterloo to Manchester

Today’s journey to Manchester from Waterloo looked fairly easy on the map. A couple of thousand feet of climb over a 61 mile route didn’t sound too tough. Unfortunately mother nature figured heavily into the ride today.
When we went to bed we knew some weather was forecast. In fact we expected a shower at 11 pm that didn’t materialize. And the next day was 40 to 60% chance of intermittent showers for the day.
I left at 7 AM and the rain began. I rode about 4.5 miles in the rain from our host’s location until I was able to join the route near the Waterloo Water Park. It was just sprinkling by this time so when I got to Gilbertville I thought it was a good idea to stop for biscuits and gravy and a banana at the American Legion.
When I came out I heard thunder so I got on the bike and headed east rapidly trying to outrun the thunderstorm. The rain picked up until it was really coming down and the lightning was flashing around us. It was pretty spectacular. It teased us by dropping back to a sprinkle and I thought we might be alright. The sky lightened up,
Then “Wham”, a spectacular bolt of lightning struck about a half mile in front of us near a radio or tv tower and the rain began in earnest. It didn’t stop for 4 hours.
It is hard to describe riding this long (4 hours and 56 minutes) in a steady and sometimes driving rain with all those other riders. It was absolutely numbing. The miles just went by as you put your head down and pedaled away
Fortunately the road was good and the hills, though reoccurring on a regular basis, weren’t overwhelming – at least while it was raining.
I really felt sorry for the kids and groups who had set up shop along the way expecting to sell us beverages or food because we weren’t stopping for anything. We wound through the countryside (nearly all roads in Iowa run either north/south or /east west) until we came to a town where the call of nature and hunger forced me to stop. I was also out of liquids and the last thing you want to do on a multi day ride is to get dehydrated.
So Rowley got the benefit of my money with a chicken sandwich from the Tyson booth and a refill of liquids. Soaked doesn’t describe the day. As David said, “It just rained and got cold and then it got windy”.
I stalled a bit and then got back on the cold bike and pedaled on my way, determined not to stop again until I was at our Manchester host home. We’d come 35 miles to Rowley and there was about 30 more to go according to the map.
Through Quasqueton I pedaled even though it did look like a place where I would have liked to stop for a while. We had earlier crossed the Cedar River which was severely swollen from the previous rains. The Wapsie in Quasqy was also pretty full as I crossed it. No stopping and on I went. It really was a dreary day of riding without much of interest to report. I think it might have been more interesting, no, I know it would have been more interesting, if it had been sunny. The land we were riding through was the farmland of my youth and I could have enjoyed it if only the weather had been better.
I did reminisce a bit about my grandfather and going to some of the areas with him when he whitewashed barns or sprayed them with DDT to get rid of the flies, or sprayed barnyards for weeds with something akin to agent orange, I’m sure.
But mostly it was head down and pedal.
Finally we got to Winthrop, the last town before Manchester, about 15 miles to go according to the map. As we turned east, the rain stopped, but the wind slammed us in the face at what seemed like 20 mile an hour blast that set the flags out straight and the corn waving. And there were some decent hills to climb over the last miles too.
Finally into Manchester we came, across the Maquoketa River that had put Manchester in the national news only six days ago with a major flood. We could see what a sorry state it left some of the homes as we crossed the river.
Into the town we came and I had the chance to relax, take a shower at the nearby high school, and go visit an old family friend, Norma Hadrava, who drove up from Cedar Rapids with her daughter.
Then I got a message from a former business associate, Rick Werth, who now lives in Des Moines. He is riding tomorrow with his wife, daughter and son in law. We worked on Northern Telecom programs together for many years. He came to our host home and we talked for some time. It was good to see him and meet his family.
Our hosts brought us wonderful food tonight that they prepare. We had brats and burgers.
Tomorrow we finish in Dubuque, so rain or not it will be over. All is dried. I hope it can stay that way. We will say our goodbyes to our new friends and Barb and I will head home.
Oh, Barbara? Sounds like she’s not going to ride any with me after all. Maybe next year.
Remember, I just rode hard n a really crummy day but I didn’t have it near as bad as lots of folks in the Clemmons area who need your help. So send some money, maybe $68 to match the number of miles I rode today. Or $442 for the advertised route mileage for the week. Send your check to the Clemmons Food Pantry, c/o Clemmons Methodist Church, Clemmons, NC 27012 and mark “Roger’s Ride” on the check.
Thanks. I’ll post something tomorrow.

A banner day

Thursday was a banner day in the gear-hauling department.

First, let me say how I love the new Blogger editor almost as much as I love the rare opportunity to blog. Various issues -- never of the two-wheeled variety -- have conspired to prevent me from sharing. I'm now able to take advantage of the lightning-fast Internet at the Kennedy home in Waterloo. A fitting end to a banner day, if only because our rental truck did not cause a single stressful moment for us.

Abby took the bull by the horns in Charles City.
Arriving in the dark of night from points unknown, our new truck should see us through to the end in Dubuque (and, hopefully, home to Cedar Rapids immediately after). That the wider cargo section makes our custom bike transport system obsolete is a matter for another day.

The Blue Band rocked Parkersburg.
This was a day for perspective, as the 82-mile route from Charles City to Waterloo took RAGBRAI through Parkersburg -- a town still recovering from two tragic events, a killer tornado and the murder of the beloved football coach. Fueled by an outstanding meal put on by the Chuck Town Macombers and my best night's sleep yet, I felt like I was biking on a cloud. Parkersburg, my preplanned lunch stop, couldn't have worked out better as I was able to have my first piece of pie -- I chose apple since blueberry was out -- my first nap under a shade tree and see the Blue Band perform (Blue Moon Honeymoon, their new CD, will be playing on the Ipod Friday) all in the span of an hour.

After discovering I had routed riders into Waterloo on a gravel road, my efforts to correct the error failed, but I tried. I headed straight for the pool upon arriving at the Kennedys, who know a little something about entertaining. In addition to a pool and hot tub for sore muscles, a feast of lasagna and ribs greeted riders at the end of this year's longest day (century riders excluded). I would have settled just for the salad that accompanied the main course, but confess to devouring not one, but two Blizzards. (Now that I think about it, that's about when Peter started the conversation about the seven deadly sins.)

Team CoeBRAI ate like kings at Camp Kennedy.
In a few short hours, we'll be on the road to Manchester on the penultimate day of RAGBRAI 2010. On Saturday, we'll make our descent to the Mississippi River in Dubuque and it will all be over for another year. Like always, this one hasn't been without its trials and tribulations. And, oh, the stories we can tell. The world's oldest, longest and biggest bicycling event isn't for everyone, although I think everyone should at least give it a try. You'll remember the hills, heat and headaches, and feel a great sense of accomplishment. Even if you never participate in RAGBRAI again, it will always be in your blood. As I near the end of my sixth year, I realize more and more that the attraction really has very little to do with cycling. I can't pinpoint what it is exactly, but it keeps me coming back.





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Thursday, July 29, 2010

Roger's ride on Thursday, July 29 - Charles City to Waterloo

On Thursday we rode from Charles City to Waterloo, a distance of about 88 miles the way we were routed. Waterloo is generally south southeast from Chucktown and the day was spectacular for bike riding.
The penultimate stop of the day was scheduled to be the small town of Dike. This town is very special to Barbara and me. It is the childhood home of one of our favorite former coworkers: Alicia Hansen Burdick. Alicia’s mother and father are Curt and Alice and I told them I’d stop by on the bike ride and that I’d be there about noon. Curt is a former race car driver who I’ve known for 4 decades. We are both members of the Hawkeye Downs “Wall of Fame” of the speedway in my hometown of Cedar Rapids.
The budget folks delivered our new truck at about 11 pm and it is a nice one that should serve us well for the remainder of the trip.
As I slept in my tent last night someone set of their car alarm not once but twice. Must have been about 3 AM, so I slept before and after that but not quite as well afterwards. I woke up at 5 and got ready to leave which I did just before 6 knowing I’d probably be in Dike before my scheduled time. I’d figure out how to handle that enroute but couldn’t call the Hansen’s because Verizon’s service is really spotty in this part of northern Iowa. So away I rode, the second person in the group to leave Charles City.
The road the RAGBRAI organizers sent us on was newly paved and very smooth. I felt like every pedal stroke I made moved me forward by using 100% of the energy I put into the stroke without any loss from bumps or from dodging cracks in the pavement. I was averaging 20 mph for the first10 to 12 miles until we left the county and got onto less perfect roads although they still were plenty smooth. Overall these roads for the first 40 miles of the ride were the smoothest of the entire 300 miles of our journey so far.
Doug and Ron joined me on the road and we clipped along quickly to the first town where we stopped for breakfast of scrambled eggs with French toast, cinnamon, whipped cream and cherries. While we ate four other team members joined us and we watched the crowd of riders walk through town, checking for characters. Saw my first guy with a thong and bike shoes, that’s all. Not sure I’d do that. It can’t be comfortable to ride clothed like that and besides I’m not sure thongs are becoming to me. He sure lit up the cameras in the crowd though so if he was seeking attention (surprise) he got it.
20 miles later we arrived in Parkersburg, a town in Iowa that has had its share of tragedy in the past two years. On May 28, 2008 an EF5 tornado struck the town, leveling half of the village and killing 7 people. Then last year their popular and nationally known high school football coach was killed by a former student and son of the coaches family friends. It was a tragedy that was documented nationally and also affected this small town.
I think RAGBRAI made special effort to go through this town this year. The town absolutely turned out for the event with statues made of discarded bike parts, great food stands, flags and music to entertain us. Then as we rode out of town we climbed a hill and entered the devastated portion of the town. Not a tree in site, no original buildings at all, and every home and business there was newly built. The families sat in their front yards greeting us and I was impressed how beautifully the homes were landscaped and the fresh appearance of this part of town, the half that was completely destroyed. As we rode east and then south I could easily see the path of this tornadic monster by the complete lack of trees. Curt Hansen told me later that when he went to help he saw big trees with nothing but the trunk of the tree standing, no limbs, no bark, nothing – all torn off by the twister.
I stalled for some time in Parkersburg before riding off so I didn’t arrive too early in Dike. I called Barb to see if she was going to meet me in Dike to ride to Waterloo and found out she had food poisoning from dinner the night before and couldn’t make the trip today. I windowshopped and strolled through the town before enjoying some water and a frozen fruit cup offered by students from a nearby school. I walked back to my bike and headed south.
We rode through Stout where there was more food although I didn’t stop because I figured Alice would have something. The temperature had begun to rise a little bit and the wind picked up ever so slightly from the South Southeast so occasionally I had a headwind, but it was inconsequential. The terrain was rolling all day with little flat area, mostly either uphill or down. There were times it looked like the rolling hills of a Grant Wood painting.
I was able to easily keep up a good pace and carried a 16 mph or more average all the way to Dike where I asked a Deputy Sheriff where Curt and Alice lived. He directed me to the house and I rolled up about noon. Curt was watching for me and took me inside to see their wonderful house where Alicia and Bobby Hansen grew up. Curt remodeled it a few years ago and Alice and Alicia designed a trophy room to display his considerable collection of winner’s trophies and memorabilia. It is beautifully done.
And surprise Alice made a rhubarb pie. Who would have guessed! She also made Danish coffee which I hadn’t enjoyed in years. It is made with by putting an egg in the water along with the grounds, altogether in the pot, and boiled. Then you strain out the grounds and the coffee is smooth and delicious. We also had some fresh lemonade. But mostly we talked about the memories we have and about our children and our plans for the future. Curt was interested in the mechanics of the bike so afterwards we went outside and I showed him how it all worked. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him take on RAGBRAI some day. I’d love to have him ride with me.
After about an hour and a half off I went for the final run to Waterloo. We went through Hudson before heading into Waterloo and I stopped for a pork burger. The town was themed as a pirate town in honor of their high school athletic teams, the Pirates. They had a pirate ship as we entered town with lots of folks dressed the part and saying, “Arrrgh”.
Then on to Waterloo where our group directions called for us to turn off the route onto a gravel road enroute to our overnight home. I and nearly all the others elected to find a different way to get there. In my case I rode to the end of the route (82 miles) and kept on going past the water park and the casino until I came to a street with a name I recognized. A quick stop at the fire station gave me the directions to the house and I arrived with an 88 mile ride at 16 mph average.
They have a swimming pool! It didn’t take me long to get into my trunks and into the pool followed by a stop in the hot tub with the jets wide open making my tired muscles feel so much better. They served us a wonderful dinner of ribs, lasagna, fruit, salads and desert
This ride was entirely enjoyable, not too strenuous, and decently interesting. It looks like my phone is working better now so I’ll make use of it before I go to bed to get some sleep. It is on to Manchester tomorrow where we hope we won’t have problems with the floods of last weekend.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.On Thursday we rode from Charles City to Waterloo, a distance of about 88 miles the way we were routed. Waterloo is generally south southeast from Chucktown and the day was spectacular for bike riding.
The penultimate stop of the day was scheduled to be the small town of Dike. This town is very special to Barbara and me. It is the childhood home of one of our favorite former coworkers: Alicia Hansen Burdick. Alicia’s mother and father are Curt and Alice and I told them I’d stop by on the bike ride and that I’d be there about noon. Curt is a former race car driver who I’ve known for 4 decades. We are both members of the Hawkeye Downs “Wall of Fame” of the speedway in my hometown of Cedar Rapids.
The budget folks delivered our new truck at about 11 pm and it is a nice one that should serve us well for the remainder of the trip.
As I slept in my tent last night someone set of their car alarm not once but twice. Must have been about 3 AM, so I slept before and after that but not quite as well afterwards. I woke up at 5 and got ready to leave which I did just before 6 knowing I’d probably be in Dike before my scheduled time. I’d figure out how to handle that enroute but couldn’t call the Hansen’s because Verizon’s service is really spotty in this part of northern Iowa. So away I rode, the second person in the group to leave Charles City.
The road the RAGBRAI organizers sent us on was newly paved and very smooth. I felt like every pedal stroke I made moved me forward by using 100% of the energy I put into the stroke without any loss from bumps or from dodging cracks in the pavement. I was averaging 20 mph for the first10 to 12 miles until we left the county and got onto less perfect roads although they still were plenty smooth. Overall these roads for the first 40 miles of the ride were the smoothest of the entire 300 miles of our journey so far.
Doug and Ron joined me on the road and we clipped along quickly to the first town where we stopped for breakfast of scrambled eggs with French toast, cinnamon, whipped cream and cherries. While we ate four other team members joined us and we watched the crowd of riders walk through town, checking for characters. Saw my first guy with a thong and bike shoes, that’s all. Not sure I’d do that. It can’t be comfortable to ride clothed like that and besides I’m not sure thongs are becoming to me. He sure lit up the cameras in the crowd though so if he was seeking attention (surprise) he got it.
20 miles later we arrived in Parkersburg, a town in Iowa that has had its share of tragedy in the past two years. On May 28, 2008 an EF5 tornado struck the town, leveling half of the village and killing 7 people. Then last year their popular and nationally known high school football coach was killed by a former student and son of the coaches family friends. It was a tragedy that was documented nationally and also affected this small town.
I think RAGBRAI made special effort to go through this town this year. The town absolutely turned out for the event with statues made of discarded bike parts, great food stands, flags and music to entertain us. Then as we rode out of town we climbed a hill and entered the devastated portion of the town. Not a tree in site, no original buildings at all, and every home and business there was newly built. The families sat in their front yards greeting us and I was impressed how beautifully the homes were landscaped and the fresh appearance of this part of town, the half that was completely destroyed. As we rode east and then south I could easily see the path of this tornadic monster by the complete lack of trees. Curt Hansen told me later that when he went to help he saw big trees with nothing but the trunk of the tree standing, no limbs, no bark, nothing – all torn off by the twister.
I stalled for some time in Parkersburg before riding off so I didn’t arrive too early in Dike. I called Barb to see if she was going to meet me in Dike to ride to Waterloo and found out she had food poisoning from dinner the night before and couldn’t make the trip today. I windowshopped and strolled through the town before enjoying some water and a frozen fruit cup offered by students from a nearby school. I walked back to my bike and headed south.
We rode through Stout where there was more food although I didn’t stop because I figured Alice would have something. The temperature had begun to rise a little bit and the wind picked up ever so slightly from the South Southeast so occasionally I had a headwind, but it was inconsequential. The terrain was rolling all day with little flat area, mostly either uphill or down. There were times it looked like the rolling hills of a Grant Wood painting.
I was able to easily keep up a good pace and carried a 16 mph or more average all the way to Dike where I asked a Deputy Sheriff where Curt and Alice lived. He directed me to the house and I rolled up about noon. Curt was watching for me and took me inside to see their wonderful house where Alicia and Bobby Hansen grew up. Curt remodeled it a few years ago and Alice and Alicia designed a trophy room to display his considerable collection of winner’s trophies and memorabilia. It is beautifully done.
And surprise Alice made a rhubarb pie. Who would have guessed! She also made Danish coffee which I hadn’t enjoyed in years. It is made with by putting an egg in the water along with the grounds, altogether in the pot, and boiled. Then you strain out the grounds and the coffee is smooth and delicious. We also had some fresh lemonade. But mostly we talked about the memories we have and about our children and our plans for the future. Curt was interested in the mechanics of the bike so afterwards we went outside and I showed him how it all worked. It wouldn’t surprise me to see him take on RAGBRAI some day. I’d love to have him ride with me.
After about an hour and a half off I went for the final run to Waterloo. We went through Hudson before heading into Waterloo and I stopped for a pork burger. The town was themed as a pirate town in honor of their high school athletic teams, the Pirates. They had a pirate ship as we entered town with lots of folks dressed the part and saying, “Arrrgh”.
Then on to Waterloo where our group directions called for us to turn off the route onto a gravel road enroute to our overnight home. I and nearly all the others elected to find a different way to get there. In my case I rode to the end of the route (82 miles) and kept on going past the water park and the casino until I came to a street with a name I recognized. A quick stop at the fire station gave me the directions to the house and I arrived with an 88 mile ride at 16 mph average.
They have a swimming pool! It didn’t take me long to get into my trunks and into the pool followed by a stop in the hot tub with the jets wide open making my tired muscles feel so much better. They served us a wonderful dinner of ribs, lasagna, fruit, salads and desert
This ride was entirely enjoyable, not too strenuous, and decently interesting. It looks like my phone is working better now so I’ll make use of it before I go to bed to get some sleep. It is on to Manchester tomorrow where we hope we won’t have problems with the floods of last weekend.
I’ll let you know tomorrow.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Day 4 - Clear Lake to Charles City

When we got to Clear Lake we were obviously hot and exhausted so I showered (no hot water was left to be had but cold felt really good) and a group of us went to find something to eat after resting for a while. By the time we got to the Lutheran church and then to the Methodist church there was no food remaining. Then on to other commercial locations. Same story or lines so long I wasn't interested. I returned to camp and found others with the same dilemma so we got bread and bologna at the grocery store and ate just fine. Then to bed.Anyway, here is the story of the ride on Wednesday from Clear Lake to Charles City.It rained an inch last night with lots of lightning and thunder so I left a little later than usual for today's ride. An 8 AM start sent me south out of Clear Lake with an overcast sky and a wonderful tail wind. Ran 20 to 21 mph to the first turn off where one of our group said her mother was waiting for us with cinnamon rolls. Sure enough Judy's mother had driven from Minnesota with delicious rolls. Then on toward Charles City and a short ride of 51 miles. Swaledale was the first town and one of the hightlights. They had many firsts there but today's exhibit was the first impractical mechanical invention, a moving junkyard. And it was. Photos to follow. Then in Cartersville, an unincorporated town, the entire city of maybe 50 people had rallied around their school and had created a fundraiser where you launched yourself into the pond by holding a trapeze-like contraption. People paid $5 each and they sent about 4 or 5 a minute into the pond and it was nonstop. Everyone stopped either on the road or into the area to see it and then bought food and beverages. Great idea. I also achieved one of my objectives for the trip with a stop at Mr. Porkchops for a huge pork chop. They do them right in Iowa. A chop about an inch and a half thick, charred but medium rare and juicy on the inside. Best ever.Then on to Rockwood where there are a host of Devonian fossils. Many riders stopped at a stone pit outside of town to look for fossils. Into the town and I enjoyed a root beer float.Short ride then into Charles City to meet the crew at our hosts home. Did 53 miles at an average of 15.6 mph. Could have ridden lots more.The truck has broken again. I tried to find an available race car hauler to fill in for the day, but Lonnie and crew found a truck that will be delivered here. Also tried to convince Barb to bring our truck here but that didn't work!Anyway, the best part of the day was to come. Carmen and Everrett Schacht were coming from Cresco for dinner and she was bringing a rhubarb pie. We met at the parking lot outside the HyVee and chatted for a while about all the friends from our youth group who had recently gotten together. We shared pictures of them and my family then went to a pizza place for a great dinner and more conversation. (Plenty of food in Charles City) Then they followed me to the campsite and I brought the pie into the house. It was spectacularly good. I shared it with the group and they were ecstatic as well.We are ready to go to bed in preparation for the longer ride tomorrow. We are headed to Waterloo with a stop in Parkersburg, a city nearly destroyed with a tornado a couple of years ago, and a very important stop in Dike to visit with the Hansen's. Alice might have something for me to eat as well -- hope, hope.Also it would be a nice surprise if Barb showed up for her ride with us. We'll see.I'll be with you tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Third day - Algona to Clear Lake

This was supposed to be an easy ride of only 59 miles so I got up early and set off at 6:57 in the morning. 65 miles later I arrived in Clear Lake listening for the music of Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper and Richie Valens but I was so exhausted I couldn't make out the tunes or vibes from the last concert before their plane crash that cold winter night in 1958 or 9.
It really wasn't such a tough ride geographically but wow did the temparature and the southerly wind take its toll.
Into Wesley we went only about 5 miles down the road. As usual the roads were so packed with riders we had to get off and walk our bikes. I walked to a french toast vendor run by a local charity and had a banana, french toast and sausage. The syrup was in ketchup plastic squeeze bottles. But here in Iowa they had fake butter! Unimageanable. Still it was good and I didn't use the butter.
Then back on the bike with a short stop on the way out to fill my water bottle and on the road I went to the next small town which, interestingly had absolutely no services. Wow did they miss an opportunity. These little towns generate incredible business for their churches, We came to Britt, Iowa next. It is the site of theannual Hobo Fextival. Britt is located next to the mainline of the railroad and for decades they have celebrated the railroad hobo with a festival, naming the "Hobo of the Year" annually. It really is a big deal around here so RAGBRAI offers them another celebration opprotunity. You could get your picture with the Hobo of the Year, meet Barney Fife and whatever the town drunk was in the Mayberry show and of course enjoy good food, fill your water bottles and stock up on gatorade. I walked and rode slowly through town and kept going because we were warned that it was going to get really hot. Wedid jog south for a bit and the head wind wasn't fun. Slowed to 11-12 mph into the wind from the 17-18 mph I'd been able to run.
The hills aren't large through this area, we only climbed a total of 1,000 feet for the day, but they do keep on coming just enough so you have to work all the time. Remember I can't get into my third ring, the faster ring on the front of the bike, so I pedal a little faster to maintain my speed.
We made it to Garner with about 25 miles to go. Elvis was singing at the town square. Politicians were handing out free water and after a short stop at the porta-potty with such a short line I couldn't resist, I pedalled on.
Now it is really hot and, if I had continued straight on the road I'd have been better off and in Clear Lake, but I really do follow the rules so when they said turn south for about 8 miles into the teeth of the wind, I did it. The road was smooth but the wind was difficult and the temperature was well over 90. I rumbled on and finally we made the left turn into a quartering wind. Got to tell you I was tired. About two miles down the road there was a farm with no services but a string of tall pine trees along the road. I couldn't resist and parked the bike with the proper "Biker Off" shout and went to the shade. I took my glasses and helmet off, laid my head on the helmet and fell sound asleep for a half hour. The biting flies woke me so off I went. We finally turned back north and had a tail wind so I picked the speed up but for 8 miles the c\racks in the road shoook me so much it took all the fun out of the ride in. Finally we got to Clear Lake, a beautiful town along a lake whose water is is said comes through the aquifer from Lake Superior in northern Minnesota. Our house is wonderful and shady. The shower is great and the hosts are terrific people. They had ice water, local beef jerky, local soy beans as snacks, cookies and some wonderful summer sausage with cranberries.
The owners and their friends had ended up on a cruise with the Rusty Wallace fan club and had spent some time with Rusty and Kenny Wallace. We had a good time talking.
It was sooo hot I can't describe it. This ride was more difficult than ysterday's 100 mile ride.
We think it might rain tonight and the wind is supposed to turn to the south so it should improve Btomorrow, I hope.
Besides, I meet Carmen Schacht for dinner and she promised me a rhubarb pie. We grew up together in Cedar Rapids so it will be an evening for reminscing.
I'll let you know how it goes tomorrow.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Manic Monday on Ragbrai

Not the site you want to see at the end of the day...
With many members of Team CoeBRAI running on few hours of sleep, thanks in large part to another Cedar Rapids Organization, the riders were off to an early start.  All but one rider (cough John Bowlin '07 cough) was on the road by 8 a.m., about the same time said rider was rolling out of bed.  I will defend him though, he decided to stay out and enjoy all of the Johnny Holmes Band in downtown Storm Lake, while I choose to return early to try to sleep.

On the longest driving mileage day of the trip, I had no idea it would turn even longer.  While most days the driving route and the riding route don't intersect, other than the meeting town, which is always optional.  Today (and sadly tomorrow) the meeting town is a required stop.  I don't even want to guess the number of people that were stuck in Pocahontas, Iowa today.  I spent a good half hour waiting alongside the highway trying to get through this small town.

Once finally making it through the town, the large problems started.  As we rolled into Humboldt, Iowa, the temperature on the Budget Rental truck engine approached 260 degrees, with the dial going over that.  After a stop to see if we could get the engine to cool down with a 20 minute break, we ventured the final 23 miles to our host in Algona, Iowa.

After barely making our way to the top of the hill, we arrived at our host with open arms.  After unloading the truck, we called Budget.  In less than a half hour, a repairman showed up.  It was nice he was there so quickly, but he also quickly gave us bad news.  The water pump was out and we were screwed.  They ordered the pump, but it won't be here until noon tomorrow.  The gentlemen at Whittemore Truck & Trailer (515-295-9574) were flat out awesome today, so I'm hoping they will quickly get the truck fixed tomorrow.

Despite a rough day of driving, numerous Kohawks tackled the Century trip today.  Of  26 riders on CoeBRAI this year, 12 splurged for the 100 mile day.  Of the 12, five were first time RAGBRAI riders.  That's pretty cool. 

Right now, everyone is sitting around camp enjoying each others company.  Doesn't sound like anyone will be partaking in the Algona town activities tonight, but sometimes, just sitting around and talking is just as entertaining.