Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Bovines and bikes

In 2009, Team CoeBRAI set the RAGBRAI fashion bar with jerseys featuring the 1944 Marvin Cone painting “Little Bohemia Tavern.” This year, we’ll again be biking in style with jerseys featuring a pair of paintings by Art Department Chairman and Marvin D. Cone Professor of Art Peter Thompson.

The jerseys by Coe graphic designer Christina Kroemer feature Thompson’s 2006 paintings “Standing Out from the Mob” on the front and “Cattle Drift” on the back. Thompson himself will be modeling the jersey as one of two-dozen participants in the official Coe College team on the Registers Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), scheduled for July 25-31.

Thompson approved of Kroemer’s use of the paintings in connection with a diagonal sash design. “(She) managed to create something more punchy out of it; kind of a game of bovine hide and seek,” he said.

In addition to long-sleeve, short-sleeve and sleeveless versions of the jersey, Kroemer designed Coe biking shorts featuring the school’s crimson and gold and Charlie Kohawk logo. While the jersey design changes each year, the shorts are intended to stand the test of time.

The designs will soon be submitted to Champion Systems and orders are now being taken. Each weeklong rider who was part of our group registration gets one free jersey. Additional jerseys and shorts may be ordered.

Three jerseys will be awarded as prizes in an upcoming bike ride sponsored by the Alumni Office, Coe GOLD (graduates of the last decade) and Team CoeBRAI. Clear your calendar for May 15 and stay tuned for details on that exciting new Coe event.

Anyone else is welcome to buy jerseys -- $60 for short sleeve and sleeveless, $65 for long sleeve – and shorts for $65. To place an order, go to our Web site and click on the “jersey order” tab. Sizing information is also available there. Order forms are also available here. All orders must be received by May 15 and will be shipped, along with a complementary CoeBRAI license plate, by mid July.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Biking -- like the weather -- in fits and starts

Ten miles to and from work and an appointment to give plasma today represented an inauspicious start to my 2010 biking season. Coming two days later than last year's personal best first outdoor ride, today's miles may be all she wrote for March given the extended weather forecast.

A springlike week peaked today with a local high of 62. With my bike in the shop for a tuneup, I removed my son's from the trainer once it became apparent that today would surpass the 60 degree threshold. Google maps passed my first test of its new bicycle routing feature as I plotted a 10-mile ride from home, to Coe, to Biolife and home again.

I bundled up for the mercifully short morning ride to work. A light jacket sufficed for the after work ride to the plasma factory and I was glad to have packed lights for the ride home.

Alas Friday's forecast -- once pegged for mid-60s -- has deteriorated quickly and the temperature now looks to peak in the mid-40s with afternoon rain turning to snow into Saturday. Weather.com tells me we won't touch 60 again through March 27.

It's just as well though as spring baseball season begins Saturday. My son, vying to become a varsity starter in his junior year, has double headers scheduled each Saturday and Sunday through the first of May. I sure hope biking weather returns between now and then.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Two dozen strong

Early registration has closed with 24 full-time riders signed up for Team CoeBRAI. Space is at a premium, but you can still ride along with the official Coe College team on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI), scheduled for July 25-31, 2010.

We may make accommodations for a few additional teamless riders, but they'll have to be registered independently with RAGBRAI. It's not unusual for cancellations to occur between now and July either.

I'll soon be closing the team, submitting our group registration and mailing waivers and payment to RAGBRAI. Then it's just a matter of waiting until lottery results are posted May 1. Meanwhile, I'll be working with my Coe colleagues on housing (still seeking hosts in Clear Lake and Manchester), jerseys and other logistical items.

Your work is done (assuming waivers and payments are en route from the three I have not yet collected) for now. However, you are encouraged to post to this blog any time. And, of course, you’ll want to begin training as soon as the weather allows.

As it stands tonight, Team CoeBRAI consists of 24 full-time riders. Four "part-timers" will join us the evening of Tuesday, July 27 in Clear Lake. Two of them are riding two days to Waterloo on Thursday, July 29. The other two will complete the journey to Dubuque on Saturday, July 31.

Counting part-timers and our three-person support staff, we're a mix of 14 Coe alumni, six current or former faculty and staff, and 11 spouses, parents and friends of alumni, faculty and staff. We range in age from 23-year-old 2009 Coe graduate Leslie Millerschone (a CoeBRAI veteran who will be joined again this year by her mom, Tammy) to 72-year-old Jim Lentz, a RAGBRAI veteran making his maiden CoeBRAI voyage with fellow North Carolinian Roger Bear, representing the Coe Class of 1963. In addition to 19 Iowa residents, Team CoeBRAI members hail from North Carolina (3), Kansas (1), Utah (2), Illinois (3), Kentucky (1), South Carolina (1) and Washington, D.C. (1). The group includes a chiropractor and a firefighter, so we should be in good hands.

Our support staff again includes Abby Masters ’08 from South Carolina, Coe Sports Information Director Ryan Workman and my wife, Lisa. Whether or not our camper – and, for that matter, our daughter – makes the trip is subject to market conditions. Hope, the camper, is for sale and Karissa, our daughter, refuses to sleep in a tent. Something has to give. With any luck – and a lot of effort – our son, Zach will be participating in the state high school baseball tournament in Des Moines rather than joining us on RAGBRAI. New to the support staff this year is two-year CoeBRAI veteran and Associate Dean of Students Erik Albinson. After riding part-time in 2008 and full-time in 2009, Erik has signed on to assist me with the planning and coordination of this effort. If the aforementioned state baseball tournament appearance materializes, Erik’s in charge.