Monday, May 24, 2010

2010 logistics

Our applications have been accepted. Our jerseys have been ordered. Our overnight hosts are set. Not much left to do now but train (I’ve got 622 miles in; how about you?).

I thought I’d take this opportunity to spell out some logistical matters you may be wondering about. Team CoeBRAI includes 26 week-long riders, half of whom are joining us for the first time. Our experienced 3-person support crew returns for 2010, and 7 part-time riders will join us for part of the week. Additionally, one or two people will be joining us just for transportation to the start and a ride home from the finish.

Our overnight accommodations are as follows:
• In Sioux City, we will be staying with Coe parents Phil and Lorall Karpuk. They have a great yard that is frequently used for wedding photography and a historic home that is on a tour of haunted places.
• In Storm Lake, we will be staying with 1999 Coe graduate Erin Toomer Smith. Her house is a former funeral home and, though they will also be hosting other riders, we can likely forego the tents for a night in an air conditioned basement.
• In Algona, we will be staying with the in-laws of the daughter of Coe business professor Barb Larew.
• In Clear Lake, we’re staying with the cousins of CoeBRAI participant Tim Wagner. There is no Coe connection here, but we’re more than happy to have a home for the night.
• In Charles City, we will be staying with Coe parents Robin and Dan Macomber. Veteran RAGBRAI hosts, the Macombers anxiously offered their lawn and promised a “good, home-cooked meal.”
• In Waterloo, we will be staying with Coe parents Stephen and Cheryl Kennedy, who are teaming up with fellow Coe parents Bob and Chery Greenwood to provide dinner and a pool party.
• In Manchester, we’re staying with the aunt and uncle of Coe residence hall coordinator Erica Geers, who will be joining us herself at this point in the ride. I’m told there’s an empty basement here for anyone tired of tent life.

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 Sioux City and then home from Dubuque. 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 Sioux City and back to Cedar Rapids from Dubuque, although I know that’s not the case for some of you. Please inform me of your plans so we can plan accordingly.

We will be having a spaghetti dinner/pre-load opportunity on Friday, July 23 at Coe. Dinner at 6 p.m. followed by loading of as many bikes as are ready to go. 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 24 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 31.

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 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. Bicycle shops can handle most any mechanical need you have, 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. (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. The one-tub-per-person rule will be strictly enforced. 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.

Food: Snacks and non-alcoholic beverages will be provided in camp. You may also want to bring a box of Power Bars and keep one on your bike for when you need a quick energy boost, but don't want to wait in line for pie. Many of our hosts will be providing dinner. Out of courtesy to them, please don’t linger on the route until late and then expect dinner to be left out for your late arrival. Anything else you may want or need can be purchased by our support crew during their daily store run.

Electronics: Cell phone service is usually epically spotty with the crush of people. 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. Computers, cameras, breathing apparatus, etc., should all be fair game since we have hosts in each overnight and are not chancing our luck with the RAGBRAI campgrounds.

Two changes to note as a result of last year’s experience. We will provide each rider with a reusable beverage cup for use in camp. These will be yours to keep as a souvenir. Most likely, we’ll be getting water bottles to support the extension of paving on the Cedar Valley Trail. We will NOT be supplying disposable cups! These are bad for the environment and a needless expense.

Also, our support crew is developing a rider bill of rights/code of conduct/behavioral expectation list of some sort. I don’t expect this to be anything too onerous. Mainly just common sense type expectations to ensure that your enjoyment of RAGBRAI doesn’t impede anyone else’s enjoyment of RAGBRAI. We may be following RAGBRAI camping rules, which call for quiet after 9 p.m. and baggage to be loaded (on the truck, not beside or near, bikes and humans not-withstanding) by 8 a.m. For the night owls, there’s plenty of opportunity to kick up your heels at RAGBRAI festivities away from our resting spot and you’re welcome to linger in camp as late as you like, just don’t delay our drivers from moving on to the next stop.

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