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.

Day two - Storm Lake to Algona

This was a really fun day. The ride was not over especially difficult terrain although the last 10 miles were mostly uphill, but the length made it interesting. I decided to do the century today - that's 100 miles for the day - and the wind got stronger today from the south so it was a factor.
But the most interesting thing today was that Allison Foil and I connected about 33 miles. There are about 13,000 riders in this event. Allison is one of our Davie County Cycling Club riders from NC and is the only club member other than myself in the ride. We spoke by phone last night and I told her that I planned to wear our Davie Club jersey today and to look for me. Well, one wouldn't really expect her to be able to find me. We all leave to join the ride at different times, we ride at our own speed and we stop at towns and meal stops for various lengths of time.
I left at 7:10 this morning and rode with Jim from our group. We travelled with hundreds of other cyclists on the road headed for Varina, the firsty town some 16 miles down the road. We stopped briefly for watermelon just past Varina, electing not to stop in Varina because there was such a crush of people and long lines. After the melon, which served as our second breakfast after the juice and a bagel with cream cheese,we rode on and I increased my speed leaving Jim a little behind. The road was so flat or slightly downhill so I could easily manage a 16 to 20 mph average. The wind was negligible.
Pocohantas was the first sizeable city on the route and as I was slowing into the town I heard a voice shout "Hey Davie County -- Roger!" It was Allison. We rode the rest of the way together averaging 15.5 mph for the 100 mile trip. Allison, like me, wanted to take advantage of the interesting things along the way. We stopped for Ice Cream, PB&J with raisins and bananas, corn on the cob, pasta, visited with mechanics, grabbed beverages enroute and, best of all, toured the largest grotto in the world in West Bend. The grotto in West Bend is a remarkable structure that took more than 80 years to create. The structures covered with semi precious and interesting stones from around the world. The stations of the cross, the italian marble statues depicting Christ, the holy family in stone covered settings that are difficult to describe but are housed on roughly 2 acres of property. It was worth the ride.
We averaged 15.5 mph, rode about 6 hours of the total of 8.5 hours before arriving in Algona.
I missed the turn to our housing so wandered around the outskirts of Algona before I found someone who gave me directions to the home where we are staying. Big hills in and around Algona.
Lets talk about the ride situation. The wind picked up from the south during the day so we had a cross wind or head wind most of the time. It made the ride challenging at times.
I also had my gears and derailleurs worked on last night to correct a slight rub of the front derrailleur. Well, that $10 was not well spent. I could not get on the large ring (gear) on the front without a great deal of difficulty and if I could engage the ring, the derrailleur rubbed so much it created a racket. During the 20 mile "loop" those of us doing 100 miles instead of the posted 80 miles, we came across a mechanic who also worked on my gears and pronounced them fine. Wrong. So I think this is a larger problem than I can get handled on this ride. Guess I'll be riding with the first and second rings and forget the large ring so I need to get used to it. Its not a huge deal, but relaxing and going real fast are out of the question. Barbara will like that.
Did I tell you that one of the claims to fame Algona claims is that it is the home of the world's largest Cheeto? Seems someone in England opened a Cheeto bag and found a Cheeto larger than a golf ball but smaller than a tennis ball. It was put up for auction and somehow the city began bidding. Some DeeJay in town took the ball and got it rolling. The bidding outpace the town's ability to pay getting up to a ridiculous $1,000,000 on EBay. Well, the Brit who owned it decided that Algona really needed the Cheeto so he awarded it to them for whatever and today it is housed in a bullet proof display case in town. I haven't seen it (likely won't) but it is a claim to fame.
Enroute we passed more wind farms with their giant blades turning on the horizon. These mammoths are really remarkable to see. There was more corn and soybeans than you could believe. In one area the corn stretched from horizon to horizon. That's a lot of corn.
Tomorrow we go toClear Lake , an Iowa town I've never seen. I'm told it is really beautiful and interesting. The route is only 8 miles and looks like it has rolling hills and is east west. It gets me one day closer to seeing childhood friend Carmen in Charles City who has promised me a rhubarb pie when we have dinner together.
The group I'm riding with is really interesting and we have shared stories about the college from the days I went to now. It really is nice to know this school has maintained its high standards as a liberal arts institution and, from what I can see, has moved to make things even better for the students than when I attended. It also costs $30,000+ a year vs. $2,000
Don't forget to help the Clemmons Food Pantry by sending a check to Clemmons Methodist Church, Clemmons, NC 27012 and note either Food Pantry or Roger's Ride on the check. You will help some very deserving people who volunteer to proved help to some other very deserving people.
Thanks.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Day one - Sioux Falls to Storm Lake

We dipped our tire in the Missouri River on Saturday evening before going to an early sleep experience in the tent. I did pretty well in the tent and got up at 6, packed everything up and got my bike ready. I had a problem keeping my valve stem in the tube so finally got my tires up to pressure and set off about 7:20. Just an aside, if you rode RAGBRAI last year, this year's route is soooo much easier. There were hills of course but they weren't endless and only about four or five were more than 5 degrees of climb.
Stopped at the first town to get my valve stem tightened, then off I went. About 10 miles in I threw the chain and after getting it back on it gave me fits for the next 10 miles. Kept jumping gears which made it impossible to put much pressujre on pedals during the climbs. So my pace was much slower than I might have done. Got to Kingsley and spent an hour getting through the line to get it repaired. Discovered my chain was bent so replaced it. Filled my drink bottles and off I went. I promised Barbara I'd ride carefully this year so I slowed my pace from last year to about 13 mph and didnt fly downhills. I've also learned a lot about how to more effectively climb hills without tiring out and just spun my way up the hills without a lot of effort.
Met some interesting people on the ride, as you would expect. A violinist with the Cherokee Symphony was identified by his tee shirt. He said they were giving a free concert in Storm Lake so I said I'd go. I did, by the way, and the all volunteer group played to a standing room only crowd and it was lots of fun. Music was good and appropriate for the audience.
Talked to lots of other folks who commented on my Coe College riding clothes. The Coe group I'm riding with has neat clothes designed by the head of the art department, Peter Thompson. His paintings of farm yard scenes look great on the jersey and elicited a lot of conversation. There are 23 people on our group and they each have interesting personalities. More on them in the future.
The ride went through some really pretty Iowa scenery and this year I was committed to watching more of it rather than trying to "finish first". There are very large wind farms with huge windmills to generate electricity. One of the turbines was destroyed by lightning two nights earlier during the storms that swept through the state. Bet the insurance bill for that is high.
The streams were all still very full although they were receding.
It seemed like there were a significantly larger number of riders this year. We spent more time walking our bikes because of the large crowds at some of the more popular food stands along the road than I remember last year. We still have to get off and walk through the towns like last year though.
I ate very well as usual. Corn on the cob, rhubarb pie, pork sandwich all met the expectations of a trip through Iowa.
The weather was cool in the morning and hot in the afternoon. I arrived in Storm Lake at 3:30 and the team had barbecue pork sandwiches, watermelon, potato salad and chips for dinner.
It was a good day for a ride of 69 miles through the Iowa countryside. We are staying at a funeral home tonight after staying at a beautiful home last night that was more than a hundred years old. I showered and pitched my tent. Got my gears adjusted, attended the concert, enjoyed conversation with the team members and now I'm going to bed to get ready to ride to Algona tomorrow. Algona by the way is the home of the world's largest Chito. I think I might try to get a look at that when I arrive.
Talk to you tomorrow.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

And we're off

An uneventful drive to Sioux City has Team CoeBRAI ready to ride. The Karpuks opened their lovely yard to our merry band and a tent village soon emerged on this picturesque property. SMASHMOUTH headlined the RAGBRAI kickoff party, consequently I'm up well past when I should be.


Flooding in northeast Iowa is prominent in all of our minds as we begin this adventure. Our prayers go out to all of the affected communities, some of which we will be biking through in just a few days.


If the forecast holds, we're in for nice weather to open the week. With 3,687 feet of climb over 68.5 miles, rain would only add insult to injury.


We'll be wearing our Coe jerseys into Beaver country, as Storm Lake is home to Buena Vista University. Our host is Erin Toomer Smith '99. More later. Must sleep. 








Friday, July 23, 2010

Storm before the calm

Fitting that we're experiencing a thunderstorm on the eve of our departure for Sioux City and the start of RAGBRAI. The Friday before is always hectic, and today was no exception.

Nineteen of us gathered in the Coe cafeteria for a spaghetti dinner and a chance to meet our constant companions for the next eight days. Among us are a firefighter, a chiropractor, an athletic trainer, a neurologist and a tour guide. I'd say we're in good hands.

I couldn't be happier with the preload as 17 bikes are ready to go! That leaves just six to load in the morning. Our newly reinforced transport system is proving its worth. The sight of dozens of bikes loaded for transport to RAGBRAI still gives me the chills -- or perhaps it's just dehydration.

Tomorrow promises to be much calmer with a six-hour bus ride to the start of our adventure. After months of planning, I'm excited to get started. I think we've got a good team. We might just win!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

RAGBRAI forecast is anyone's guess

Saturday in Sioux City – partly cloudy and 82, low 62. Wind NNW at 13 mph. Precipitation 20 percent.

Sunday in Storm Lake – partly cloudy and 80, low 62. Wind E at 7 mph (light headwind). Precipitation 10 percent.

Monday in Algona – mostly sunny and 82, low 64. Wind SSE at 8 mph (light cross and tailwind). Precipitation 0 percent (see 2009).

Tuesday in Clear Lake – isolated thunderstorms and 83, low 68. Wind S at 9 mph (mild crosswind). Precipitation 30 percent.

Wednesday in Charles City – scattered thunderstorms and 84, low 66. Wind SW at 6 mph (light cross and tailwind). Precipitation 40 percent.

Thursday in Waterloo – scattered thunderstorms and 83, low 66. Wind ENE at 8 mph (timely switch for more light cross and tailwind). Precipitation 40 percent.

Friday in Manchester – mostly sunny and 80, low 66. Wind SE at 7 mph (light cross and headwind). Precipitation 10 percent.

Saturday in Dubuque – probably a lot like Friday in Manchester.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Riders Bill of Rights

What could be better than spending seven days riding across 442 miles of beautiful Iowa countryside, seven nights camping with 10,000 of your closest spandex-clad friends, and eating enough calories to negate each day of cycling? RAGBRAI is a wonderful experience; however, when you add the heat, strenuous exercise, soreness, 14,527 feet of climb, and throngs of humanity, it will challenge even the hardcore cyclists. Throw in communal living, shared facilities, outdoor living, the inevitable weather event, and the mental challenges can make the biking seem like a ride in the park. Be a good teammate and we’ll all arrive at the Mississippi River with a genuine sense of accomplishment and a bond with new friends that you never imagined.

Team CoeBRAI riders are endowed with certain unalienable rights (and responsibilities), that among these are…

The right to a quiet campground and undisturbed sleep:
• Most riders want to get a good night’s sleep. Please keep the campgrounds reasonably quiet and keep the noise down after 9 p.m. This is especially important if you are coming back to camp late after enjoying the festivities of the host town. Keep in mind that many riders are on the road at 6 a.m. Be as courteous to them late at night as you want them to be early in the morning.

The right to enjoy the company of gracious host families
• CoeBRAI is fortunate to be able to camp at the homes of various alumni and friends. Here are a few ways to show your appreciation for their hospitality:
 The camp site should be left cleaner than we found it. Please pick up after yourself, and respect the property of our benevolent host families.
 Dinner will be served from 6–7 p.m. Anyone arriving after that time will be on their own for dinner. Plan ahead for this contingency.
 Please keep your showers to a maximum of 5 minutes to avoid overloading the host families’ facilities and so others need not wait all night for a turn.
 Thank them!

The right to be respected:
• The Coe staff and faculty on this trip are on vacation too; so, please pitch-in and help around camp.
• The drivers are paid, but they have specific responsibilities. They drive the truck, stake out our camp site each day, and keep the water jugs filled.
 The drivers will set-up and tear down your tent all week for an extra fee. ($50 for 1-4 person sized tent and $75 for 5+ person sized tent. Note: the size of the tent, not the number of occupants, is the determining factor.)
 The drivers will go shopping for you if you give them money. No CoeBRAI funds will be used to purchase alcohol. Legal age riders may bring their own alcoholic beverages or have the drivers make purchases for them and bring it back to camp.
 The drivers transport gear from site to site; however, it is not their job to load your equipment. Please load your gear onto (not beside) the truck before departing each morning.
 You signed up to ride your bike, so take full advantage of the opportunity. If you feel the need to ride the truck for a day or two, consider yourself part of the support team and pitch in as you are able. On the same note, non-bikers should shower during the day before riders begin to arrive.
• Team CoeBRAI strives to be good stewards of our environment. Please help us minimize waste by making use of reusable cups provided in camp.
• Be polite. Be kind. Be laid back. The spirit of RAGBRAI is about having good times with good people. Keep in mind that you are representing Coe College. All behavior – good and bad – reflects on the sponsoring institution.
• Please respect others people’s property. The good-natured vibe of RAGBRAI creates an environment where there are thousands of expensive bikes and gear laying around unattended with very few thefts.

The right to have fun!
• Remember the RAGBRAI credo: If you’re not having fun yet, lower your expectations.
• Team CoeBRAI motto: Roll with it!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Vacation itinerary

As days dwindle until departure, I’m sensing some anxiety among members of Team CoeBRAI. This is to be expected for first timers and I apologize for not being more forthcoming with information. You can take it as a good sign that the veterans are calm. That tells of confidence that they are in good hands.

We learn from the experience every year and you are the beneficiaries of five years of experience and a veteran support staff. My wife, Lisa, Coe SID Ryan Workman and 2006 Coe graduate Abby Masters return again this year to take care of all our off-bike needs. They are putting the finishing touches on some conduct guidelines being instituted to ensure a peaceful experience for all.

Hosts have been secured in all seven overnight towns! We weren’t so fortunate in 2009 and, while everything worked out fine, it added an unnecessary element of stress that I’m glad to be free of this year.

Here’s a quick rundown of the itinerary:

Friday, July 23 – 6 p.m. spaghetti dinner at Coe followed by loading of as many bikes as are ready to go. If you haven’t already, please let me know whether or not you will be attending and if you’ll be bringing guests. I need to get a somewhat accurate head count to Sodexo. This is where you will receive your rider packets, including wrist and bike bands, CoeBRAI jersey and route maps, including turn by turn directions to our overnight accommodations.

Saturday, July 24 – Loading begins at 8 a.m. at Eby Fieldhouse on the Coe campus with a planned departure of 10 a.m. Quick lunch stop en route. Late afternoon arrival in Sioux City, where we will be staying with Coe parents Phil and Lorall Karpuk. SMASHMOUTH will get RAGBRAI off to a rocking start. The outdoor show starts at 7pm on Historic Fourth Street in downtown Sioux City.

Sunday, July 25 – 68.5 miles to Storm Lake, where 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 tents for slumber party accommodations in an air conditioned basement. The Johnny Holm Band performs at 9 p.m.

Monday, July 26 – 79 miles (or 100) to Algona, where we will be staying with the in-laws of the daughter of Coe business professor Barb Larew. Tonight’s dinner prepared by your drivers. The Vic Ferrari Band performs at 8 p.m.

Tuesday, July 27 – 51.3 miles to Clear Lake, where 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. Ken and Carol Smith assure me Clear Lake knows how to party. The Spin Doctors headline the entertainment.

Wednesday, July 28 – 51.7 miles to Charles City, where a homemade meal awaits us from Coe parents Robin and Dan Macomber. Standing Hampton headlines the entertainment in Chuck Town.

Thursday, July 29 – 82.7 miles to Waterloo, where 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. It’s tribute band night with Arch Allies (Journey), The Fab Four (Beatles) and Kiss Mania performing.

Friday, July 30 – 62 Miles to Manchester, where 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. Local favorite Large Midgets and Iowa favorite The Nada are your Friday night entertainers.

Saturday, July 31 – 46.9 miles to Dubuque. I’ve examined the route into town and, given the hills, I suggest we gather at Clarke College before making our descent, as a group, to the Mississippi. We’ve been assigned parking near the river, so we’ll know exactly where we’re headed after dipping our tires and enjoying the satisfaction of a vacation well spent.

We’ll then load up and high tail it back to Cedar Rapids for a mid-afternoon arrival.

Lastly, a handful of you still haven’t sent me the number of the cell phone you will have with you and also the name and number of your emergency contact. I will be handing out contact information to everyone so we can communicate on the road. If I don’t have your number, you will be left off the list.

A note about showers: our hosts have generously agreed to open their facilities to us. Let’s not abuse it. With 24 full-time riders, it would take four hours if everyone took a 10-minute shower. Please incorporate the five-minute shower into your training routine this week. I shave in the shower, and I’m still in and out in under five minutes, so I know it’s possible.

Also, we’ll set out tubs of water and clothes line for washing biking clothes. Just think of the time that will save for showering!