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!

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