Tuesday, November 15, 2011

XL is going to be extra large!

Online registration opens today for RAGBRAI 2012, or XL for the Roman numeral set!

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 any payments to RAGBRAI. Instead, those should be sent to me, the group contact. (Last year, I promise.)

Fees for Team CoeBRAI will remain at $400. 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, 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, August 2, 2011

2011 summerized (boy howdi)


The hottest July in RAGBRAI history didn’t stand in the way of 29 Team CoeBRAI participants completing a week-long, 454-mile bike ride across Iowa on July 30.

Including three riders who couldn’t quite make it the whole way and two part-time participants, 34 people represented Coe for the seventh straight year on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa. Team CoeBRAI included 12 alumni and Associate Professor of Political Science Lynda Barrow. Nineteen members of the group had participated in CoeBRAI before. In addition to Iowa, participants hailed from North Carolina, Kansas, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California, Missouri and Washington, D.C.

Providing support again this year were Abby Masters’ 08 from Charleston, S.C., Coe Sports Information Director Ryan Workman, and staff spouse Lisa Zingula. Overnight hosts included Keith and Betsy Forman (friends of Caitlin Staebell ’10) in Glenwood, Mary Paasch (mother of Chris Paasch ’06) in Atlantic, John and Jackie Kitch (friends of Judy Floy ’77) in Carroll, Kathy Workman (mother of Coe SID Ryan Workman) in Boone, Doug and Darla Keast (parents of Hannah Keast ’14) in Altoona, Carrol and Bill Molison (grandmother and father of Andy Molison ’03) in Grinnell, and Larry Svoboda ’63 in Coralville.

Due to popular demand, a second order of Team CoeBRAI biking jerseys soon will be placed. Order forms are available here.

Jersey prices are $60 for short sleeve and sleeveless, $70 for long sleeve. Custom Coe biking shorts are also available for $65. All orders must be received by Aug. 15 and will be shipped by late September.

The 40th anniversary of RAGBRAI is scheduled for July 21-28, 2012.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Day 5: Altoona to Grinnell

Quick update from my tent in Grinnell while I begin thinking about an exit strategy -- both short and long term.

Granny returned to RAGBRAI today, and she brought Mother Nature with her. Granny, in this case, is the gear used to navigate hills, which reappeared on the route after a two day absence. Meanwhile, besides heat, we had our first weather threat of the week -- rain upon arrival way back in Glenwood doesn't count -- though cloudbursts were about all that resulted.

The 57 miles from Altoona to Grinnell were a never ending series of rolling hills. Cloud cover, even if threatening rain, helped keep temperatures as cool as they've been all week.

Coe Webmaster Andy Molison greeted us in Grinnell, where we were hosted most capably by his grandma, Carol and father, Bill. Tomorrow I'm hoping for a big showing by Kohawk Nation as we fly the Coe College jerseys on school spirit day in Coralville. Be sure to stop by the Kohawk tent outside the Coralville city limits for a cold beverage and a warm welcome.

Mississippi River flooding further up the road in Davenport increases uncertainty surrounding the finish of this great adventure -- but I choose not to think about that just yet. My more immediate concern is my Garmin bike computer, which picked the worst possible time to decide to quit working. If that weren't enough, I have to teach these knuckleheads how to tie a bandana.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 4: Boone to Altoona

It's hot.

But the food is good.

Today I reached out for a Farm Boys breakfast burrito. For lunch, I happened upon a good old fashioned Iowa Maid-Rite. Grilled chicken was the main course of the feast prepared by our Altoona hosts, Doug and Darla Keast and family.

That the Keasts could make the effort to host our merry band while participating in RAGBRAI themselves defies logic.

Did I mention it's hot?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Day 3: Carroll to Boone

Team CoeBRAI came chuggin' into Boone on a gloriously fast and flat track from Carroll. Several riders took advantage of the opportunity for a century by adding the optional Karras Loop to an otherwise 71-mile day. All had to ascend Twister hill -- from the movie of the same name -- outside Pilot Mound.

Patches and buttons offered as rewards paled as prizes compared to the lasagne dinner prepared by our host Kathy Workman, mother of CoeBRAI driver and Coe Sports Information Director Ryan Workman. More hot and sunny weather greeted the great bike ride across Iowa as we avoided precipitation for yet another day.

The longest ride of the week is followed immediately by the shortest as the route to Altoona covers "only" 56 miles. With "just" 1,147 feet of climb, it should be a nice stretcher as we pass Interstate 35 -- the traditional midpoint of RAGBRAI -- and continue our pursuit of the Mississippi River.

Our Altoona hosts are Coe parents Doug and Darla Keast who, with their kids, are biking across Iowa as well. It'll be interesting to see how they pull that one off, knowing all the logistical planning required for a successful journey.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Day 2: Atlantic to Carroll

Day 2 offered a scenic 65-mile ride from Atlantic to Carroll. After a comfortable stay with Coe parent Mary Paasch, we found our way to the home of John and Jackie Kitch. The Kitch's are family friends of CoeBRAI veteran Judy Floy.

The consensus is that today's ride, while longer by six miles and hillier by 400 feet, was a marked improvement over Sunday. Even longtime Iowans were impressed by panoramic views on a route that passed through Elk Horn, Kimbalton, Manning, Templeton, Dedham and Willey.

Overcast conditions prevailed until noon, helping to keep temperatures at bay. The sun came out for the afternoon and temperatures climbed sufficiently to make the spring fed pond at the edge of Carroll an attractive draw.

Tuesday takes us to Boone and offers a mere 1,787 feet of climb over 70.9 miles -- or 100 for those opting to take the Karras Loop for a century.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Day 1: Glenwood to Atlantic

RAGBRAI 2011 kicked off with 60 hot and hilly miles from Glenwood to Atlantic. Keith and Betsy Forman gave us a great sendoff from Glenwood, where early evening storms provided some degree of relief from high humidity. In Atlantic we're being hosted by Mary Paasch, the mother of 2006 Coe alumnus and current Admission staffer Chris Paasch.

Finally whole after being joined by Roger Bear, our support crew (pictured in event-appropriate glasses) of Abby Masters '08, Sports Information Director Ryan Workman and CoeBRAI spouse Lisa Zingula is also in full force.

Tomorrow's ride to Carroll features Manning as a meeting town. I have some history in Manning and am hoping to avoid riding in a cattle truck this time through.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Eve of another great adventure

The remodeled P.U.B. hosted the annual CoeBRAI pre-ride carboload as veterans shared stories from RAGBRAIs past and rookies received their appropriate markings. Senior Development Officer Dan Breitbach welcomed the group to Coe and Head Football Coach Steve Staker provided words of encouragement. I'm excited to see how the week unfolds as the planning efforts of the past year are put to the test. Though I sense apprehension among some rookies, experience tells me we've got a good group. Let the memory making begin!

Friday, July 15, 2011

With rights comes responsibility

CoeBRAI Riders Bill of Rights

What could be better than spending seven days riding across 454 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, 21,206 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, shop for groceries 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!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Vacation itinerary

As the calendar turns to July, it’s time to get serious about this adventure called RAGBRAI.

We learn from the experience every year and you are the beneficiaries of six 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.

Hosts have been secured in all seven overnight towns!

Here’s a quick rundown of the itinerary:

Friday, July 22 – 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 23 – Loading begins at 8 a.m. at Eby Fieldhouse on the Coe campus with a planned departure of 10 a.m. Riders who preloaded need not arrive until 9 a.m. Quick lunch stop en route. Late afternoon arrival in Glenwood, where we will be staying with newlyweds Keith and Betsy Foreman. Dinner on our own.

Sunday, July 24 – 64.2 miles to Atlantic, where we will be staying with Mary Paasch, mother of 2006 Coe graduate and current admission staffer Chris Paasch. Dinner provided.

Monday, July 25 – 65.4 miles to Carroll, where we will be staying with John and Jackie Kitch, friends of CoeBRAI veteran Judy Floy ’77. Dinner on our own.

Tuesday, July 26 – 70.9 miles (or 100) to Boone, where we’re staying with Kathy Workman, mother of CoeBRAI driver and Coe SID Ryan Workman. Dinner provided.

Wednesday, July 27 – 56.1 miles to Altoona, where we’re staying with Coe parents Doug and Darla Keast. Dinner provided.

Thursday, July 28 – 57.5 miles to Grinnell, where we’re staying with Carrol and Bill Molison, grandma and dad of Coe Webmaster Andy Molison ’03. Dinner provided.

Friday, July 29 – 75.3 miles to Coralville, where we’re staying with Larry Svoboda ’63. Dinner provided. 38 Special is this year’s headliner for those into has-been bands taking a break from the county fair circuit.

Saturday, July 30 – 64.8 miles to Davenport. Rider and Quad Citizen Jim Strickland has made arrangements for us to gather for the final approach at 1523 South Fairmount Street. This is also where we will load for the bus ride home after dipping our tires.

A note about showers: our hosts have generously agreed to open their facilities to us. Let’s not abuse it. With 31 full-time riders, it would take five hours if everyone took a 10-minute shower. Please incorporate the five-minute shower into your training routine. 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!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Is that your final answer?

This is a final reminder that final payments by Team CoeBRAI participants -- typically $200 -- are due this Friday, July 1. Additionally, there are no refunds for cancellations occurring on or after Friday.

Checks payable to Coe College and sent to my attention at Coe College, 1220 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.

The $400 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, gear transportation, some meals, and snack and non-alcoholic beverages at each overnight stop.

While we understand that life happens, we must insist on a no-refund policy for cancellations after July 1. Our refund schedule is 75% on or before May 1, 50% on or before June 1 and 25% on or before July 1.

Additionally, participants should plan to spend $20-$30 per day on food and beverages, bike repairs, showers, etc.

Monday, May 16, 2011

CoeBRAT 2011: 50 miles of wind, rain and winning!


After topping 90 degrees during the week, temperatures in the region barely made it into the 50s with rain and wind to greet the eight brave souls who made good on their commitment to participate in the second occasional CoeBRAT (bike ride across towns): Flunk Day 50 on Saturday, May 14.

Sponsored by the Coe College Alumni Office and Team CoeBRAI, this 100th anniversary Flunk Day event challenged participants with a half century of biking with recovery breaks at Odie's Bar and Grill in Ely, Joensy's in Solon, Sutliff Cider and Chameleon’s in Mount Vernon. Clark Racquet Center on the Coe campus served as the start/finish line.

While two-thirds of the early registrants opted against riding in the inclement weather, Bob Beer '83, Chris Paasch '06, Josh Stanek '02, Ron Van Hoeck '82 and myself were not to be deterred. Postponement was not an option after Stanek came all the way from Milwaukee for the ride. Joining the alumni were rising Coe seniors Amanda Knutson '12, Mary Kramer '12 and Austin Lloyd '12.

In addition to Coe bike bells, there were enough door prizes for everyone. Beer was the big winner with his pair of kings winning the 2011 Coe biking jersey.

Look for some sort of ride in conjunction with Homecoming in mid-September. Also, CoeBRAT 2012 will likely be pushed back a week to May 19 to avoid conflict with the Iowa Conference Baseball Tournament (which the Kohawks just won!) and to provide a little post-Commencement breathing room.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bibs available too

By popular demand, we are also offering the Coe biking gear as bib shorts in addition to the standard shorts. Please note that the bibs will cost $75, plus an additional $10 if you'd like to upgrade to the endurance chamois. Please clearly indicate that you are ordering bibs -- as opposed to shorts -- on the order form.

Remember apparel orders are due May 15 (the day after the CoeBRAT 2011: Flunk Day 50) and will be shipped by mid July. Anyone is welcome to buy jerseys -- $60 for short sleeve and sleeveless, $70 for long sleeve – and shorts for $65, plus bibs for $75 (add $10 for endurance chamois). Order forms are available on the right column of this page.

Friday, April 1, 2011

2nd CoeBRAT honors Flunk Day tradition

Kohawk fellowship... food... drink... prizes... bicycling... and fun for all await participants in the second occasional CoeBRAT (bike ride across towns) on Saturday, May 14. Sponsored by the Coe College Alumni Office and Team CoeBRAI, this event encourages you to get on your bike and ride.

This year's ride also honors a time-honored Coe tradition, as Flunk Day marks its 100th anniversary. Participants will visit Clark Racquet Center on the Coe Campus, Odie's Bar and Grill in Ely, Joensy's in Solon, Sutliff Cider and Chameleon's in Mount Vernon as we pedal 1/2 mile for every year of Flunk Day.

Registration is only $10 by May 9 ($15 after). Save yourself some cash and sign up today! Entry form here.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

2011 demographics

As I finalize our group entry for submission to RAGBRAI (postmarked no later than this Friday), I was curious about the demographics of our group. We are 30 full-time riders, 1 part-timer and 3 support personnel. We range in age from 26 to 69, with a median age of 47.5 and an average of 49. I guarantee you the 69-year-old will bike circles around most of us! Of the week-long riders, 19 are male and 11 female, which bodes well for the quick-shower rule. We represent 8 states or districts. In addition to Iowa, riders hail from Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, California and our nation's capital, Washington, D.C. Our sponsoring organization -- Coe College -- is represented by 3 faculty/staff and 11 alumni. I have no idea how many RAGBRAI's we have collectively completed or how many virgins are among us, but I know 12 are participating with CoeBRAI for the first time.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

2011 logistics primer


My usual timetable calls for posting logistical details two months from now. However, by popular request of some CoeBRAI virgins, I submit for your review the following primer.

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 Glenwood and then home from Davenport. 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 Glenwood and back to Cedar Rapids from Davenport, 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 22 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 23 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 30.

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. Did I mention earplugs?

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.

Also, our support crew will be updating our CoeBRAI rider bill of rights. This is mostly common sense expectations to ensure that your enjoyment of RAGBRAI doesn’t impede anyone else’s enjoyment of RAGBRAI. Here are a few highlights from last year:
• 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 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.
• 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.
• 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.
• Remember the RAGBRAI credo: If you’re not having fun yet, lower your expectations.
• Team CoeBRAI motto: Roll with it!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Cycling as sport



After two years as cycling art exhibits, the timing seemed right for Team CoeBRAI to adopt a sporty look in 2011. As a result, the Kohawk logo designed a decade ago by Lance Lethcoe ’02 for Coe athletics is the dominant feature of this year’s jerseys by Coe graphic designer Christina Kroemer.

Team CoeBRAI will be modeling them on the Register’s Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa (RAGBRAI) July 24-30. For the first time, the jerseys are not RAGBRAI specific, which we hope appeals to cycling Kohawks everywhere.

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.

Two 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 14 and stay tuned for details on the second occasional CoeBRAT (bike ride across towns): Flunk Day 50.

Anyone else is welcome to buy jerseys -- $60 for short sleeve and sleeveless, $70 for long sleeve – and shorts for $65. Order forms are available on the right column of this page. All orders must be received by May 15 and will be shipped by mid July.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

St. Patty's Day is for CR Bikers


"Ride The Divide"
, the award-winning feature-length documentary about the world’s toughest mountain bike race, will comes to Cedar Rapids on Thursday, March 17, at the Collins Road Theatres in Marion. The event will be a fundraiser for the Linn Area Mountain Bike Association.

The film chronicles the story of several mountain bikers who attempt the 2,711-mile race named the Tour Divide along the Continental Divide in the Rocky Mountains. The movie was named the best adventure film at the 2010 Vail Film Festival.

This film has become an instant cycling classic, and made its television premiere in September on the Documentary Channel. But the Adventure Cycling Association said the film should be seen on the big screen: “The cinematography is stunning!” Added UpaDowna, “Ride The Divide is one of the most inspiring real cycling movies … in a long time.” Epic Riding summed the movie up as follows: “In a word? Fantastic. In more words? Moving, funny, inspiring.”

"Ride The Divide" embraces the inspiring stories of three of the racers who experience the immense mountain beauty and small-town culture as they attempt to pedal from Banff, Canada, to a small, dusty crossing on the Mexican border. There’s Mike, a 40-year-old family man who uses this challenge to chart a new course in life; Matthew, a leader in extreme endurance racing who’s competing for his fifth time; and Mary, the first female rider to race this route. As they set out, they will attempt to accomplish what very few have been able to. Over the course of a few weeks, they’ll attempt to climb over 200,000 vertical feet along the backbone of the Rocky Mountains.

They’ll experience mental breakdowns, treacherous snow, hellacious blisters, and total fatigue. Above all, they’ll race with no support – at times in total isolation. The tests of endurance and the accomplished moments throughout "Ride the Divide" prompt us to reflect on our inner desires to live life to the fullest.

"Ride The Divide" made its debut at the Vail Film Festival and was named the best adventure film at the event. Outside Magazine proclaimed that “(t)he toughest bike race in the world is not in France,” after reviewing the film.

"Ride The Divide" will be shown at 7 p.m. at the Collins Road Theatres, located at 1462 Twixt Town Road in Marion. Tickets are $15 at the door, and $10 in advance at www.IMAthlete.com/Events/RideTheDividemovie. This event is sponsored by Hall Bicycle Co. of Cedar Rapids.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

For a good time, call CoeBRAI ASAP

As the April 1 RAGBRAI registration deadline nears, this is my final push for week-long riders. (Part-timers are a subject for another day.)

Of the 30 full-time biker slots on Team CoeBRAI, 27 have been claimed. That leaves three openings.

After obtaining my blessing, you will want to register on the RAGBRAI Web site and 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. (Checks made out to Coe sent to my attention at 1220 First Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402.)

Fees for Team CoeBRAI will remain $400, despite a $10 RAGBRAI increase to $150. Of this, $200 is due immediately along with a completed (online) entry form and signed waiver. The remaining $200 will be due July 1. (Don't forget to add the cost of any merchandise you may choose to order through RAGBRAI.)

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.

Please don't wait until March 31 to contact me as I will surely have closed our group by then. Also, part-timers, relax. I'll get to you after lottery results are announced May 1.

Monday, January 31, 2011

2011 route: Glenwood to Davenport

By PERRY BEEMAN
pbeeman@dmreg.com

RAGBRAI XXXIX will offer one of the annual bike ride’s shorter but hillier routes, and promises one of the brassiest endings on record.

When participants in the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa pull into Davenport on the final day, it will be the same weekend as the festival honoring the late jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, a native of the city.

That means a famous Bix road race, plenty of beer and food, and the presence of a bunch of people who will have been partying hard long before the Lycra-wearing riders dismount their gel seats.

Joe Taylor, president and chief executive officer of the Quad-Cities Convention & Visitors Bureau, said Davenport “has been patiently waiting 29 years for RAG­BRAI to return.”

RAGBRAI Director T.J. Juskiewicz said the city is ready.

“It will be one heck of a show down at the Mississippi River,” Juskiewicz said.

This year’s ride runs July 24-30. The event starts in Glenwood, with overnight stops in Atlantic, Carroll, Boone, Altoona, Grinnell and Coralville before the Mississippi River tire-dipping festivities in Davenport.

The 454-mile route is the 14th-shortest, and 18 miles short of average. Fifteen routes have been hillier, so the 10,000 riders will find the climb in the moderate range.

Combine the mileage and hills, and organizers consider this the 22nd-easiest ride, meaning 17 routes have been tougher.

There’s no telling if the weather will ease the way, or make things miserable at times. Headwind predictions weren’t available. Please train like you mean it.

Those who feel they need a break in the first few days will be glad to know that the Des Moines suburb of Altoona will host the riders overnight for the first time. That means a chance to chill in front of the slots at Prairie Meadows, ride a roller coaster at Adventureland, or take in the night life of Des Moines’ Court Avenue.

This year’s route — more details will be announced later — presents a couple of interesting challenges for riders.

The hilliest day is Sunday’s opening 64-mile pedal from Glenwood to Atlantic. Legs will be fresh for the 4,946 feet of climb, at least.

But the longest trek comes on Day 6, when some legs may be rubbery — the 75 miles from Grinnell to Coralville.

Then again, anyone who has ever pedaled a century loop, 100 miles, won’t be intimidated by that measly total. And the RAGBRAI record for a single day was 114 miles from Webster City to Waverly in 1980, so 75 shouldn’t seem bad.

The 2011 ride will be 96 miles short of the record 550 miles in 1977.

Below is a day-to-day breakdown:

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GLENWOOD — Saturday, July 23
Population: 5,358
History: 1980, 1984, 1989, 1992, 2003

This town of 5,358 welcomes riders for the sixth time. The ride began there last in 2003. The Loess Hills make this area one of Iowa’s most picturesque and geologically important.

Glenwood is the county seat of Mills County and boasts attractions such as the American Indian Earth Lodge and the 45-acre Glenwood Lake Park with an independent historical museum and amphitheater.

The town is proud of its new high school.

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ATLANTIC — Sunday, July 24
Population: 7,257
History: 1974, 1980, 1989, 1991, 2001

The ride’s first overnight stop comes in this town of 7,257 which also welcomed riders in 1974, 1980, 1989, 1991, and 2001. The self-proclaimed “Coca-Cola Capital of Iowa” because of its bottling operations, Atlantic also has a new YMCA where people can work off their sodas. The historic downtown sports the restored Rock Island Depot.

Often, it’s easy to catch a car show or concert somewhere in town during summer. The T-Bone Trail runs 21 miles to Audubon.

Fans of the Iowa Hawkeyes may remember Atlantic is the hometown of former Hawkeye and Kansas City Chiefs star Ed Podolak, who later gained fame as a broadcaster.

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CARROLL — Monday, July 25
Population: 10,098
History: 1980, 1988, 1994

The 510-acre Swan Lake State Park and a new city aquatic center that opened in 2009 offer good recreation possibilities in this community of 10,098. Ditto for the 33-mile Sauk Rail Trail, which runs between Swan Lake State Park and Black Hawk State Park to the north, at Lake View.

Much of downtown Carroll has been remodeled.

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BOONE — Tuesday, July 26
Population: 12,803
History: 1975, 1988, 1998; also a pass-through town three times, last time in 2008

The ride rolls into Boone for an overnight stop for the fourth time; the last was in 1998, but the ride passed through in 2008.

Known as the birthplace of former first lady Mamie Eisenhower, the railroad-influenced town of 12,803 has staged nationally significant stock-car races, Pufferbilly Days and the Iowa Municipal Band Festival.

The Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad is one of the state’s most prominent passenger railroads.

Many Iowans have marveled at the Kate Shelley Memorial High Bridge west of town, considered the longest, highest double-track railroad bridge in the country. Another famous span, the nearby High Trestle Trail, offers spectacular scenery as bicyclists cross the Des Moines River.

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ALTOONA — Wednesday, July 27
Population: 13,301
History: First time as overnight town; pass-through town in 1973, on inaugural ride

RAGBRAI makes its first stop at this home to horse racing, gambling and Adventureland Amusement Park.

Altoona, population 13,301, hasn’t seen RAGBRAI since the inaugural ride passed through in 1973.

The Des Moines suburb’s collection of attractions now features central Iowa’s only Bass Pro Shops.

Also, this is no fish tale: Altoona is the hometown of NFL quarterback Kyle Orton.

It may seem hard to imagine in the cold of winter, but it could be warm later this year. If so, Altoona’s new aquatic center and bike trails could come in handy.

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GRINNELL — Thursday, July 28
Population: 9,105
History: 1976, 1991, 2001

The home of Grinnell College — something of an Ivy League-style school in the flatlands — has 9,105 residents and a committee ready to welcome the ride back for its first stop since 2001 and fourth overall.

Grinnell has replaced many streets, trimmed sidewalks with brick and installed granite planters around downtown. The restaurant scene is lively with independent proprietors, and this is yet another town with a new swimming complex.

Architect Louis Sullivan’s well-regarded 1914 Merchants National Bank building is a National Historic Landmark, one of eight jewel-box banks he created in the Midwest. Sullivan spawned the skyscraper concept and mentored another architect whose work has graced Iowa and the nation: Frank Lloyd Wright.

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CORALVILLE — Friday, July 29
Population: 17,269
History: 1995, 2001, 2006

This neighbor to Iowa City is rejuvenating an industrial area along the Iowa River.

Its 17,269 residents welcomed RAGBRAI in 1995, 2001 and 2006.

The name comes from fossils found in the limestone along the river, which forms part of the boundary with Iowa City, home of the University of Iowa.

Coralville stages 4th Fest and Fry Fest, a celebration all about the Hawkeyes of the U of I. Former Hawkeye football coach Hayden Fry was among the school’s most successful.

Among Coralville’s native sons are NFL kicker Nate Kaeding and professional cyclist Jason McCartney.

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DAVENPORT — Saturday, July 30
Population: 98,359
History: 1973, 1982

Perhaps surprisingly, this is only RAGBRAI’s third stop in Davenport, and the most recent was 1982. (The other stop was on the first ride, in 1973.)

This Iowa anchor of the Quad Cities has 98,359 residents and a river history rich in jazz, minor-league baseball, flood fights, riverboats and a mixture of white-collar and blue-collar jobs.

The famously hilly Bix7 road race will be held this day, as will the highly regarded jazz festival in honor of Davenport native jazz cornetist Bix Beiderbecke, a legend in music circles.

Davenport also boasts Figge Art Museum and the Putnam Museum and IMAX Theater.

Reporter Tyler O’Neil contributed to this story.

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MILEAGE AND CLIMB
Day 1 — 64.2 miles 4,946 climb
Day 2 — 65.4 miles 4,798 climb
Day 3 — 70.9 miles 1,784 climb
Day 4 — 56.1 miles 1,246 climb
Day 5 — 57.5 miles 3,294 climb
Day 6 — 75.3 miles 2,800 climb
Day 7 — 64.8 miles 2,338 climb
Total — 454.2 miles 21,206 climb

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Head protection for dummies

Do NOT try this at home. These dummies are professionals. Any resemblance to cycling chemistry professor Steve Singleton is purely coincidental, though no less amusing.