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.