Friday, July 20, 2007

An interesting expected!

We got off to an auspicious start. We had a great plan to build a rack inside the van to lift the bikes up so we could store gear underneath. We had to “reconfigure” the rack to fit the bikes, but we got it to work! Mark realized he had a broken spoke on the rear wheel of his bike. So there was a quick trip to the bike shop while we packed things up. Then as we were just about ready, having fit 10 gallons of “stuff” in a 5-gallon van, Mark went to move his car and there was a nasty crunching and popping sound. That’s when we realized it was the front wheel of his bike that was under the front wheel of his car! Luckily, "Matt’s bike shop" had a spare wheel for him to borrow. Then the trip was on, and off we went!

We eventually stopped to stretch our legs. When I picked up the van, I had 2 additional keys made. So Bruce and I both had keys, as well as Chris. When we came back out, the key Chris had worked fine in the ignition, but not in the doors! Of course the other keys were safely in our bags…in the van!!!! Luckily, the backdoor was unlocked, and with some stretching and luck, we could reach my bag and the key in my bag opened the door!
So we got back on the road and made it safely to Marengo to stay with Larry and Linda. We had an outstanding dinner of burgers, fresh sweet corn, potatoes, and brownies. What an excellent start to RAGBRAI 2007!


It's Friday, July 20, 2007 . . . Showtime boys!

We'll be pulling out of South Bend around noon headed for an overnight in Eastern Iowa, then on to Rock Rapids, Iowa, Saturday.

RAGBRAI XXXV hits the road bright and early Sunday!

I can't speak for all, but I'm looking forward to a week of cycling with an awesome group of guys and some of my best friends in the world.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

The Newest Member of Team Velodox

Meet the newest member of Team Velodox . . . Matt and I drove up to Mt. Pleasant, MI, on Sunday, July 8, to pick him up. Of course, no trip to Mt. P is complete without a stop for fine dining at Mountain Town Station. Matt's college roommate Jim runs a great brew pub and we had a super meal. Jim and Karen (and Evan, too) were gracious enough to let Matt and me stay the night and it was fun to catch up with them.

Monday morning, we met Terry, the proprietor of Motorless Motion (and Matt's college employer) at 8:30 (thanks for getting to the shop early just for us, Terry!) at his shop in downtown Mt. Pleasant.

I took the Surly Cross Check for quick spin while Matt and Terry chatted a bit. Man, what a sweet ride. You know the feeling you have when you "graduate" from a Huffy to a real bike? Well, it's the same when you graduate from a fitness/hybrid to a cyclocross. We inked the deal, loaded the bike on the rack and headed home.

By the end of the first week, I've got nearly a hundred miles and am pumped to take the new wheels on RAGBRAI.

Thanks Matt! for brokering the deal with Terry . . . you're a true friend.

Friday, July 6, 2007

Tuesday Night Ride on Thursday

Matt, Chris and I rode the the Tuesday Night Outpost Ride (held on Thursday because of the Indpendence Day holiday).

Great ride up through Michigan. We only got off-map once (and this time, it most certainly was NOT my fault!). A total of 35.8 miles and then back to our house for hot dogs, burgers, chips and potato salad. (Thanks Gail! for getting all that around . . . )

I suppose we should note Chris's latest addition to his "medals" . . . On Sunday, July 1, we (Chris, Matt, Henry Scott, and I) took a pedal up to Buchanan, MI. While no fault of his own, Chris took a tumble that resulted in 6 glorious stitches to his right elbow. Fortunately, we were not 100 yards from a RiteAid Pharmacy. Henry rounded up some first aid supplies, Matt and Chris did a little wound scrubbing in the men's room of the Hilltop Cafe, and I waited patiently at the table for the quick fix to be finished. While it would be pretty gross to actually show the wound, here is a shot of the elbow and the bandage. We still have Karen's blessing to take Chris riding in the future; we just have to promise he'll use elbow and knee pads.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Suggested packing list

Last year, Bruce and I read all the online articles about what to bring, how to prepare, etc. The result was, we finished and had a great time. Of course, we also way over packed. Here are my suggestions for RAGBRAI this year.

Bike Stuff
  • Bike (remember both wheels if you put your bike in a fork mount rack)
  • Helmet
  • Good gloves
  • Cycling Shoes
  • A couple of tubes (you can always buy more)
  • Tire levers
  • Frame Pump or CO2
  • Multi-Tool
  • CamelBak (some people like water bottles, I prefer lots of cold water)
  • Extra cleats for your shoes/pedals (you never know)

4 each (we have free laundry on Wed night)
  • Cycling shorts
  • Jerseys or wicking t-shirts
  • Cycling socks

  • A light windbreaker/rain gear to carry on your bike
  • Shower shoes/Crocs/Slides
  • A basic pair of shorts
  • A couple of t-shirts (you’ll only need 2-3, you’re not in them very long each night)
  • A pair of pants (in case it gets cold)
  • Sweatshirt or something for a cool evening (it’s not likely to get that cold, but you never know)
  • A pair of gym shorts for sleeping in and running for the bathroom

  • Sunscreen (you’ll apply it 2-3 times a day!)
  • Toilet paper (corn fields don’t have that and neither do some Kybos)
  • Small pack of baby wipes to carry on the ride
  • Basic personal hygiene stuff
  • A camp towel (something that dries quickly)
  • Chamois BUTT'r (don’t laugh, it works!)
  • Gold Bond Powder (trust me!)

  • Tent
  • Sleeping bag (you’ll sleep on top of it most nights)
  • A Sheet to sleep under
  • Good sleeping pad
  • Battery powered fan (a little one will move a lot of air in a tent)
  • Small pillow
  • Camp chair
  • Tent & pole repair kit

Misc. Stuff
  • Trash bags/HUGE ziplock backs (to pack stuff in, bags are placed outside rain or shine until you pick them up each day)
  • Sunglasses
  • Skull cap for sweat and sun protection
  • Camera
  • Batteries for said camera
  • Memory for said camera (Bruce this means shoot at high resolution!)
  • Ear plugs
  • iPod
  • cell phone
  • cell phone charger/car charger
  • a good book
  • journal
  • laptop (it will travel in the support vehicle, some towns will have WiFi)

  • Twizzlers Bites
  • Cliff Bars
  • Energy drink powder (pre-measured in bags makes life easier)
  • Budget a minimum of $30/day for food/drink
  • Bring some cash and traveler’s checks
  • Most things drinks cost $1-2
  • Most meals cost between $5-7
  • We’ll figure out fuel at the end

Things that Velodox, Inc will provide:
  • Floor pump (pump your tires up EVERY morning)
  • Dead blow hammer for tent stakes or Bruce
  • Bike Stand
  • Basic bike tools (yes, a cassette tool, too!)
  • Cooler for evening festivities, support car will refill each afternoon with drinks/snacks
  • We'll all donate to the "refill" fund . . .

Things not to bring

  • Bad attitude
  • Ego
  • Too many clothes
  • Perishable food
  • Race mentality! (this is a RIDE, have fun)
  • Expectations: whatever you expect RAGBRAI to be, it will likely be something else