RAGBRAI wrap up

Thanks to Rich Drake (@richdrake) for hosting Team Transplant at his house in Indianola.  Sorry to have exposed you to "Doug in Spandex" Rich but those scars will heal :)

We had a wonderful bbq and got to know Rich's family and had a darn good time.  People often ask me how riding 250 miles on a bike is relaxing.  Seeing our great state, eating your way across it, and finishing up the day with a campsite (while using showers and bathrooms in homes of friends) keeps bringing me back year after year. 

I've done RAGBRAI every year I've lived here and I'm going to keep doing it.  Thanks to all including wives, hosts, and teammates.

RAGBRAI 2009 - Team Transplant

Image via Wikipedia

Just a brief post on our plans for RAGBRAI 2009.   There's a group of us that have organized.  Turns out we all come from different places (non-native Iowans).  There are physicians involved.  The name TEAM TRANSPLANT evolved and there we are.  Site coming soon.   Some of us will likely do the entire week this year while others will start on either side of Indianola.

Normally, I'd have said, "Been there and done that" with an event like this.  For some reason, I keep going back again, riding with 15k of my closest spandex laden friends, and sharing stories for years to come. 

RAGBRAI 2009 Route Announced

Both the largest and the meatiest bloody mary ...Image via Wikipedia

My neighbor had this one nailed.  I think he named off every city on the route months ago because "RAGBRAI hasn't been south in too many years."

It's amazing how this announcement has affected me!  Planning our stays, imagining the pie, bloody mary's and a burger at 7am.  You know...the stuff that gives RAGBRAI it's MOJO.

I think Lance Armstrong is busy this year (he's on twitter @lancearmstrong) but we'll give him a free pass and send a care package of Rhubarb pie from made by nice grandmas at a Lutheran Church in the Heartland.


Image via WikipediaThere's a wonderful phenomena here in the Des Moines, Iowa metro area, and that's......ACCESS.  I feel so connected to things that were once "out there" like politicians, news personalities, business leaders, and community leaders.  It's really a gift that probably seems "normal" to Iowa natives. But to my Southern CA born and raised brain where LA was a foreign country 50 miles west, it's a real treat.

Well, there's this wonderful event that happens annually here called RAGBRAI.  It's basically an amalgamation of 15,000 of your closest friends who ride together about 450 miles across the state of Iowa in the middle of the summer.  Yeah, I know...something must be poisoning the corn.  But really, RAGBRAI is an amazing time of connection between Iowans and international visitors from all over the world. 

I'm planning a very big team experience this year as we roll across this beautiful state, share stories, and connect with wonderful rural and not so rural communities across the state.

Keep in tune with my blog for updates but this is going to be big.   Just imagine for now the greatest grass roots event in the history of the state.  OK, back to work.

Lance is back!

There will be no pie for Lance Armstrong in 2009.  He won't be chomping brats and downing beers at 8AM as he cruises through small town Iowa on RAGBRAI.  Alas...Lance has chosen professional cycling again as an awesomely powerful vehicle to fight the horrific scourge of cancer.

Listen in his own words.  Listen carefully to the stats on how many people cancer kills relative to other global maladies.  Where should our efforts/money go as a nation?  (This clip seems to auto-play so sorry about that if you didn't want it...I just copied the embed code as is.)

(visit livestrong.org for the video. It auto plays and I can stop it from doing that)

Waukee Cycling & Fitness

Animation of a spinning bicycle pedal

Image via Wikipedia

He doesn't know it...but Marvin Light from Waukee Cycling & Fitness just served me, a customer that was kind of "sketchy" about moving outside of my comfort zone with bike shops.  I've been served well by Bike World and Rasmussen and didn't move away from them for any reason in particular.

I have passed by Waukee Cycling & Fitness about a hundred times on my bike and in the car.  The shop is located at 23 NE Carefree Lane, in the same center as Tres Amigos, Subway, Legacy Bar & Grill, etc.  Anyone who's ridden the Raccoon River Trail has passed by.

I tend to route for the underdog and with the dominance of the other local shops I thought I'd give Marvin's place a shot.  The Trek Madone 5.2SL was delivered to Marvin for a rear derailleur alignment and diagnoses of a clicking noise in my crankset (or so I thought). 

The Net Result

  1. Marvin was thorough, efficient, and got to the bottom of my "clicking noise".  He could have easily told me anything and I probably would have believed him, but he told me that it was in the pedal to which he applied grease and said, "Let's hope this fixes the issue so you don't need a replacement." Cost = $0.  If I need new pedals eventually...you know where I'm going.
  2. Marvin fixed my derailleur with perfect alignment and delivered my abused cycle back to me shined up and purty again.
    Cost = $30.
  3. I left happy, satisfied, and encouraged that his business is excited to serve and do well. 

If you're loyal to the other shops I'd understand why.  The crews at each place have done well by me.  If you'd like to give an underdog a shot whether you need service or a new piece...please give Marvin a call at 515.987.7333 and tell him that "Clicky Left Pedal Doug" sent you.  He's available via email at [email protected]

(I'll have a conversation about that MSN email address vs. the branded one later :)  Thanks again Marvin.

Second Annual Track and Back Ride Open For Registration

Noname It's time to plan your training for this year's Track and Back ride.  It departs from El Bait Shop (High Life Lounge) and heads out to the Iowa Speedway where you get to ride around the banked 7/8th's mile track to your heart's content. (I'll even show you my Newton Club Seats).

Pre-departure breakfast, lunch, and post ride BBQ dinner is served and it's a real hoot.  Did I mention this is a Century ride?  Yes, 100 miles in the saddle from Des Moines to Newton, IA.  Come on.  You can do half by starting at the speedway and riding back if you can't hack it.

It's on October 18 so it will be a smidgen cooler this year. 

Register here or get more information.
  Anyone interested in riding together and/or putting a team together for this ride, let me know.  It will be you, me, and a couple hundred of our best cycling buddies. 

RAGBRAI 2008 Route Announced

The route for the 2008 RAGBRAI has been announced and it's a convenient central path for all of us "3 day participants" that want to bolt up to Jefferson in the AM, party hard in Ames (Cyclones will be rabid), and ride to Tama and have the minivan caravan take us home.   

I'm sure Tom B. will be in full effect in Ames showing me where he partied during his 4 (was it only 4 Tom?) years at Iowa State.  I want to find a nice place to sleep that night versus tenting it but you know, I'm like that nowadays.

Any of my local readers have an RV sitting idle that week they'd like to rent me?  I promise to fill it with responsible 30 something married people...and no Hawkeyes.  (I had to...I really don't care but I had to).  Go ahead now chime in with the insults and witty retorts. 

Heck I went to Cal State University Pomona where we didn't have football.  Go Broncos!

RAGBRAI - The Beginning of the End

A rider on RAGBRAI was killed in 2004 in Crawford County, Iowa.  Now, the County has paid $350k to the widow of deceased rider.  The county has now BANNED RAGBRAI from coming through that county's roads whatsoever. 

"RAGBRAI at this point would not be welcomed in this county because of the lawsuit factors," Dan Muhlbauer, chairman of the board of supervisors, said Thursday. "As long as the laws read the way they do, I don't want them in my county."

The rider was killed after being thrown from his bike when his tire sunk into a "center line crack".  You road rider folks know what I mean here.  It's something I'm hyper aware of NOT falling into when riding, especially when riding fast or on a downhill. 

My assumption was that when you signed up for something where you can possibly go 45MPH on an 18lb carbon rocket...that there was implied danger and that bad stuff happens.  I know I'd probably feel different if it was my family here...but for now, I just sit and wonder how long it will be before other cities follow suit.


Saris t-rax 524 bike rack - 4 bike model

I have just put together my new Saris T-Rax 524 4-bike rack and put it into action on the newly installed receiver hitch on the Honda Odyssey.  I have  a few observations that will hopefully make their way back to Saris and help out those trying to put one together.

  1. Toss the included black and white instruction manual into the trash.  Visit the Saris website and get the PDF color manual.
  2. They have a video available too that is helpful and it's located here.
  3. They should begin including a DVD or CD with the manual and video for those not so web inclined.

All in all, I think it's a good product and it's pretty attractive as well.

Now we can travel with our rides in style.