Thanks for the Lodging

Thanks for the Lodging by UNI Dr. Z
Thanks for the Lodging, a photo by UNI Dr. Z on Flickr.

Just wanted to give a big thanks to the wonderful folks who put us up and put up with us last night:
Gwen and John Detlefson, Kim Fara, John Pea, Phillip and Janet Myer Steve and Cathy Pfannkuch, Shawn and Michon Bakker, & Donna and Floyd Forman.
Your hospitality was greatly appreciated by us all.

Monday's Climb is a Tough One

The Road to Willey by UNI Dr. Z
The Road to Willey, a photo by UNI Dr. Z on Flickr.
Monday was the toughest climb of the tour: 70 miles and climbed over 4,700 ft. It was another hot day with heat index of 110.
Lots of events:
-- Big Bird bought a new battery for the van so now he doesn't have to single-handedly push the 5 ton ban to get it started.
-- A bunch if birds went swimming in the pond outside of Carroll to cool off.
--Doodle bird found that she had a long-lost 2nd cousin in Manning.This second cousin placed us in homes with comfortable beds all over Manning.
--Mini-Shoop is beginning to hang around with Team Harold.
--Doodle Bird has discovered a new passion for drawing flamingos on the back of riders' legs.
Today will be a 70-mile day from Carroll to Boone. Most of it will be rolling hills except a huge hill going into Carrol. Should be fun.
Btw, the photo is the road to the town of Willey.

First Day Was Hot and Hilly

First Day Was Hot & Hilly by UNI Dr. Z
First Day Was Hot & Hilly, a photo by UNI Dr. Z on Flickr.
Sunday was a great day for the beginning of our trek. It was 90 degrees with a 111 degree heat index. The route climbed over 4200 feet. Kudos to those who rode the whole route. These included Emily, Al, Michael, Mark, Bill, Nate (and his 12-year old daughter, Bethany, who joined him on their tandem, and Deb B. Most of the rest of us Bagged It at Carson or Griswold and took a van into Atlantic.

In Atlantic we stayed at three different homes of wonderful families. It was nice to sleep indoors instead of the hilly campground we enjoyed Friday night.

BTW, the photo is a Coke machine turned into an entertainment center at the Dave and Rosie Jones. Thanks!!

Team Flamingo Takes Off for RAGBRAI XXXIX

We did it!

We met at Carolyn's house for a wonderful breakfast at 8:00.
We packed the 3 vans with bikes and gear for 20 . . . And we left at 10:00. We were aiming at 9:00 but it was the earliest departure yet.

"We came. We ate. We flocked"

Things look good for a wonderful RAGBRAI adventure ahead.

Communicating on RAGBRAI Tundo
Riding RAGBRAI is a challenge, but communicating in the Iowa farmlands can be a great challenge as well. 

Here are a few hints:
  • Use the team contact cards that Big Bird will distribute to add your fellow birds' phone numbers to your cell phone.
  • Stay in touch with your team. It is more fun if you coordinate your ride with your team.
  • Connect with your support team at the Meeting Town each day. They will not leave until they connect with every rider.
  • Phone coverage is intermittent throughout Iowa. Use text messaging when your phones don't have coverage. 
  • Pass out stickers in towns to leave evidence that you were there. 
  • When you tweet, use #RAGBRAI as the hashtag.  Your tweet will appear on the official RAGBRAI website at
  • Share your photos with the world. Team Flamingo has a Flickr Group: Team Flamingo - RAGBRAI.  You must be a group member if you want to post your photos. Contact Z-Bird if you want to join the group and he will tell you how to do this. 
Do you have other ideas for improving the team's communication?  Please share them as comments below.

RAGBRAI Packing List
Trying to decide what to take on RAGBRAI?
We are in luck because Big Bird constructed a check list that you can use to get organized. 
You can also access it through Google Docs right here.   You can download it to your computer from here if you wish.

What did we forget?

RAGBRAI Check List

c RAGBRAI Rider/Driver’s Tags
c Bike
c Bike Helmet
c Bike Computer
c Feather Boas
c Trunk Bag/Handle Bar Bag
c Spare bike tube/tire changing kit
c Water bottles/Camelback hydration pack
c Bike Pump
c Bike Gloves
c Sun Glasses
c Sun Screen
c Lip Block
c Power Bars/Gum
c Toilet paper (to carry on bike in case of emergency stop to corn field)
c Hand Sanitizer/Travel Handiwipes (see above)
c Team Flamingo jersey/biking jersey
c Bike shorts
c Bike shoes
c Shower shoes
c Ball cap/sun visor
c Kerchiefs
c Socks/Undergarments
c Swim suit
c T-shirts
c Shorts
c Windbreaker/hoodie (in case temps drop)
c Long pants (in case temps drop)
c Toiletry kit (soap, shampoo, baby powder, sunburn cream, etc.)
c Towel(s)
c Camera
c Cell Phone/charger
c Batteries
c Cash
c Credit card
c Rain jacket/poncho
c Tent/ground tarp
c Sleeping bag or bedding
c Ground pad/blow up mattress/camp cot
c Flash light

Meet the Team . . .

Wondering who is actually on Team Flamingo?

This is a vibrant team and trying to identify who is actually on it at any one point is kind of a moving target. Once you are a flamingo, you are ALWAYS a flamingo.

You can meet the gang by clicking the Members tab on this page.  You will be introduced to over 60 members. It is right below the Flamingo Blog title above.

QR code for Team Flamingo Blog

It may seem a bit redundant to post a QR code that will direct someone to this website.

Nevertheless, this code might be useful for you if you want to send someone an easy way for them to access our blog through their phones. Sure, you could give them the URL, but this soooooo much coooooooooler.

What do you think?

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RAGBRAI Training: Save Your Knees Using the Right Gear
Using the proper gears when riding RAGBRAI can make a big difference in how your legs and knees will holdout on the road.

David Ertl on the RAGBRAI blog shared some insights about how important it is to use the right gears. He notes that too often we use the large gear in the front so that we can pedal slowly. The problem is that we are exerting too much force on our legs with each stroke and we use more muscle fibers with each stroke. This means that we get tired earlier.

The key is to keep your cadence at over 75 revolutions per minute.  You will use lower gears in the front ring, but you will not tire as quickly.

There is a great deal more that you need to know about this before your next ride. Read Ertl's article, Go for a Spin.  It is quite informative.

What kind of rider are you? Are you usually above or below 75 RPMs?

On with the Early Bird Ride

Another 55 miles of training.  Yes, we are gluttons for biking. Early Bird (Al Hays) invited us to join him in a special ride. We met at the Hays' house at 8:00 AM and we were on the road by 8:30.

Early Bird took us on an interesting journey that took us through Black Hawk Park; down 1st Street to Union; South on Union to 12th; South to and around the Prairie Lake; Hustle to Hudson; North to Waterloo; East to the Sandpits and then back west to the Hays' near Peiffer Park.

Once we returned to the Hays' house, there was a huge spread of hamburgers, hot dogs, salads, cheesecake and other delicacies.  Thank you, Early Bird and Mrs. Hays.

It was a good ride. The only problem was when Z-Bird committed Flamingo-cide in the early morn by backing his truck over the Hays' flamingo. Immediate first aid was administered and Fancy the Flamingo is re-adorning the Hays' front yard.
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A second day of training for team flamingo

Training is Coming to an End

Yes, we only have 20 days left til we mount our bikes to ride our bikes 454 miles across Iowa. The challenge is to be ready for the day-after-day pedal-after-pedal progression up mountains and down hills.

Flamingos Prepare for the Saturday Ride

In preparation for our tour, we have been taking some wonderful rides. Saturday we rode 55 miles. This began at Cup o' Joe's and we rode the Great Loop through Hartman Reserve and around Green Hill. As always, we stopped for lunch at Toad's. In the afternoon, we did the Holy Trinity ride where we ride from downtown Cedar Falls to Waterloo, along the 63 highway to Hudson and down the 57 highway and Main Street to return to Cedar Falls.  It is a wonderful ride.

Sunday Crew Hops Towards Another Ride
Sunday's ride didn't have quite the turnout, but it was a quality group. You will notice that we have assumed the mono-pedal Flamingo stance as a display of unity and balance.

This trip was to be another 50-mile day ride. This time we began the Holy Trinity ride in the morning. Unfortunately, Z-Bird got a flat tire and he had to fall out of the procession until lunch. The whole gang met at Mulligan's for lunch.  Having had a productive morning, the team decided to return home and engage in their personal exercise programs.

The 4th of July will involve The Early Bird Special ride which begins at 8:00 AM at Al and Pam Hays' house. We will ride for 50 miles and then return to the Hays' for a Bar-B-Q.  Should be a "gas" and we will provide photos as they appear.
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