Saturday found Team Flamingo on the road for another RAGBRAI. This year's team was composed of:
• Big Bird (aka Mike Knapp), co-founder of Team Flamingo and veteran of the last 24 consecutive RAGBRAI's. A dashing figure in pink and feather boa, and the originator of the "pink" beard look on RAGBRAI.
• Madam Chair Bird (aka Mica Lorenz), co-founder of the team and veteran of 22 RAGBRAI's. Team task master and chief procurer of flamingo accessories adorning bikes and team members.
• Tweedy Bird (aka Deb Shoopman), four-year RAGBRAI veteran, also known as the "Housing Goddess" for her uncanny ability in securing overnight hosts for us through a vast network of friends, neighbors or strangers that makes the French Resistance of World War II look like a network of amatures.
• Z-Man or Z-Bird (aka Leigh Zeitz), also a four-year veteran. Z-Man is the IT guru of the team, setting up the Team Flamingo web and blog sites. Affectionately known on the team as "the media hound," Leigh leaves no stone unturned in his quest to be interviewed by every media representative present on RAGBRAI.
• Mother Bird (aka Bev Shaffer) is the support van driver (and mother of M. Lorenz). Bev's been driving the team support vehicle for the past eight years.
• Lazy Bird (aka Chris Klink Zeitz), a second-year rider. He wants to be known as "Lazy" because he likes to "kick back" as he rides his 3-wheel EZ-Bike recumbent. Actually, he is usually way ahead of the front of the pack.
• Kathy Bird (aka Kathy Klink-Zeitz), a first-year driver. She is always there to provide that additional bit of help to make the ride go more smoothly. She sets up tents, take people to the hospital or whatever it takes to make things run.
Things started off to a rocky start:
• loading delays pushed our actual departure from Waterloo-Cedar Falls from 10 am to nearly noon.
• About a hour on the road, the left rear tire exploded, casting shards of tire rubber across the highway.
• We discovered that parts to the jack were missing, preventing efforts to change the rear tire.
• Though only 10 minutes from a truck stop and towing service, we waited over an hour for the AAA towing service to reach us
• When the van came to a stop little was left but a slick band of rubber around the wheel. Our attempts
Wednesday night we spent at the Hoover House. What wonderful Hosts. We had a great time, wish we could have spent more time visiting with them. The riders left about 8:10 am. While Bev and I waited for them in Montezuma we saw a blurr that was Lance Armstrong. Chris thinks Lance has only one speed - fast. One of the Tip Top Team road the last block into town with Lance and group. The rest of the day, many people had stories of riding with Lance. Chris has deserted us in the evenings for Team Roadshow. I met a young man today from Team Pella, he had been in an accident involving 20 bikes, fortunately only 3 (he was one of them) had to go to the hospital. I gave him a ride to the info booth at the main campsite so he could find his time. He was banged up, but walking on his own. All the people in the towns have been so helpful and great. Goodbye for now. Kathy
The Flamingo Team was interviewed by the Des Moines Register - see the written
As Chris head out of Sergeant Bluff he got his picture taken by the Register
go to http://desmoinesregister.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?category=galleries
Go to the picture labeled RAGBRAI begins - this will open another window
called galleries when you get to that click on the yellow arrows until you
get to picture #7 out of 10.
Mica, Leigh, Mike, and Deb had a photo op with the Register see this at
scroll down to - RAGBRAI: Sgt. Bluff to Ida Grove this will open another
window called galleries when you get to that click on the yellow arrow until
you are at 5 of 14.
Chris saw Lance fly bye as did other, but I will let them tell their story.
Life is short enjoy each day!
Not much access on the road, so I have to apologize for not keeping you all up to date. This will only be a quick note from here in Granger, IA. Would you believe that they are offering school with 16 bathrooms AND an Internet Lab.
We are on our 4th day o f this epic journey. Huge torrential rains last night. Fortunately, we stayed in a house last night and only experienced minimal wetness. Today will be another 70 miles but should not be as challenging as yesterday (famous last words.) Began the day with a wonderful burrito at Mama Rafael's (a roadside vendor.)
Saw the ultimate use of technology. A tandem recumbent bike rode past me. It was a father -daughter team. Dad was in front and his 9-year-old daughter was behind him. They were both pumping furiously. He was driving and she was playing "Marbles" on his Blackberry PDA.
Stay dry and we will get more to you soon.
Well, here we are with the first day.
We have packed everything. The Zeitz clan bought a '95 Nissan Pick Up
truck to carry Chris's three-wheel recumbent bike (or at least that is
the excuse I used.)
Kathy did a wonderful job of organizing things and we now have a Team
Flamingo magnetic sign on the side of our truck.
The Knapp-Lorenz clan has filled the Team Flamingo van with bikes and
It is a 4.5 hour drive over to Sergeant Bluff where we will begin.
Kathy is planning to attend a meeting for "first time drivers."
Should be useful.
We found a great little device that combines an ipod holder with a
speaker system. It hangs on my belt and works just great. Will get a
photo up here later.
Well it's time to move out. Keep in touch.
Team Flamingo has been running for 25 years under the leadership of Big Bird (Mike Knapp) and Madam Chair Person - MCP (Mica Lorenz).
This year we will be riding 444 miles across Iowa from Sunday, July 23, through Saturday, July 30. We will begin with the Missouri River in Sergeant Bluffs on Sunday and end with the Mississippi River in Muscatine on Saturday.
You may have noticed in the news that Lance Armstrong will ride with US on Thursday from Newton to Marengo. It is nice to see that after training in the mountains of France for 7 years that he is at last ready to ride the REAL RIDE across Iowa. =-)
We hope to continue this blog as we progress across Iowa. Please read it daily and contribute your comments and questions. We will try to include some photos as we move along.