Saturday, July 22 - On the Road to RAGBRAI
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