RAGBRAI pre-ride team ready to roll from Rock Valley
by T.J. Juskiewicz, RAGBRAI Director
The Route Inspection Pre-Ride Team arrived in Rock Valley this afternoon preparing for their seven-day journey across the state. Jim Green, Dan McKay and the RAGBRAI Staff (T.J. Juskiewicz, Scott Garner & Andrea Parrott) will ride the entire RAGBRAI route 50 days in advance of the event. Green, the retired RAGBRAI director, and McKay, the State RIDE RIGHT Chairman, were appointed in 2005 to head up the Route Inspection Ride. This year’s ride will encompass 418 miles across the state, from Rock Valley to Guttenberg.
We plan to spend an entire week inspecting the route and meeting with the local RIDE RIGHT Committees, informing them what to do with the information gleaned from the inspection ride. They also will be looking at traffic patterns since they will be riding the route on the same day of the week that RAGBRAI will ride on later this summer.
Follow the pre-ride team along the route all week with Twitter updates and pictures at DesMoinesRegister.com/trackRAGRBAI.
A big thanks to Rich Ketcham of Geobike for devising the high-tech GPS tracking system for the pre-ride. Rich will also be joining the Route Inspection Riders for the week of riding. Also joining us again this year is Mark Wyatt, Executive Director of the Iowa Bicycle Coalition, and his wife Jen. Last, but not least, thanks to Judy Green, Helen DeZeeuw and Jack Stubbe for provided the necessary support and encouragement to help the team out!
All members of the team have served in some official RAGBRAI or Iowa Bicycle Coalition capacity (Served as Overnight Host Chair, Crew Member, Retired RAGBRAI Director, etc)
Here is a list of the week-long riders.
Andrea Parrott (Des Moines)
Becky McKay (Knoxville)
Bill Versluis (Independence)
Brian Brinkema (Independence)
Cindy Connolly (Council Bluffs)
Craig Cooper (Grinnell)
Dan McKay (Knoxville)
Dan Roth (Iowa City)
Gwyn Garner (Texas)
Helen DeZeeuw (Rock Valley)
Jack Stubbe (George)
Jen Wyatt (Iowa City)
Jim Green (Sun Valley Lake)
Joe Connolly (Council Bluffs)
Judy Green (Sun Valley Lake)
Lyle DeZeeuw (Rock Valley)
Mark Wyatt (Iowa City)
Matt Phippen (Vinton)
Randy Darryl Hecht (Chicago, IL)
Rich Ketcham (Ames)
Scott Garner (Des Moines)
TJ Juskiewicz (Ankeny)
Vern Willey (Altoona)
Vicky Willey (Altoona)
The team met Saturday evening with the local Rock Valley RIDE RIGHT Committee to discuss Sunday’s pre-ride and safety concerns in their community. For the past several years, the Ride Inspection Team has been joined daily on their trek by the local committee members as well as local bike club members and bike shop owners that are willing to help. The Rock Valley and Okoboji RAGBRAI Committees are expecting a few cyclists to join the group riding to Okoboji in the morning.
Rock Valley will serve as the first overnight community on RAGBRAI XLII and the community is busy getting ready for the event. This is the first time for Rock Valley as an overnight host and this year is shaping up to be a great start for RAGBRAI.
Many of the events will take place near the RAGBRAI Expo area (Rock Valley Community Schools) and the downtown (which is located just a few blocks away from the Expo). The expo, downtown, churches and restaurants will all have food ready for hungry RAGBRAIers!
Here are a few of the interesting places to check out during your visit to Rock Valley:
Rivers Bend was created for camping, fishing, hiking, bicycling, and canoeing. Recreational Amenities include a sand beach with swimming pond, an award-winning trail system, playground, picnic tables and fire rings, a sand volleyball court, basketball courts, and two fishing ponds. The campground also recently added a 12-hole rotary disc golf course. The City of Rock Valley encourages riders to visit and enjoy this beautiful campground!
Rock Valley Golf Club
The Rock Valley golf course offers a fun and challenging 9-hole layout. The course provides a challenge, but it is also suitable for beginners. The Rock Valley Golf Club Amenities include a restaurant and sports lounge, rental clubs, and beverage carts. For information on fees, go online to www.rockvalleygolfclub.com or call 712-476-2427.
Rock Valley Public Swimming Pool
The Rock Valley Public Swimming Pool is conveniently located in the center of the city. The pool provides lockers upon request and restrooms with showers and changing areas. The pool is also located next to a park that provides shade, picnic tables, and grills.
Rock Valley Parks
Rock Valley is home to five beautiful parks equipped with playgrounds, shelters, and basketball courts. The parks are Bicentennial Park, Corner Park, City Park, Sports Complex and Water Tower Park.
Rock Valley will have a great line-up of Entertainment for RAGBRAIers of all ages to enjoy:
Family Area at St. Mary’s Catholic Church from 2 p.m. to 10 p.m.
Funtime Funktions is an entertainment agency located in Saint Paul, Minnesota. They have the widest selection of entertainers and acts in the Midwest, including face painters, balloon twisters, magicians, clowns, stilt walkers, jugglers, caricaturists, and fire dancers. The group also performs several unique acts, such as aerialists, human marionettes, contortionists, body balancers, and more!
Phil Baker, a children’s entertainer and musician, will be performing from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Phil Baker has been educating and entertaining people for 25 years. He has played guitar, sung, and produced shows all throughout the United States and as far away as Australia and Costa Rica. He has the infectious ability to connect with an audience through songs and activities and leaves the audience with the impression that they can help make the world a better place.
Jeff Fox & the Man on the Wall
Jeff Fox & the Man on the Wall feature a dynamic duo of drums and guitar. The group has been together for four years. Although they are based out of Fayetteville, Arizona, they play shows from Kansas City to Tulsa, down to Little Rock, and everywhere in between. They play a wide variety of music, including hits from the 60’s through the present. The mission of the Man on the Wall is to raise money to help feed needy children in the northwest Arkansas area. They will be performing from 5:30 p.m. to 7:45 p.m.
Pop Rocks is a high-energy band that plays the biggest dance party hits to encourage people to fill the floor. The group has been performing across the Midwest since 2006. Pop Rocks brings the best of today’s hottest hits, 80’s rock, throwback hip-hop, and timeless classics. The band combines the music of a DJ, the theatrics of a Broadway musical, and the live energy of an Arena Rock extravaganza. The shows include over 45 costume changes and 100+ songs to produce a night of entertainment that you won’t forget! The group has four lead vocalists, and they perform songs for a variety of ages. Pop Rocks will be performing from 8:30 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. and then again from 10:30 p.m. to midnight.
Now in its 16th Year, the RAGBRAI Expo has grown from its humble beginnings to being the largest bicycle expo in the Midwest. Hosted by Rock Valley at the Rock Valley Community School grounds on Saturday, July 19 from noon – 9 pm, the Expo, at its essence, provides an opportunity for last minute repairs and equipment purchases before the pilgrimage across Iowa. However, the RAGBRAI Expo is so much more. Anchored by our 10 official bike shops and the RAGBRAI Information and Merchandise trailers and the HUGE RAGBRAI Outlet, the Expo provides a menagerie of bicycle industry and health related exhibitors.
The 2014 edition of the RAGBRAI Expo will feature an expanded line-up of travelling exhibitors. These bicycle and bicycle component/accessory manufactures will give registered riders the opportunity to test their products throughout the week. 2014 travelling exhibitors include: Trek, Specialized, Giant, Bianchi, Transitions Adaptive Sunwear and many, many more! Be sure to arrive early as demo reservations fill up quickly.
If you need it for RAGBRAI, or if you just want it for RAGBRAI, you’ll find it at the RAGBRAI Expo. And remember, money may not buy happiness, but it can buy new and fun cycling gear. What else is there?
We look forward to seeing you in Rock Valley!
Route Inspection Pre-Ride (June 1-7, 2014)
For those that want to ride for a day and help with the inspection, a schedule is listed below. You have to provide your own transportation back to the starting location and battle Dan and Joe when there is only two slices of pie left at the diner or the VFW!
RAGBRAI Route Inspection Pre-Ride Schedule
Sunday, June 1
Monday, June 2
Tuesday, June 3
Wednesday, June 4
Thursday, June 5
Friday, June 6
Saturday, June 7
Be sure to tune in each day for the daily updates and photos from the route inspection ride on the RAGBRAI web site www.ragbrai.com . You can also follow the pre-ride adventure and learn interesting tidbits about the route by following on FACEBOOK Facebook.com/RAGBRAI or on TWITTER by following @RAGBRAI_IOWAI or @TJRAGBRAI.
Downtown Rock Valley. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Des Moines Register)