Team Grinnell Group shot

Team Grinnell takes on RAGBRAI for fifth year in a row

August 8, 2017 — In the course of a weeklong ride that spans some 450 miles, cyclists burn a lot of calories. It’s why riders who’ve done RAGBRAI (The Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa) have their favorite food vendors along the way. For Team Grinnell – a group of Grinnell College alumni, spouses, partners, friends, and students – special food favorites include Mr. Pork Chop, homemade Iowa brats, and Amish pies and ice cream.

“The pancake vendors, the church spaghetti suppers, the bands and the bake sales — it’s like a party and a jamboree in every town,” explains Andrea Martin ’96, who has ridden RAGBRAI three previous times and was this year’s co-leader for Team Grinnell, assisting Molly Campe ’96, from the Office of Development and Alumni Relations.

For the past five years, the college has partnered with Grinnell’s local bike shop, Bikes to You, to sponsor the group on the annual July ride. “We all camp together and the shop hauls our stuff from town to town, provides us with maps, sets up tents, and drives us from Grinnell to the starting town and back to Grinnell when the ride is over,” explains Martin.

Some 60 people typically ride with Team Grinnell, which is recognizable by their matching jerseys. Other Grinnellians who ride enjoy stopping by the Team Grinnell tent, which is set up each day by Campe in a meet-up town and stocked with snacks, cool drinks, and chairs. The group also gathers for a mid-week banquet – this year’s was in Clear Lake, Iowa – where all Grinnellians are welcome. “A lot of our alumni want to return to Iowa and what better way than to ride across the state,” says Campe. “It’s always an interesting mix of quirky, laid-back alumni, all ages and skill levels. Our team really enjoys biking, getting to know each other, and enjoying small-town Iowa.”

Bill Morain ’64 & Molly Campe ’96
   Bill Morain ’64 & Molly Campe ’96

Bill Morain ’64, has ridden the past five years with Team Grinnell and has participated in RAGBRAI for 10 years. “RAGBRAI is Iowa’s best party but the things you get to see and do by yourself are some of the best,” says the retired Dartmouth professor of plastic surgery. “My preference is to get up at 4:30 a.m., roll up my sleeping bag and go. It’s pitch black and on the road ahead of you it looks like a nest of red fireflies. Those are lights on bikes. You’re traveling east each morning and you get to watch the sun come up.”

Kyle DiDomenico and Claire Dooms, both ’10

 Kyle DiDomenico ’10 & Claire Dooms ’10

Claire Dooms and Kyle DiDomenico, both ’10, met as first-years at Grinnell (they lived across the hall from one another in Read) and were married this past July on campus. They put off their honeymoon in order to ride RAGBRAI; it’s Claire’s sixth time and Kyle’s fourth, and their second year with Team Grinnell.

“We’d seen the Team Grinnell jerseys in the past and we went to the banquet, but last year was our first time going with the team,” says Kyle. “It’s a great way to get to know alums from all walks of life and all decades, and to learn their stories and share in the Grinnell experience.”

Though the couple is usually well-prepared for RAGBRAI’s heat, hills, and daily mileage, their wedding prep and the actual wedding, which was held in front of Read Hall, took away from training time this year. “We’re counting on our experience to get us through,” says Kyle, smiling. “Plus it’s the third shortest and flattest RAGBRAI yet.”

Join the Grinnell College RAGBRAI team facebook group to learn more.

Anne Stein ’84

Team Grinnell RAGBRAI 2017 Slideshow

Grinnell College emblem attached to a bike helmet
Grinnell College emblem attached to a bike helmet