December 1, 2019
Today we learned the identities of two key figures who will become stewards of RAGBRAI going forward, and hey, we even met one of them. Without further ado, here is our new director and another old friend whose name may be familiar.
Here's the scoop from this morning's Des Moines Register:
"A veteran organizer of cycling events will take the handlebars of the Register’s Annual Great Bicycle Ride Across Iowa, RAGBRAI announced today. Dieter Drake, 48, of Colorado Springs, Colorado, comes to RAGBRAI after organizing more than 100 rides and cycling races over 15 years. He started in 2004 with a small race in Cambridge, New York, that grew into the annual Tour of the Battenkill, now one of the largest pro-am cycling events in the United States. He has since put together cycling events throughout the country."
"Currently, Drake and his wife, Amy, run their own company, Anthem Sports Tours, organizing bike tours primarily in southern Chile. He will host a final Anthem ride there before moving to Iowa to begin his new duties Dec. 16, he said."
Dieter commented that RAGBRAI is "exactly my speed. It's small towns. It's bicycles. It's beers. It's exactly the kind of crowd I want to be around in cycling." More below about our first conversation with him.
Former Assistant RAGBRAI Director and New Logistics Consultant,
Here's a second whammy from this morning's announcement:
"Also joining the RAGBRAI team as a logistics consultant will be Wes Hall, who was assistant director of RAGBRAI from 2007 to 2013. Anne Lawrie, RAGBRAI’s senior marketing manager, said Hall will work closely with Drake on operational strategy, communication with towns along the route, the timeline for the ride and route planning. Hall, 40, is general manager of the Cedar Point Sports Center in Sandusky, Ohio.
“'My decision to become involved with RAGBRAI the second time around is just an effort to help a tradition that has been going on for 47 years continue,' Hall said. 'I have some historical knowledge of the event and how it operates logistically, and I hope to share that information to help the next ride director continue this great tradition.”'
PBV has been on the road for 26 years, so we know Wes and we worked closely with him during all of his RAGBRAIs. He's a great guy and an excellent resource, who brings a wealth of knowledge and good judgment to the table.
For the complete article on these hires, click on this link:
December 1 DMR Article... RAGBRAI Names New Director
BELOW: New RAGBRAI Ride Director Dieter Drake and Interim Director Anne Lawrie fielded questions from a pretty big crowd gathered this afternoon at Fat Hill Brewery in Mason City, Iowa. The event was sponsored by the North Iowa Touring Club.
RIGHT: Interim Director Anne Lawrie and Pete chatted before the presentation started.
An early morning news release from RAGBRAI contained this list of DMR staff who have seen RAGBRAI through this transition and will continue to lend their assistance for as long as it's needed (we include these descriptions verbatim from the news release):
Anne Lawrie, senior marketing manager who stepped in as interim director, will continue her role as senior marketing manager. Lawrie has been with the Des Moines Register and RAGBRAI in several capacities for the past five years. Prior to that, she drove tourism and event marketing for Hershey’s Chicago and American Girl Place Chicago.
Suzanne Milosevich, RAGBRAI creative director, oversees the RAGBRAI brand. She is the designer behind the annual logos, merchandise, marketing pieces and overall brand strategy. Milosevich has worked on RAGBRAI since 2012 and has been with the Register in various marketing roles for 26 years.
Madison Stegman, merchandise and customer service coordinator. She manages merchandise inventory, order fulfillment and website development, along with registration fulfilment and shipment during peak season. Stegman has been with RAGBRAI for five years.
Nic Lovan, registration coordinator. He handles fulfilment and shipment during peak season. Lovan has been with RAGBRAI for two years.
MASON CITY GATHERING
AT FAT HILL BREWERY
The North Iowa Touring Club hosted today's meeting and extended their invitation to everyone who was interested. Gosh, a lot of people were. To attend, we drove about three and a half hours each way.
When we walked in about 45 minutes early, the first person we met was Dieter, a long-time cyclist and a really personable guy with a lot of interesting ideas and experience. We didn't want to monopolize him at such an event--he had a presentation to make--but we agreed to get together soon.
"I wasn't born in Iowa," Dieter said, smiling. "But I got here as soon as I could." That drew a laugh. He talked about his cycling-event experience and mentioned a few improvements he plans to make for 2020, including working to attract younger riders and promoting RAGBRAI to cyclists outside the US. He also emphasized ride safety and the importance of treating host communities well.
If there was one theme that stood out to us today, Porkers, it was the word "stewardship." Both Anne and Dieter referred to themselves as stewards, emphasizing the uniqueness and the value of our favorite Iowa tradition. It was clear that they take seriously the responsibility of guiding it, caring for it, and keeping it safe. Interestingly, they didn't claim sole responsibility for that. We're paraphrasing here, but Dieter said something like this: "I'm thrilled to be RAGBRAI's new director, but someday after I'm gone, the success of this great ride will not be dependent on me." RAGBRAI depends, he said, on the many communities, partners, charters, vendors, churches, non-profits, the Troopers, the Iowans who live along the routes, the RAGBRAI staff, and of course, the riders.
We can say today that RAGBRAI is in good hands. But we knew that already. As ever, RAGBRAI continues to be in many good hands, including ours. Including yours. We'll each do our parts to keep this amazing, colorful, corny tradition rolling through our state for years to come.
We'll be back soon with more good news, and until then, we remain...
Tammy and Pete