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2019 TOMRV Report

A big thanks to all of you riders for making TOMRV a great tour this year! Sunny to partly cloudy skies, with a minimum of light showers on Sunday made riding enjoyable to everyone.

The new Dale Gardner Veterans Memorial Bridge and causeway made for a pleasant Sabula to Savanna Mississippi river crossing for riders on Saturday.   

Here are some numbers for the tour. Our final rider count was 952. 20% if our riders were women. We need more women - please bring a friend or  two next year.  Most riders were from Iowa and Illinois, although 15 other states were represented.  Numbers aside, I hope all of you experienced the joy of a long open road, the interest of seeing what's over the next hill, and the satisfaction of reaching a challenging goal.


Thank you to our many TOMRV volunteers for making this year's ride a big success, managing the packet pickup and staffing the sag stops. Many have ridden TOMRV themselves and they know and love the experience the same way you do. Also, thank you to the townspeople who support us and put up with us each year.

Next year's tour will be June 13-14, 2020 and registration will open on December 1, 2019. Have a great riding summer and remember us for next year. Most new riders come with friends who have ridden before, so tell your riding friends about the tour. That makes the event happen in the coming years.

On a personal note, this was my first year as TOMRV Ride Director.   I had much to learn to help our club and volunteers put on a successful event.  A big thank you goes to previous director, Doug Truesdell.  Doug provided me with copious amounts of information to use and was a source of many answers to my never-ending questions.  It was nice to see Doug riding TOMRV this year with his daughters and being able to simply enjoy the ride.
See you in 2020 for TOMRV 43!
Cindy Bottrell
TOMRV Coordinator



You may decide to change the particulars of your registration. This is usually easy to do. Here are some common change requests, and how to get them done.

To cancel your registration, email to with your request.  

Cancellations will be processed according to the following dates.  December 1-March 15: 75% refund of total registration  minus a $10.00 processing fee. March 16-April 30: 50% refund of total registration minus a $10.00 processing fee.  May 1 and later: 0% refund.

Items such as jerseys, patches, or other merchandise ordered, are subject to the refund rate.

Room refunds are available up to the ride day if you email, because we will then sell the room to another rider.

Change your Clarke room request - Email to with your request, and we will work out your change. This will depend on availability of your desired room change.

Change your start from Bettendorf to Goose Lake, or vice versa - you can do this by emailing to

You can also change your decision at packet pickup on Friday evening before the ride. There will be a color coded luggage tag, and you can swap your tag for the other color.
Some riders decide on Saturday evening to finish in Goose Lake after riding up from Bettendorf. To do this, stop at the tables in front of the atrium at Clarke and request a Goose Lake luggage tag.

Add a jersey or other merchandise to your existing registration - contact to learn if item is still available..

Additional banquet tickets for family and friends - You can purchase extra banquet tickets as part of your registration, at the tables in the Atrium at Clarke, or at the door to the banquet.


In past years, Clarke University provided access to air-conditioned suites that housed 6-8 riders. 
The summer enrollments at Clarke have increased and they now have students using  those suites.  A good situation for them, but not so nice for us. As a result, they are not available to us, until we hear otherwise.  

The Shuttle

We field more riders than Clarke University can house, so we run a free shuttle between Clarke and many Dubuque motels. The shuttles will leave Clarke right on the half hour Saturday afternoon and evening, and on Sunday morning.


On the other end of accommodations is tent camping. You can tent camp a part or your entire stay at TOMRV. There is tent camping for no charge on the grounds at Scott Community College and at Goose Lake on Friday before the ride. This is a low impact quiet affair. If you use this, be sure to respect the property and leave your site clean.

On Saturday there is also camping on the soccer field at Clarke, and there is a charge for this. You are entitled to use the dormitory showers as a camper, and a towel is provided.

The preferred camping area, one with restrooms available, and totally away from street noise, is the soccer field behind the tennis courts, a nice flat watered and carefully mowed area. Plus on Sunday morning, you walk past the bike lockup to get to the road.

The banquet

When you ask a TOMRV rider about the ride, you will probably hear about the banquet. This is a truly wonderful dinner after a hard day on the road. There are dozens of delicious foods to choose from and all that you will want to eat. The banquet starts at 4 p.m. and runs until 8:30 p.m. So you can plan when to drop in. Your wristband admits you to the banquet. If you have non-riding friends, you may buy extra banquet tickets during registration,  in the atrium at Clarke on Saturday afternoon, or at the door.

The banquet will include vegan fare as well as traditional. The serving dishes will be marked for you.

Motels on Friday evening

If you are driving in on Friday evening, you will need a place to stay overnight. There are many motels available in the Bettendorf area, and there is tent camping space available at Scott Community College.

Every year people ask which is the closest motel to the ride start. You can see from the map that it is a close call, but the closest motel by perhaps a minute driving time is the Hilton Garden Inn on Middle road, listed on that home page link. You can stay at the Holiday Inn in LeClaire. This is on the route at 8.3 miles, so you might arrange to leave your car at the motel over the weekend and have no driving to the start at all.

If you are starting from Goose Lake, you can get a motel in nearby Maquoketa Iowa, or you can stay in Bettendorf or Davenport and drive up to Goose Lake on Saturday morning. The most convenient motels for this option are on US 61 to the North of Davenport.

What clothing to bring

Spring in the Midwest is a variable time, sometimes warm, sometimes hot, and sometimes cold. Although warm to hot is most common, in 2006 we had temps in the 40s with strong headwind and rain on Saturday morning. It was foolhardy to ride without good protection for cold and rain.

Weather forecasts get better each year, but are still not perfect. In 2016 the weather on Saturday night and Sunday morning was 20 degrees colder than the Friday forecast. So you want to bring clothing for a range of conditions. When you actually start to ride, you can select what you will need.

Eat on the ride

A tour the length of TOMRV has a fundamental difference from rides of lesser distance: your body does not carry enough readily available energy to complete the ride, and eating along the route is necessary to avoid bonking. This means eating at each rest stop, and sometimes on the road between stops.

Your body gets power from three sources in roughly this order

Fat metabolism, at a rate up to 200-300 calories per hour
Carbohydrates and proteins being digested from what you are eating
Glycogen stored in you body. There is typically 1,500 to 2,000 calories of glycogen energy in a rested person's body
See the chart below to get an idea how much energy you will use on TOMRV. You can see that you will use energy much faster than 200 calories an hour (energy source #1 - fat), so your body will use energy source 2 (food you digest on the ride) as well. This preserves energy source 3 (glycogen).

The problem comes if you fail to eat enough along the route, and use up all of your glycogen. This is fondly known as bonking, which feels a lot like dying. A 100 mile ride is easily long enough for this to happen. So eat plenty along the route. We are giving away food at every stop, all of it just the kind that you need. So eat and enjoy the ride.

Calories Burned During Exercise

Activity (1 hour) 130 lbs 155 lbs 190 lbs
Bicycling, 10-11.9mph, light effort 354 422 518
Bicycling, 12-13.9mph, moderate effort 472 563 690
Bicycling, 14-15.9mph, vigorous effort 590 704 863
Bicycling, 16-19mph, very fast, racing 708 844 1035

Drink on the ride

Along with eating enough, you must drink enough. When the temperature goes up, your body can lose one to two quarts an hour while riding. While being two quarts down is not dangerous, it materially reduces your ride speed. Your blood becomes thicker and circulates more slowly, forcing you to ride slower. Dehydration also makes you susceptible to leg cramps.

You will want to drink well at stops, especially as the temperature gets high. You will also want to carry water with you to drink between the stops.

What if I am unable to finish?

TOMRV riders are a tough lot, and few are willing to quit even when the going is tough. If you have adequate clothing, food and water, you will finish unless a health or bike catastrophe occurs.

But every year a few riders have to bag it, generally due to real health concerns. Riders should call 911 if they have a health issue. If able to ride, try to ride to the nearest TOMRV rest stop and talk to a volunteer. A ride may or may not be available, but you can call a friend or relative and have a place to wait for them.  We have some volunteers driving the route, but we do not have a "sweep" at the end of the ride to pick up riders.  
Note: it is important that all riders have a Plan B - family or friends who can be contacted in the case that the rider cannot  complete the ride. 

Route safety

We all know that cycle touring is a hazardous sport. An advantage of TOMRV is that the route is carefully selected and checked for safety each year. We are committed to a safe tour. We check each year for road construction, drive the route each year, and post warning signs where we find a foreseeable hazard.

That said, we cannot guarantee that you will not encounter hazards on the road. You must be alert and cautious when vehicles are around, and must ride within the road conditions. You are responsible for your safety on the tour.

I want to mention particular hazards in an organized tour that are not generally present when you ride alone or with a couple friends. They are both in descents. The first is overtaking slower riders and not being able to get around safely. You may be a criterium rider, but the people in front of you are not. You start to pass, but a car comes up around the curve ahead. A-a-a-i-i-i!

The second is riding too fast on a descent on a secondary road. These roads are former wagon paths with crown grading and chip seal. They have not been engineered. Commonly the lowest turn is the sharpest one. Resist the urge to descend fast on these curving roads. It might work at home because you know the roads at home, but the roads on the tour are probably not that familiar to you. Keep your speed in control until you can see the run- out at the bottom of the descent.

Riding responsibly

This is my plea to you the rider to ride responsibly. There is a tendency for riders to engage in riding practices on a large group ride where cyclists impede traffic on the more heavily traveled roads. This results in angry motorists who may then engage in rude or aggressive driving, stop and confront riders, or call the county sheriff.

There is bound to be some inconvenience to the daily users of the roads, but some rider practices abuse the right to the road and make a real problem.

Riding multiple abreast - riders enjoy talking while riding, leading them to ride abreast. State laws ban this practice when it impedes traffic. When riding abreast, keep aware of traffic behind and in front, and go single file whenever necessary to maintain vehicular flow.
Echelon riding - a practice where in a side-wind riders pace to the left of the bicycle in front. This brings each bike in the line further into the lane. Keep pace lines short in this situation.
Double pace lines - where cyclists ride two abreast in a pace line. Since there is no way to move into single file, it is not a viable riding style for TOMRV.
Long pace lines where slower cyclists are continuously being passed. Although no individual rider is impeding traffic for long, the line as a whole does. Break long lines into short ones.
These riding practices come from a belief in the cyclists that because of the tour, they have extra privileges on the road. This is most emphatically not the case. We share the roads with all users as a common. State laws allow cyclists to share the roads with the requirement that they ride toward the right and don't unduly impede traffic. The sheriffs in each county regulate this use. If they decide we cannot operate a safe tour, they can stop the tour for good.