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The History of Teamartini
Over the years, we have been many faces. We (Damian, Laurie, Heidi and Rick) started out in 1992 as Team Lighten Up, Jesus! It's Not a Race Dammit! This was our inaugural year as a full team. We started without a name, but it became readily apparent that for some this was not a ride, but a race. We foolishly were getting up early (rookies, we know) and people just wanted to hammer by us and evilly shout "On your left, pokey!" And from those nice souls our team name was born. In 1993, we became Team Clue - Get One. It didn't take long to figure out that this name fit perfectly. Helen, and Jenny (the Moshak twins), Bob (the Moshak lover) and Chris (the littlest Entringer) joined us for the ride. In the offseason, we watched too much of the movie Heathers and that turned us into Team Heathers. Hell, everybody loves their dead gay sons. Jenny, Helen and Bob did not return that year. In 1995, we replaced our departed members with Kris and this older couple and we changed our name to Team Bite Me. Why? So when people asked us who we were we could tell them with a straight face and not feel bad about it. This was our first year with stickers (appropriated from employers somewhere in this great country). Rick had to leave early because he was in a wedding. He even mohawked his hair to get out of it, but that was to no avail.
That brings us to Team Martini in 1996. Laurie came up with this name about one week before the start of the ride (it's still not a race). We found that stickering was the best way to publish your group. There was nothing too sacred that didn't have a little memento from us. The more honored and/or revered object the better. Tom Arnold would be a perfect example. We also found that using memberships in national organizations will get you places to stay and warm showers. Thank you Knights of Columbus. We did lose Kris and the older couple but we did pick up Bryan.
Then came this web site and people were remembering us. They kindly signed out guest book, sent us e-mail and thought pure thoughts about us. So in spring of 1997 we decided that we needed to keep the Martini in the name, and thanks to that little man from Minneapolis, The Team Formerly Known as Martini was born. Linda, formerly of the Dubuque Bike Club, joined the group after having fun with us last year. Her addition was enhanced even more when she volunteered her Jeep to become the support vehicle. Another big plus was the completion of the Entringer trilogy as Steve joined the group. On the sadder side, Damian couldn't make the ride because of work (once again whitey was holding us back), but we did keep his memory alive. At least once a day we would mention his name and drink a beer in his honor. Two Nebraska boys, Chris and Kevin, did join us for the first day and we're hoping that our recruitment worked in getting them to become permanent members.
After that year, we decided that Team Martini was the name we were staying with for life. We had the full team this year plus one new addition, Eric. How well did he fit in? He was guzzling beers and shouting "cocksucker" within hours of being around us. An extra bonus: He can fix bikes really, really fast. There was another brush with whitey as both Chris and Eric could only bike for the last two days because of corporate suppression. The one change you may have noticed was the changing of the spelling of the team name to Teamartini. We don't need two stinking "M"s.
We lost Eric in 1999. Something to do with whitey in small town Nebraska suppressing him. Either that or he had to buy another bike to add to his collection. Near the end of the ride we tried to make some transactions: a trade for a member of another team (with concessions) and a free agent pick-up. The trade never materialized.
In 2000, The Team Remains the Same. Not since the beginning of the team, has the starting group been the same as the ending group of the previous year. Steve used his corporate resources to print us up some excellent stickers (regular and reflective) and Laurie used her connections to get our shirts (fifth in a series) done real cheap. The group did have a reduction mid-week as Damian had to leave for outdoor marine training, Linda had to go to a whitey suppression project in Colorado and Chris had to witness two people getting suckered into that marriage thing.
Losses and gains were the rule for 2001. Damian and Linda were recruited by top-secret organizations and were forbidden from coming on the ride. Bryan decided to go self-contained and fully intoxicated so we counted him as MIA. Their replacements were Dave, Barb, Michelle and Ray. Once again Chris had to leave early and Ray also left the group once he figured out that we don't ever get into a town before 6:00 p.m.
In 2002, Rick's longtime desire to bike in Ireland comes to fruition. Laurie, Damian, Heidi, Mary and Ben (the last two are Rick's sister and her husband) join him. The country is absolute beautiful and rivals Iowa for hospitality and ruralness. Rick got very sick and only lasted four days on the bike, while Laurie, Damian and Heidi completed the whole trip. Mary and Ben used the trip as their second honeymoon in two months. Next year it's back to the midwest.
The promise of the big return of the team was thwarted when Whitey and other commitments eroded the group down to just Laurie and Rick. Due to another hospital stay (either God hates Rick - a strong possibility - or his claim of "Dead by 40" will come true), only Laurie got to get some bike mileage in. Her VW Beetle was renamed the SagBug and it gets around quite nicely. The duo said they will do whatever it takes to get the rest of the team on board for 2004.
Laurie and Rick's threats seemed to work as they were joined by Heidi, Steve, Chris, Michelle and Barb. Chris and Michelle were kiddy-loopers due to whitey, but at least they found a way to get in on some of the fun. In an attempt to understand Rick's infatuation with spending some summertime in the hospital, Damian decided to break his leg instead of biking. At the end of the ride, the team voted Barb as Martini MVP. This means she is now required to be the driver for the group until the end of time.
By the time 2005 rolled in, Barb decided to drive to New York and let her liver heal itself and Heidi was having some changes on a different internal part, so the team picked up Dave to do the driving duties and Michael to take over Heidi's drinking and biking duties (North Dakota is just like Seattle). Sandy finally gave into Laurie's pressure and became a Martini, if only for a mid-week kiddy loop. Steve, Laurie and Rick made it for the entire week and whitey-oppressed Chris got in the first half of the week.
The smallest team ever took to the road in 2006. It was just Rick. It was going to be Rick and Michelle (oh, how those names sound well together) but circumstances had other ideas. This was to be know as U.S. Martini's, Team of One.
In 2007 the team once again took to the fine roads of Ireland. This time it was a self-contained affair as Mary and Ben would not be joining them. Linda rejoined the team after a 7-year hiatus and Damian after a 5-year lapse. Michelle and Linda had to return to Whiteyland after one week, but the other four made it for the whole trip. No one came close to dying this time, even if the coughs the boys had sounded like they were trying to expel a lung. Look for most of this ensemble back on the Iowa roads next year.
The team was back to just Rick in 2008. It was his first truly self-contained ride and it turned out well (thanks to bed hook-ups throughout the trip). The future of the team actually being a team is in question.
In 2009, Rick did the first couple of days self-contained and then headed out to Colorado to ride the Rockies with Steve. It was dubbed RASBRAC (Rick and Steve's Bike Ride Around Colorado).
The big news was that in 2010 team reformed. It was Rick, Steve, Heidi and Laurie doing the full ride together for the first time since 2004. It started with picking Heidi up at the airport just before MVP Barb's wedding. While she wouldn't be our driver, we found a way to keep her spirit alive by having her garter make the trip. Rick had to use all of his cunning to get it. Also, the rest of the guys trying to get it were really slow.
In 2011, we had largest team in recent history. The four from last year were joined by Michael (after a six-year hiatus), Drew (hooked on the ride after kiddie-looping last year), Chad and Andy (both first-timers). We're hoping to keep this group alive for the foreseeable future. Chad was named team MVP for his awesome hook-ups.
In 2012, we lost Mike, Andy, Heidi and Steve (almost permanently!). Drew's wife Erica decided to kiddy-loop with her husband, and an old college friend Chris and his wife Kim got their feet wet this year. We're hoping that they will be long time Martinis! Bryan made it back to the team and has rightfully indoctrinated his son into the team. He's kiddy-looping now (he is a kid), but in the future we look for him to be full-time.
In 2013, we found out that Kim and Chris were deeply invested. They upgraded their camper, vehicle and alcohol tolerance and were ready for the long haul. They also bribed John Wayne Hayes (son of another old college friend) to be our driver. It took him less than a day to fit in and become one of the best drivers we've ever had. Drew and Erica decided to create one of those damn Wiener kids and didn't make it.
In 2014, we lost driver extrodinaire John Wayne so Chris recruited his cousin James to take over. After getting a taste of us staying at his house a couple of years back, Chris and Kim's son Michael became a full-time member. Laurie did have to end early to make it Maude's birthday party in Chicago. We're hoping that she didn't like the gift and never invites Laurie back.
In 2015 the team was bigger than ever. Laurie, Rick, Chris, Kim and Michael were joined by Christopher and Justin as full-time members. Chad, Drew, Bryan and Jayden got some miles in during the first half of the week. And for the first time, we added a youth group which included Grant, Tomas (henceforth known as Sammy Schlect) and Riley.
Our 25th year as a team was 2016. Laurie, Rick, Heidi, Steve, Chris, Kim, Michael, Justin, Grant, and Claire (rookie) went the entire week; Christopher, Chad, Drew, Bryan, Jayden, Schlect (Tomas), Lurch (Michael), Andy, Petey (yet another Michael), and Adam (The Beav) were kiddy-looping on different stages; and Riley was brought in at the last moment to be support. All in all, the largest group we've ever had. A fine crew to celebrate a quarter century.
In 2017, our crew was without Christopher E, Drew, Schlect, Lurch, Andy, The Beav, Bryan, and Jayden, but we did add Bill. Then in 2018, we lost Steve and Claire, but picked up Bill's daughter Willa and the Skalberg family was all back.
More new blood was added in 2019 when Rick's good friend's oldest daughter, Bethany, and her husband, Kevin, joined the team. Their desire to drink snooty beer made them a perfect fit for the team. On a sad note, Laurie and Heidi were being oppressed and had to bow out. We also found out that getting your identity stolen while on RAGBRAI sucks ass.
Nobody really wants to remember 2020, but with RAGBRAI shut down for the summer due to COVID, Laurie, Kim, Chris, and Rick decided to create FriendBRAM. The four of them loaded up the team bus and biked along the Root River Trail in Minnesota.
RAGBRAI returned in 2021 and so did we. How could we miss, it was our 30th year as a team? We did only go halfway though. Bethany, Kevin, and Claire exited, while Laurie, Kim, Chris, and Rick opted to go back up to Minnesota and do another FriendBRAM.
For the first time in a very long time, we had a member do every mile. Bethany was the 2022 team champion. Those doing fewer miles than her that year were: Bill, Chris, Rick, Laurie, Justin, and Kim.
In 2023 we beefed up to double-digits. Everyone from the previous year came back; Heidi, Kevin, and Christopher E returned; Bill's other daughter, Ellen, joined the team; Fred joined in (and we're sure he's going to be a permanent fixture soon); Chad found time for a day; and two of Bethany's friends also did a day with us (and we think we can recruit them too).