CLEAR LAKE, Iowa -
Hundreds of teams ride RAGBRAI each year. The real story is what happens behind the scenes and on the service road.
When Team Bat
realized they didn't have someone to drive their bus two weeks before they were supposed to ride RAGBRAI, they knew who to turn to.
"They noticed that I drive a school bus, and they said 'How would you like to drive a bus for RAGBRAI?" said Michelle Doland. "And I said 'I would be honored.'"
Team Bat has been riding together for years. They are on their third bus, owned in parts by members of the team
"I have multiple jobs and I am working nonstop," said Doland. "So RAGBRAI is like my vacation."
Vacation might be a stretch. Doland takes care of a lot of the behind the scenes work, even if she's not on a bike. She gets up with the bikers every morning, and plans out the day. She then drives with the rest of the vehicles to the next town's location. In between there, she will stop for any food or personal items any of the bikers need.
Plus, she's the shuttle for anyone who doesn't ride.
Once in the town, she sends out a message to let everyone know where the bus is and where they will set up camp.
"When I get to the meeting town I'll clean up, and make sure there's nothing that's going to tip over, fall off, make a mess," said Doland.
She says she definitely considers herself a 'Team Mom', looking out for the members of Team Bat.
But that also brings the familial bonds of being a 'Team Mom', because it's obvious Doland is a part of a big family.
"It makes me feel really good, because my daughters are older now and they're gone and this is a lot of fun," said Doland. She loves being called the 'Team Mom'.
It's obvious Doland is an important part of the RAGBRAI experience. Do you think they could do it without her?
<span style="font-family: Calibri, Helvetica, sans-serif, EmojiFont, " apple="" color="" emoji",="" "segoe="" ui="" notocoloremoji,="" symbol",="" "android="" emojisymbols;"="">"No," members say. "Wouldn't even be possible."