Friday, November 12, 2010

Trans Iowa V7 Update #4

Who You Gonna Call? (Hint: NOT Ghostbusters!)

Along the same vein as my last two updates, I am going to continue on with my discussion of "support" in the case of Trans Iowa. In this post, I am going to detail a specific type of support you should have!

Make A Plan: Basically, your "support" will entail how you plan to get your carcass off course in case you can not finish, don't want to go on, or whatever. Yeah, yeah.....You say you intend on finishing "no matter what", or you say, "I am not even going to think about not finishing", or what have you. Power of positive thinking and all. Yada, yada, yada..........

Listen up folks. You do know that very few people ever finish this event, right? And that means most of you will not finish it. (Sorry to be a "Negative Nancy" here, but I am trying to make a point). You don't know who will be in that elite number, if anyone does finish. (The wild card of weather will have a say in this) So, here is the likely scenario you all will be facing come the day of the event.....

The first checkpoint isn't but 50 miles or so from Grinnell, as the course goes, closer as the crow flies. So, if you bail out there, it is a relatively "easy" ride back, and I would not be surprised if almost everyone that gets in could ride this loop. However; here is the deal: After Checkpoint #1, you will be getting further and further away from Grinnell, and at Checkpoint #2, you'll be as far away as you can get on the course from Grinnell as you can get, approximately 170 miles into the event.

Did you get that? That means if you bail at Checkpoint #2, and you have no one to get you, you will have about as far to get back to Grinnell as it would take you to get back by running the course anyway. If you can go no further by bicycle, you probably will be sitting there a long time, cold, alone, and with zero help. Yep! We won't bail you out. Yer on yer own! Just like we tell you up front. This is very real folks, please take this quite seriously. Oh yeah......did I mention that Checkpoint #2 is at the intersection of a gravel road and a B Maintenance road? Yeah. The middle of nowhere.....

 I said, "Make A Plan!": So, if you were a smart cookie, you would have a friend, relative, or someone along, hanging out in Grinnell to bail your carcass out if you happen to hit the wall, have a bad mechanical, run out of food or water, (or both), and bonk, or whatever, and need assistance. You would have a working cell phone to call them. You would have that cell phone to call me to tell me you are out, and I could possibly give some driving directions to someone to go get you in the middle of some God forsaken Iowa country road.

I would suggest you make that "bail out plan" today. You can deny all you want to that it is necessary, or the idea is not worth considering due to its "negative nature". But.......you might be reconsidering your thoughts of independance in the middle of the night, when you are cold, shivering, and can not go on. 

Think about that seriously.

13 comments:

d.p. said...

And there's stuff your support crew might be interested in in the Grinnell area. Gracious hosts, Sheryl Parmley and crew at the chamber http://www.grinnellchamber.org/go.cfm

Hopefully Sheryl can join us again at the meet and greet.

Reflector Collector said...

Please emphasize that you are on your own along with the idea that having someone waiting in standby means somewhere else other than leap-frogging riders on the course.

It's important to have your backup/bailout plan in place, but it should be exactly that, a rescue. Not some circling mother-hen-type person(s) meeting riders at various points along the route to make certain you are okay. To me, that sounds a little too much like support.

Enjoy the very lonely feeling and isolation out there, oh so very alone suffering on Iowa gravel.

MG said...

that is no joke either about having someone ready to bail your butt out. while i always go in with no intention of quitting, mother nature's thrown me the bone in 2/3s of my attempts so far. my sole success has been in 2009, and let me tell you, each failure has made those awesome 27 hours in '09 even sweeter.

So go in fully ready to go the distance, but know full well you've gotta' be prepared with someone willing to make a potentially long drive to get your wet and smelly butt out in the middle of nowhere... and it may not be easy to find you either!

but that's all part of the T.I. experience, and most who've been through it wouldn't trade it for the world.

cheers,
mg

Lance Howad Andre said...

To back up what Guitar Ted just said, nobody will finish... I'm racing again this year, and every year i've attempted nobody has finished the entire route (three years running, 100%).
My motto for this year will not be "finish no matter what"... It will now be "no matter what I will be the last one to call SAG."

Reflector Collector said...

Lance, you are missing the key bit of superstition information surrounding the TransIowa: Odd Years = Good Years.
-Hoping to achieve 50% completion rate on 4th attempt.

Guitar Ted said...

@Reflector Collector: Thanks for bringing up the issue of support folks on course. This will be addressed in the next T.I.V7 Update here.

RANTWICK said...

Wow. That "negative" realism just makes me want to get to be a strong enough rider to think of trying it. Which I am not right now or ever have been.

You should take a try at motivational speaking.

Guitar Ted said...

@RANTWICK: Well, it is my task to make sure folks understand what they are getting themselves into. If I have to be blunt, then.....

And the fact of the matter is that it is neither negative, nor positive. It is what it is. I would submit to you thatI've seen enough of this first hand to know.

Ari said...

I just want to comment about the support issue. I don't think people should be on the phone with family, friends helping them mentally to "keep going" and to "be strong". Also as reflector Collector mentioned support means someone that will go pick you up not someone who will be handing you granola bars when you are out. I really hope people get DQ'ed when no adhering to the rules.
Ari
Sycamore, IL.
Slender Fungus Cycling Association

Guitar Ted said...

@Ari: Yes, also another great point to be included in the next Update. Thanks for suggesting that one.

I will say that cell phone reception will be quite dodgy in some areas, so some of this will be a non-issue depending where on course you are.

That said, getting up on top of a hill should fix your cell phone to work if need be.

Paul said...

I believe I have ridden four Trans Iowa races and I have been to all of them. I have learned that unless the weather is %95 percent perfect no one will finish. As long as people accept that the weather WILL decide how well they do rather than what kind of fitness they are in then they should be fine.

Also.... keep moving.

Ari said...

Paul is a hero and a great inspiration.
Can't wait to ride with you.
ari

MG said...

i'm not saying you should have people circling waiting for you to croak. i'm just saying 'be prepared'.

if you want to throw caution to the wind and have nobody there as a "backup plan", do it. it's your life. be prepared. that's all i'm saying. personally, i'm not willing to put my butt on the line, because experience has taught me that more often than not, this is not an event that riders make it to the finish in. i invite everybody to prove me wrong once again in 2011. that said, even if it's one of the best years (like it was in 2009), we'll probably only have 25-30% of the field finish under the cutoff. that's just the reality of events like this.

i'll be prepared to go the distance.