Saturday, May 05, 2012

Trans Iowa V8: Part V- Station To Station

Mike Johnson, Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey @ Checkpoint Bravo
Note: All images by Wally Kilburg and Guitar Ted. Click to make bigger.

 Trans Iowa V8: Part V- Station To Station- by Guitar Ted

Saturday, April 28th- Approximately 3:00pm: I crack open a cold bottle of Legend Pale Ale at Checkpoint Bravo.....

Checkpoint Bravo, or "checkpoint #2", as we used to say, was again manned by the duo of Wally and George. This pair of intrepid cycling nuts were at T.I.V7 with a set up that made them something of a legend to T.I.V7 vets. They had heaters, videos, music, and nutritional supplies for the riders, but most of all, Wally and George are just real down to earth, encouraging guys. Folks don't soon forget that, and expectations amongst some were high for their checkpoint going in. In fact, riders were making it a goal to see what these two characters would come up with this time.

They weren't disappointed, I'll tell ya that much, and many that had never experienced Wally and George's rural brand of hospitality soon learned why the spot was a goal of some of their peers. Heck- they even had a warm fire this year!

What's the time limit for staying here?
John Gorilla was overheard saying that Checkpoint Bravo was so good that there should have been a time limit for staying there. It was a pretty nice oasis. I spent a fair bit of time there, kicking back for a bit and jawing with Wally, George, and Matt Gersib who was coming down to man the "Checkpoint Charlie", which we had planned.

My idea was that convenience stores were real sparse on the course this year. Like about four spots we went through even had one, and one of those was off course a few blocks. In the last 200 miles of T.I.V8, there was only one convenience store opportunity without going a ways off course. So- I let Checkpoints Bravo and Charlie serve as stations of sorts to at least patch the holes with something. I wasn't willing to sacrifice how cool the course was for a mundane loop over to a town with an open convenience store.

The first arrivals at the checkpoint were the three riders that had been chasing me since just outside Agency, the Braun Brothers and Charly Tri. Knowing how fast they had been going, and still were, I figured I'd better get settled back into the truck and set off for Checkpoint Charlie. The three riders showed up at 4:41pm, which is about 2-2.5 hours sooner than this far into any previous Trans Iowas. That would be 170 miles, by the way.

Before I walked away, I asked how the trio was doing, and Charly said something to the effect that he was "being towed around by these two", or something similar to that. I didn't know how serious he was, since he seemed to be moving fine otherwise, and looked fine to my eyes.

I jumped into the truck, none the less, and went onward to see the Secret Checkpoint. This was being manned by Trans Iowa Veterans and Finishers Matt Gersib and Jeremy Fry. The deal here was that I allowed them to give anything they wanted to give to racers, as long as I didn't know about it. You know- Secret and stuff! I did send along some of the Gu Energy and Clif Bar stuff we had gotten for the event.

MG gettin' his scooter on.
But first, the riders would have to traverse some pretty hilly terrain to get there. Many of the riders would be tackling this in the dark. With nearly two hundred miles in their legs and bodies, the minds being frazzled, devoid of nutrients and water, these hills would be maybe a bit tougher than usual as well.

Out of the record number of 55 riders that passed through Checkpoint Alpha, only 38 made it on time to Checkpoint Bravo. Out of the 17 folks that didn't get that far, many got close, and a couple came in late to Checkpoint Bravo, so long rides were put in by a lot of folks! Some folks that reached Checkpoint Bravo called it a day. one of those was a big surprise to many onlookers. Charly Tri stopped his ride, actually just past Checkpoint Bravo.

I got to Checkpoint Charlie before dark, and Jeremy and MG had everything all ready to go. While I was there, I got the word about Charly, so we were on the lookout for the Braun Brothers. I figured that at the pace they were setting, they would be along about 7:15pm. However, they were about 15 minutes later than my prediction, and they also pulled in to stop awhile, which was another surprise to me. I figured them to cruise right on by.

So, do all bike racers have exoskeleton heads?
Both brothers came up and started taking off gear, but not before a local 13 year old that had wandered over full of curiosity had them barraged with about 20 questions. Then she went on breathlessly to explain most of her life to anyone that would deign to listen.

Now, I gotta hand it to the Braun brothers, and other racers that came through and visited with this girl- they were all very kind, attentive, and decent to her, despite her personality which was a bit testing. Given the mental and physical state of these racers, I was proud to see how they responded to her. In fact, one of the Braun Brothers actually offered to fix her bicycle for her!

Gotta love the typical Trans Iowa rider.

I bugged outta there shortly after the Braun's arrived, given their speed, I figured I had better get a move on in case I needed to be attending to any last minute details. Checkpoint Charlie had 30 riders eventually visit it, so I figure it was a success. There was one more convenience store stop, if you got to town soon enough.It was in Pella, Iowa, but the road there wasn't straight or level. It would be a tough slog. Plus, there would be no more friendly faces. No encouragement. Now the last 140 miles of Trans Iowa V8 from Checkpoint Charlie stared the remaining riders in the face, and it would be a severe test of men's wills and strengths until perhaps some of them would arrive back in Grinnell.

Next: Broken, Busted, And Blown


Johann Rissik said...

" Now, I gotta hand it to the Braun brothers, and other racers that came through and visited with this girl- they were all very kind, attentive, and decent to her, despite her personality which was a bit testing. Given the mental and physical state of these racers, I was proud to see how they responded to her. In fact, one of the Braun Brothers actually offered to fix her bicycle for her! "

True gentlemen of the road.

Ari said...

I am very proud to say I am a Trans Iowa rider.

Uncle Don said...

Not cool.

How do you think the young girl would feel if she read this?

Guitar Ted said...

@Uncle Don: I think she'd be fine with it. It is a fair description of her. She was asking tons of questions and she was a bit trying to deal with.

I don't think that is denigrating at all, but you are welcome to your opinions.

Not everyone is the same. Some of us are more difficult than others to deal with. Some of us talk a lot, others are quiet. Celebrate the differences- don't try to whitewash it. That's my take.

Travis said...

She did ask more questions than I wanted to answer but I was amused. We were in her park and I take it as a compliment that she thought we were more entertaining than the merry-go-round.

Mark: your course was nice but we did a few extra miles of "un-reccommended sightseeing" after CP2 to check if you were hiding any other fun roads from us.

john said...

Mark where are the results for this event posted?

MG said...

Thanks for the awesome report. For those wondering about the girl at CP Charlie, she was sweet, and I don't think anyone has misrepresented the situation in any way. It was a great time, and I have to give Jeremy Fry particular credit for "bringing the guns" with the virtual smorgasbord of donuts, jerkey, bananas and more. Nice work bro...

Thanks for the opportunity to be a part of such an awesome event, even at this minimal level. I feel extremely fortunate to have seen the event from that perspective and can't wait to get back onto my bike and tackle it again.

Thanks again,