Friday, May 04, 2012

Trans Iowa V8 Race Report Part IV: Unwanted Excitement

Didn't get it too muddy after all!
Trans Iowa V8 Race Report Part IV: Unwanted Excitement- by Guitar Ted

Note: All images by Wally Kilburg and Guitar Ted. Click to make bigger.

Saturday April 28th, Approximately 11:40am: I am in total panic mode as I counter-steer into my out of control slide on an Iowa B Road....

That was close! While trying to avoid the B Road on course, I ended up finding another one. I was a bit distracted just at that moment though.

Driving ahead of the riders as a last check for surprises, to mark out re-routes or unmarked corners, and to monitor the progress of riders makes for a lot to keep on top of. Added to that are the cell phone calls from riders dropping out, texts from Wally and George, texts from photographer Steve Fuller, and texts from riders dropping out. Of course, there is the odd "Trans Iowa Radio" post that I was making. Many decisions, sometimes many at once.

Well, the phone seemed to go in streaks with being really busy, and it happened just at the "wrong time" as I was trying to grab the roster sheet to make a mark by a riders name who was on the phone trying to DNF. I looked up and BAM! I was in it. A B Road and now my truck was sliding out of control. I threw the phone down and got real busy driving. I literally went a half a mile sideways and the rest fish tailing with mud slinging up in the air so high it was clearing the truck.

It was touch and go there, but I pulled it all the way for a mile to solid road. Whew! Let's not do that again!

C. Tri leads the Braun Bros on a flatter section of T.I.V8
During all this madness, a selection at the front had occurred. The original lead group shattered into bits as Charly Tri, Matt Braun, and his brother Travis Braun made a break for it at Hedrick, a small town on the route where riders were stopping at a convenience store.

For the time being, Troy Krause, Eric Brunt, and John Gorilla teamed up but were several minutes down on the leaders. Then a group of approximately eight riders containing Dennis Grelk, Mike Johnson, and others were farther behind. It was also a spot where riders would get at least a 100 mile ride in. several noted this and DNF'ed at Hedrick. Citing the mornings energy expenditures as putting them into a deficit, they decided to call it quits while still bagging an Iowa gravel "hundy".

For many that stopped here, it was the furthest they had ever gone, or the furthest they had ever gone into a Trans Iowa. A win either way you look at it. I was still stoked on the numbers that were still in the event at such a point though. The weather was cooperating to such a degree that I wondered aloud if this might be the year we break the record for finishers, which was set in T.I.V3 at 24.

Riders grinding out the miles at T.I.V8
I saw the three leaders pass by at about 106 miles in and then took off down the course to check for any issues ahead of them. I took my time, enjoying the countryside, not pushing it too hard. I knew the night was coming and I needed all my reserves for making it through on no sleep. 2:30pm passes by and I've been up for 12 hours already at this point. So have almost all the racers. And really- probably none of us slept much anyway, what with being nervous and the noise from the storm which passed through.

Approximately 140 miles into T.I.V8 the course came through Agency, Iowa. What a weird name for a town, eh? I liked that we went through there just because of that. Anyway, I swung over to the convenience store, just off the route, and cleaned out my truck which was swimming in aluminum energy drink cans and Clif Bar wrappers. I was about to leave when I spied a Ford SUV which curiously had similar gravel/mud spray all over it to my truck. "Hmm....must be someone with Trans Iowa.", I thought. Sure enough, it was our "official photographer", Steve Fuller.

Steve and I compared notes on the day and then he invited me down the road from town to sit with him and wait for the leaders to come through. On our way there, Steve was driving ahead of me when he pulled over and motioned for me to open the door to my truck. He then said he was seeing tire tracks up the road and that the leaders may have passed by already. What!

The descent to the Des Moines River out of Agency, IA

I decided to race on up the road to verify this. Sure enough, there were tire tracks going down, across the Des Moines River bridge, and down the road on the other side. When I turned the corner to ascend the opposite bank, there they were!

They seemed to be just getting started after a brief stop, but however that may be, I didn't have time to stop and chat. I had to race up the road a couple miles to a corner that needed marking.

I barely staked in the last lathe board when here they were on my tail! I jumped in the truck and took off like the hounds of Hell were after me. Then it hit me that another corner needed marking, since there was no sign, and I beat a path to that corner and staked it out. Whew! No sign of them and I jumped into the truck, sped up the road a bit more, and stopped to try and make a quick "Trans Iowa Radio" post at 2:11pm, but I had to cut it short when I saw them coming in my rear view mirror. Dang! These guys were flying up the road. They had 40 miles to go to Checkpoint Bravo, and at the rate they were eating up the road, I was thinking the sub-24 hour Trans Iowa was going to happen.

Well, I wasn't going to let them catch me again, so I took a bit faster approach to doing the final road checking and headed straight for Checkpoint Bravo where Wally and George would be hanging out.

Next: Station To Station


Charly Tri said...

Just for the record, we didn't attack at Hedrick. There was a split before that with the three of us riding away (not attacking), Gorilla in the middle, and Krause/Brunt just behind. They came into Hedrick just as we were getting ready to go again, but there was no deviousness or attacking. Krause and Brunt would get the final say though. Good job to them for doing what we couldn't.

Guitar Ted said...

@Charly Tri: Thanks for your insights. I also wanted to congratulate you on the ride you got in. Over 180 miles of torrid paced Trans Iowa gravel grinding there, I might add.

Well, "attack" may be too strong a word, but you weren't showing any remorse, or waiting around for gorilla and the rest by any stretch of the imagination either. ;>)