Sunday, January 05, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #26

In mid-November, the idea of Trans Iowa was hatched. The year was 2004. In the ten years since then there have been many stories and memories. These posts will tell of the most prominent ones to my mind. Maybe I'll even spill the beans on some things you never knew....

Chasing the first sunrise of T.I.V5 (Image courtesy of Cornbread)
 The 52 riders were all lined up behind the Dirty Blue Box, the horn tooted, and we were off on another Trans Iowa. As we had done the year previous, David called out the cues and I acknowledged them and turned when necessary. Everything was going well until after about 12 miles of heading mostly South I saw a "T" intersection coming up in the headlights. David was silent, so I said, "T intersection. Which way do I go?". David did not respond, and I looked over at him and he looked nervous and was rifling through his maps and notes. My heart sank. We had an issue!

I reached the intersection and David realized at that point that all his recon of the area had been done in the daylight, which made it obvious that you made a quick left and then a right to continue onward, but in the dark, you couldn't see that! Fortunately, due to our T.I.v4 experiences, I had copious amounts of rerouting materials onboard the Dirty Blue Box. We sprang into action, David marked the road with red duct tape arrows as I made some lathe board flagging. But where the heck is the hammer?!! Then I realized I loaned the hammer to the Checkpoint #1 crew to set up some banners and what not. So, I used the T.I.v5 limestone block trophy to hammer the boards into the ground with!

We no sooner got the flagging and marking done when David exclaimed, "Here they come!", and I saw a stream of LED lights zooming toward us at a fast pace. We dove into the Honda and zipped down the road. A quick calculation showed that maybe the riders would arrive before the checkpoint was ready! Oh oh! We made good time to Washington and arrived early, just in case. We found some checkpoint folks already there, so we debriefed them on what we were expecting and they got things in order just in case riders should appear sooner than later.

The leaders arrive at CP #1: (Image courtesy of K Stuedel)
The coffee shop was open, and we got some great tasting java, then we hung out as the light grew brighter and things warmed up a bit. Soon riders came into the town square and our checkpoint volunteers were stellar! They were so efficient and organized that the riders had their names checked off and new cues in their hands before they could catch their breath. 

David and I watched until we were satisfied all was going to be well, then we leap frogged the leaders just outside of Washington as we headed for the next significant city on the route, which was North English. On the way we had some fun on B Roads and navigating our way to North English. Our mood was light and we were enjoying a day out in the country. Soon we were getting closer to North English and a stop at the convenience store was plotted as we figured this would be where the leaders would stop before continuing onward. We figured this would happen since our new "short" lead out to CP #1 would leave the course resupply chances uncertain for the riders afterward. David and I pulled in and got a few items to munch on and drink as we awaited the signs of the first riders in to the rural oasis.

Next Week: A banana disappears in one bite!


Steve Fuller said...

My best memory from this race was the look on Joe Fox's face when I handed him a chain tool out of my backpack. Joe had an unfortunate derailleur incident before CP1 and needed to singlespeed his rig. I'm not sure if he was floored more by the fact that I had a chain tool and pliers, or that I was willing to stand there and wait for him to finish using them.

Guitar Ted said...

@Steve Fuller: That's what makes gravel racing so awesome. People like you willing to do what you did. Folks from other forms of racing maybe hadn't ever seen stuff happen like that. Might explain Mr. Fox's reaction.

But wait! Rear derailleurs don't really snap off in gravel road events, do they? ;>)