There were some early surprises. John Gorilla, the T.I.v4 winner, suffered a mechanical and had to withdraw, Charly Tri, as I found out later, was "the tree that fell on a B road" that Joe Meiser was trying to tell me about at the convenience store in North English. His derailleur hangar broke. Several other DNF's and mechanicals started coming to our attention. The roads were fresh with gravel in many places, and a Westerly wind rose up, mostly in the faces of the riders as they stair stepped up towards Checkpoint #2 which would be a big factor for many riders in the event. We were on our way to that very checkpoint to see about our volunteers.
|Matt Braun hamming it up for the camera. (Image by Cornbread)|
With everything in order, we only had to await the arrival of the leaders. The four showed up still together and hit the convenience store for supplies. David and I then decided we would run a short loop and return to the checkpoint later to see how things were coming along, and to actually take in the middle part of a Trans Iowa event, which neither of us had taken the time to do before.
Everything checked out okay, so we hit the checkpoint again at a time when the place was hopping with our riders and with customers in general. Bicycles were laid up against all sides of the store, as is usual with any gravel event in the Mid-West. However; as we learned later, the store was understaffed. They only had two employees on duty, and the place was crawling with customers. Added to this was the fact that this store also was a pizza outlet and orders were being made by one of the staff, leaving a poor, middle aged woman as the defacto only person running the joint!
Well, she had gotten so angry about her situation, and stressed out, that she snapped and was trying to play the role of constable and chase our racers away from the premises. She made a "rule" that no bicycles could be leaned up against the front of the store and was getting pretty animated when I tried to spread the word to everyone to roll with it and get on out of there ASAP. It was a bit tense, and David and I duly noted the store was a privately owned one. We have never used that place as a stop since, by the way!
|Typical v5 convenience store madness. (Image by Al Brunner)|
Anyway, I remember lots of DNF's at LeGrand. I also recall seeing some things, (and hearing about others later), that David and I found a bit alarming. Checkpoints were being "leaked" to racer's support folks and they were showing up at the checkpoints to "cheer on" and in some cases, as we learned too late, to "help" out some of the racers. I filed this into the think tank for later and because of these activities we made significant changes to Trans Iowa which have affected it to this very day. I also recall this Trans Iowa as being the one where "social media" via texts, various "aps", and actual phone calls were something of a "thing". This was much to my dismay as well, since it was something David and I saw as "outside support", but it was something we also knew was virtually unstoppable.
If nothing else, this Trans Iowa had already provoked us to have a lot to consider for a possible V6, and was running uncannily smoothly. In fact, it was probably one of the most laid back, fun Trans Iowas I have been a part of, but there still is more to say about that later.
Next Week: A warrior lost......