|Three Rassy Amigos|
My iPhone alarm goes off and I jump up out of my borrowed bed and get dressed. Coop is already flitting about getting kitted up for his ride in T.I.V10. He can't find his jersey, but seems to have decided upon another. I brush my teeth and Coop then offers me a couple of organic granola bars which I take and check off the box in my mental notebook which called for something to eat for breakfast. In fact, I eat one of them right away. I turned down an offer of coffee. Water is consumed instead as I had forgotten to drink any the entire day until the pre-race meeting and I was borderline dehydrated already. That taken care of, I take leave of Coop and jump in the truck, fire it up, drive around the block, and see a few racers already plying the deserted streets of Grinnell's downtown area. I am not a bit surprised by that.
I jump out and familiar faces start showing up. I am engaged in conversations with several old and new Trans Iowa folks. I really have come to enjoy this part of Trans Iowa. It's an unspoken thing, but I realize that this may be the last time I see many of them for quite awhile, unless, perchance they finish, and then the conversations might be picked up in about a day and a half from then.
A day and a half to go until the end of Trans Iowa?!!
|Trans Iowans- Lined up and ready to roll! (Image courtesy of Wally Kilburg)|
I walked back and informed the racers of the new-to-me development and commence the countdown. I hop into the truck with a minute to go, buckle up, set the flashers, and toot the horn at 4:00am. We're off on this little adventure once again.
|The first B Road was (mostly) rideable. (Image by W. Kilburg)|
That was that there would be the typical rider chatter as we slowly rolled through the darkened neighborhoods to get to the countryside. Interestingly, those "Chatty Cathy's" became rather silent as the gravel road approached! I made the left turn, gunned the throttle, and roared off Northward on 20th with a stream of LED lights in my rear view mirror. A couple hills later it was just a glow in the distance. Oddly enough, that glow of a 100+ riders could be seen for miles away. It was as if a small city and its light pollution was following me down the rural by-ways.
I was cruising along with no real sense of purpose since I knew the roads were okay. I decided to skip around the B Road which was just seven miles into the course, and then I got disoriented a bit. I was off course for awhile, but managed to get myself back again. It was about this time that I found out I had forgotten a flash light to see the street signs with. Dang it! That slowed me way down since I had to aim the lights of the truck at the signs to see them. I didn't let it get to me too much as I knew the Sun would be illuminating things soon enough.
|Fire in the Sky Part 1|
|Image by Wally Kilburg|
About this time Wally texted me and said, "Half the riders rode the first B Road!"
This wasn't too surprising to me, as I could also see that what had been soft and mushy on the roads the day before was now rock hard. Moisture in the roads was going to be a non-factor in the early going of T.I.V10. The temperature, at 3:00am when I awoke was warm enough to go out in shirt sleeves and there was no wind. However; by the time the Sun was about to rise, an Easterly breeze had arisen and the air was chilly. Still, the skies were clear and it was obvious that it would start out being a great day to ride a bicycle.
|Fire in the Sky Part 2|
I thought about that old saw, "Red Sky at Night, Sailor's Delight! Red Sky in the Morning, Sailors Take Warning!" I tried to rationalize that it didn't look like we had clouds and we'd be okay. The forecast was saying something different though. Oh well! It didn't matter! What would happen later would happen. I tried to just enjoy the moment I was in.
I waited for the lead group and in the meantime, a couple of DNF's happen. Nothing out of the ordinary, except that one of them is my good friend Ari. I knew he was injured coming into Trans Iowa, but I was bummed that he wouldn't get to see much of the course this time around. Then I saw the leaders crest the hill and slowly descend into the valley. I grabbed my camera and set up a shot.
|The early morning leaders|
Next up: A Turning Of The Screws