Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: Friday Smoothly

Loaded up and truckin'!
Friday April 25th, 2014: After months of preparations, planning, and efforts on the parts of myself and others, Trans Iowa was set to go. All I had to do was to load up the truck and drive down to Grinnell to set the ball in motion.

Anytime Trans Iowa comes around for me, I have a lot of concerns and feelings going on inside of me that make staying focused a bit harder to do. Fortunately everything had gone smoothly and the day was a perfect day to travel on. That helped a lot! I can't say I was calm, but it was not a high stress morning. I gassed up the Truck With No Name, settled into the seat, and took off down some back roads to get to the Trans Iowa course to check out the opening miles and verify that there would be no surprises on Saturday morning. The drive was uneventful and I started the recon at 11:30 am, ahead of schedule, which was good.

On Friday, the roads were soft yet.
I was concerned about the roads since on Wednesday and Thursday we had continuous rain and I figured things would be somewhat sloppy around Grinnell. However; I found that the roads were rutted and a bit torn up, but not very sloppy at all. In fact, they were just soft and felt mushy in spots. With a full day of Sun on tap, and temperatures into the 70's, I figured that these roads would only get better.

The B Roads were another story. I figured there would be no way that they would be dry enough to ride a bicycle on. However; when I took a peek at the back end of the very first section, I thought that it didn't look too bad at all.  Still, I wasn't thinking that the road would be rideable by the time the event started. I also saw the rail road track crossings had gotten worse. I made a note to make a special mention of that at the Pre-Race Meat-Up.

The rest of the roads going into checkpoint #1 were pavement-like in their smoothness. It was uncannily dry as well. The consistency of these roads was hard and level with little rock at all. The riders would fly on this part! Other than that discovery, the entire first leg was okay and no surprises were discovered. 

Brent Irish and The Slender Fungus Cycling association stuff bags and help set up the Pre-Race Meat-Up.
When I arrived back at the Steakhouse it was a little after 2:00pm, almost a full hour before I was supposed to be there. (See a pattern developing here?) I unloaded the truck and started setting things up. As I was busy, some of the Slender Fungus guys showed up, Bonk King, Gummy, TJ and then Brent Irish all were there to help out. I decided not to stuff the race bags, as I have done in the past, and I let those guys handle it. I went about setting up the check-in table where riders would be picking up race numbers and signing the waivers.

The check in table

The Steakhouse personnel were firing up the charcoal grill for us as we set up. 
Loads of prizes and the Trans Iowa shirts and hats ready to be distributed to the riders
Cookin' up a storm!
The set up went super smoothly and by the time riders started showing up with support folks, it was about 3:50pm. Wally and George showed up and manned the check-in while I stood and greeted the riders lining up to sign in. I have to say that it went really, really well as we had nearly everyone signed on by 5:30pm with only a handful left to go. In the end we had only a few no-shows. 106 riders signed on and were eating away and by 6:00pm they were all in the meeting room waiting for the rider's meeting to begin.

I got in there and started things up with a few words. Then the requisite rider call up. The prizing we usually raffle, but there was so much I decided to do a "prize table style" where each rider called up got to pick one item from the table. There were a few leftovers, but that worked out great.

Coop has a really nice loft apartment!
The meeting was over in record time since things went so well. I packed up the gear and headed down to the gas station to top off the tank for the following day's driving, and headed down to Bike's To You to see Coop, who was riding in Trans Iowa. He sold a bike while I was there to a fellow Trans Iowa rider and then we went up to his loft apartment, chatted about a few things, and I hit the hay early.

106 riders is the most we've ever had at a Trans Iowa. It was like having two year's worth of rosters in one! The crowd was upbeat, and when they left I was pretty pleased by the turnout. It was a good field and the event would be fun to watch unfold. Volunteers were all set to go. Materials were handed out, and all we had to do was lead the racers out of town in a very short time from then to have Trans Iowa V10 underway.

Next Up: Fire In The Sky

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