Monday, May 05, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: The Cherry On Top

Early morning at the finish line.
5:16am Sunday April 27th:

Rob Versteegh texts me:  "Just waking up in the barn...any updates on how far out the winner could be??"

My answer: "Pretty soon Rob 6:00-6:30"

Ari and I pull into the barn, turn the truck around, and pile out. It is cold, damp, overcast, and the wind is still from the East, but it has relented a tiny bit from the fury it held forth all night long. Joe Stiller, who had dropped out earlier Saturday, was Greg Gleason's traveling partner and had the Sprinter conversion van of theirs sitting at the finish line awaiting Greg's arrival as the winner of T.I.v10.  A few others were milling about expectantly.

As I stand awaiting the appearance of Greg I get the same two questions over and over- "How many are still out there?" and "How long do you think it will be before we have a winner?" 

Could Trans Iowa V10 have been a record maker? Absolutely. At 6:00am there were still 31 people riding. Could they have all finished? Without such crazy winds, yes and even more than 31. Could there have been a sub-24 hour Trans Iowa this time? Absolutely. Greg Gleason, Paul LaCava, and Chris Schotz could all have easily done it along with John Williams.  Take away that incessant, crazy wind, and yes, it all could have happened. But that's why we run the event. You never know what the "wildcard of the weather" will do, and this time it made Trans Iowa V10 most likely the toughest Trans Iowa ever. 

I just said that.

6:22am- Greg Gleason wins T.I.V10
 When Greg Gleason came down the hill to the finish he was motoring along at such a clip we thought he was motorized! He was definitely energized as he didn't look tired at all. What was even more amazing was that when I asked him about the weather he said he never had to stop because he "....maybe got hit by three drops" of rain and the lightning never got close to him.

We chatted for a good long while, since we knew that the next riders in would be at least an hour behind him. Several photos were taken. (You can see a T.I.V10 gallery by Wally Kilburg HERE)

The chase group came in bits and pieces over an hour and a half later. Paul LaCava , then Chris Schotz, then Derek Wieder and Troy Krause finished together. Troy was the first placed single speeder this year. By the time they got settled in it was 8:00am in the morning and we wouldn't see another finisher until after 11:00am, over three hours later. By the time Troy and Derek crossed the line, the field had been whittled down to 18 riders.

The story was that the four guys that finished behind Greg had to stop and take shelter again from a passing thunderstorm that was spewing lightning. In fact, it rained again on us early in the morning at the barn, but later the skies cleared up somewhat and the Sun actually made a brief appearance. The stories of hiding in the barns and farm houses were being told and we were in amazement. I was also getting information that there were several riders still trying to make their way back to the barn. How many would actually make it, we weren't sure, but it was exciting to think that we'd at least see more than a few folks finish T.I.V10. Ari kept pacing and wondering aloud when he'd get his chance to see Agytha, Jay, and Jake come in, who were the remaining Slender Fungus riders in the event.

Paul LaCava
Chris Schotz
A stoked Ari congratulates Derek who came in with Troy Krause
A nice group of folks showed up to hang out at the barn
A bit of unfinished business here: The re-route position I held in the night was, of course, manned by T.J. and Bonk King through the night. They actually stayed there until 4:00am in the morning when we were sure that no one else would be coming through. It was an amazing thing to have that kind of volunteer help from the Slender Fungus at a moments notice and to have them stick it out until the bitter end. To my mind, these two guys are the unsung heroes of Trans Iowa V10. Without their dedication to helping the riders, I would have been in a bind and certainly would have missed the finish of the first four placers. Thanks Slender Fungus and especially T.J and Bonk King!!!

Also connected to this is the story of Ari's coat. Ari left an extra layer with T.J. at the re-route point when we left them in the darkness up there and all Ari had on to ward off the cold was his under-layer of wool and a t-shirt under that. With the blasting winds and cold, damp atmosphere, he was freezing most of the night. Every now and again Ari would casually insert something about wishing he had his jacket back. It was kind of a running joke for most of the night and on into the early morning until Bonk King dropped it off for him. It was quite chilly most of the morning, so Ari was really glad to have his jacket back again!

A smiling Paul LaCava greets Brad Lamson who came home 5th. 

Aaron Hanley and Alex Roberts come in tied for 6th @ 11:50am

John Mathias solos in 7th @ 12:00 Noon

Josh Brown comes home 8th @ 12:19pm

Steve Fuller comes in moments later in 9th @ 12:20pm
And right behind Steve it's Patrick Lackey in 10th @ 12:21pm
Mike Johnson bags another T.I. finish. 11th this time @ 12:23pm
Jerry Bilek gets his first T.I. finish at 1:09pm and comes in 12th.
Finishing together: L-R front- A Gryglak, J Kruse, S Cooper. Back row- R Fry, J Barre all @ 1:11pm in 13th. 

Ari hugs Jay Barre while Robert Fry looks on.
It's kind of hard for me to write about several of the finishers from this year's Trans Iowa. The feelings were intense and the emotions were running high. It was all good, but I still haven't totally processed the events of Sunday yet. I'm not sure I ever will fully get over that day.

In a way, the end was fitting. The Slender Fungus bunch was instrumental in how Trans Iowa V10 went down this year, and to have three of the members come in right at the end was, as Ari told me later, "the cherry on top" of an outstanding Trans Iowa. I'll touch on this later in my final look at Trans Iowa V10.

For now I will say that it was an exciting two days. I had a lot of fun, adventure, and felt a lot of emotions throughout. The day was winding to a close though, and one by one people took their leave until I found myself alone with Rob Versteegh as he closed up the barn to go home. We chatted for a moment, reflecting on the weekend's goings on and then I said goodbye. Rob took off and it was just me left all alone at the barn to reflect for a moment.

And that's it. Trans Iowa V10 is over.......
I wasn't sure how I would react to this one. It was intense, and I feared I would go through the emotional wreckage like I did after V9, but I was strangely at ease. Tired for sure- but totally at peace with it all. I went into town, gassed up the truck and had a bite to eat. I was on the phone with a friend for a bit, then I hit the road. While this was going on, Scott McConnell finished the route of his second Trans Iowa after the time limit!

I did have a bit of trouble with sleepiness, so I hit the gravel on the way home. It didn't totally help, so fortunately I had a media player and I blasted Iggy Pop's album "Instinct" at a rather high volume. That did the trick! I got home after driving through more high winds and sideways rain, a fitting end to the day and weekend.

I was welcomed by my family and we had the evening meal. I then stayed up for a bit, too buzzed about the goings on to sleep right away, but just after hitting my personal record of 43 hours without any sleep, I finally laid down, closed my eyes, and left Trans Iowa behind.........

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