Monday, December 29, 2014

Rear View 2014: Part 4

Well, as I forewarned, and as I have done about every year end now, here is my series on a look back over at 2014 before it is gone. Rear View Part 3 can be seen HERE

September came on and I was still getting over being sick and injured from back in late July, but I was out riding again. I had a box of tires to test and I had to build up two sets of wheels to test them on. I had Labor Day tradition to uphold as well, so I went to the Iowa Falls car show and had a great time with my family.

Two things were on the radar- One was Trans Iowa recon and registration, the other was not going to Interbike. One was necessary for an event next year and the other traditionally was a total pain and very disruptive to my life every Fall. Yes.....I met many great folks and had awesome experiences. Obviously none of those things would have happened had I not gone to eight straight Interbike shows. But that was enough. I am truly grateful for those times with good people and the things that came from that, but I don't like Las Vegas and the show was pure tedium by the time I went there last year. It was time for me to take a break from it all, and in regard to how I feel about the trip and being here instead, well I was super happy this Fall to stay at home. That was the right decision for me at this point.

Trans Iowa recon happened and it was a frustrating day from the standpoint of the sketched out route, which didn't pan out at all the way I had hoped it would. I came home from that very concerned and unhappy with the several reroutes we had to figure out. However; it was a fun day with Jeremy and it was good to get a jump on the process of figuring out a route for T.I.V11.

One of the cool roads we had to cut out of the route in September.
Then it was setting up for registration for T.I.V11. I announced the details in early October right after the first recon, and right on the heels of that, I announced fine details for the mid-October grinder, "The Geezer Ride". Meanwhile, the body started coming around and with the awesome Fall weather I was able to string together some great night rides on an old trail I made and on gravel roads as well.

My Fargo Gen I bike went down with a bad free hub right before the Geezer Ride and so I took the Tamland. I hadn't really ridden it much since the GTDRI crash, but I did sneak in  one longer ride just before the Geezer Ride to reacquaint myself with it. The Geezer Ride itself was an amazing success. It went over far better than I had ever imagined it would, and as it turns out, it was one of the major highlights of the year for me. Requests to hold other Geezer Rides were heard from many folks and I do plan on having one in the Springtime out of Grinnell Iowa. Look for a date on that sometime soon in the New Year.

The scene at the beginning of the Geezer Ride. I was astounded by the turnout.
The T.I.V11 registration kicked off soon after and post cards rolled in for past Winners and Finishers of the event. It was shaping up to be a stacked field just from this group alone, but the real fireworks regarding the registration were yet to come.

Fat bike musings were many, and I transferred the "ultra-fat" set up from the old Snow Dog to the Ti Muk by month's end, relegating the 29+ wheels that were on the Muk to the parts bin. I eventually sold them off in December to fund a guitar for Mrs. Guitar Ted's Master's Degree accomplishments. Honestly, I don't think I would dabble in 29+ again unless it were for a frame and fork designed around the platform. Grafting them onto the Mukluk was a good experience, but the bike didn't suit me well in that guise and so the experiment ended.

November! What can I say! It was a November to remember for sure. Way crazier and busier than ever before for me. First was the finishing touches on the Trans Iowa route, which went really well. Then the Trans Iowa registration madness with the Rookies was unprecedented. The process was amped up even more by a prank card entry supposedly sent in by a disgraced former Pro roadie. Fall officially ended on November 12th when a cold front came in and we went into the deep freeze. Then it was on to an early delivery of my Blackborow DS, which I figured wouldn't show up until maybe around now. Not only that, but after Brian left the employment of the shop where I work, I came in to find the old shop employee owned Surly 1X1 on my bench one morning.

It came just in time for the only snow we've had so far this Winter.
Bad news came in the form of Steve Hed's death and then it was Thanksgiving, which I spent with my family. This marked a warm up and the end of the snow. Oh, and the end of November as well.

The beginning of December was no less busy, as a behind the scenes plan came into the light of day on December 3rd when I announced that Gravel Grinder News was merging with Then it was on to the second Trans Iowa Clinic in Des Moines which went over pretty well, I think.

Things quieted down a lot after that, and that was okay after a whirlwind of a year. But what's new, right? Anyway, that brings us up to the moment and the end of my "Rear View" for 2014. I had mentioned a year ago that there would be changes in my life and a big one I expected never happened. Trans Iowa carries onward! Much to the delight of many riders, I am sure. The other thing wasn't planned specifically, but came along and helped provide a piece of the puzzle that was missing.

A Look Forward into 2015 will finish up the year........


Tyler Loewens said...

So you're more sold on 27.5+ then eh? Even for grAve bike? Still thinking about converting my Mukluk.

Guitar Ted said...

@Tyler Loewens: For off road, yes, and that diameter is 29"s, by the way.

For gravel I still am thinking 28"ers/700c X 40 or so is the way to go. Keeps the weight of rubber you are slinging around to more of a minimum.