Thursday, April 30, 2015

Trans Iowa V11 Report: The Struggle To Get There

Click on this to make larger. Note the rain slashing down. (Image by Wally Kilburg)
The Struggle To Get There

While I was wrestling my truck down sloppy roads, and feeling dark and depressed about things, there were 94 other stories being told out there that were far more difficult and taxing to go through than mine. While I cannot speak for any of them, I can show you some images and relate what was told to me by the riders.

I expected there would be lots of attrition as far as people dropping out before Checkpoint #1, but amazingly, many actually rode all the way in, despite being late. Some didn't though, and cut back to town the quickest way possible.

5:34 am: "Brian McEntire #69- out Just going too slow. No way I'll make the CP. Riding back in."

That was an example, and the very first text I received during the event. Oddly enough, I only received about 27 texts concerning dropping out. Most of the folks just arrived at the checkpoint and called in their rides while letting us know they were okay.

Central to the missed cut off times was the obvious- the weather- but there was a "knock out punch" in the form of a B Level Maintenance Road about 13 miles away from the checkpoint. Many riders playing with the edge of not making it on time were assured they would not make it on time once they figured out how long that one mile took to traverse. There also were the regular gravel roads, which were giving us fits in our trucks. George , in the "media truck", reported to me that he was in four wheel drive and probably would have been stuck several times without it. You can imagine how the roads may have been on a bicycle then. Finally, the course itself went East a few times and right into the teeth of the wind and rain. All of these things were, in the end, just too much for all of the riders. Even though Greg Gleason made it past Checkpoint #1, he only just escaped, and ultimately it all caught up to him as well.

An unknown rider turns to get a rare tailwind push during Trans Iowa v11: (Image by Wally Kilburg)
The first riders reach the unrideable B Level Road going to Checkpoint #1. (Image by Wally Kilburg)
 Sarah Cooper (L) and Gerald Heib struggle against the elements and their effects on the roads. (Image by Wally Kilburg)
A rider passes the media truck making their way toward Checkpoint #1. (Image by Wally Kilburg)
Riders were forced out into the mud as the ditches disappear on the B Level Road. (Image by Jeremy Kershaw)
A rider tries to make up time on a more solid section of gravel during Trans Iowa V11 (Image by Wally Kilburg)
Bruce Gustafson splooshes through a mushy gravel section on his way to CP#1. (Image by Wally Kilburg)
Riders were relating to me at the checkpoint that they were having to put out "maximum effort" all the way to the checkpoint, which still didn't get most there anywhere close to the cut off time. The conditions were just too bleak, and for many, it also was causing issues with hypothermia. The Trans Iowa lion had roared and unleashed its fury, as if to say "You shall not pass!", and what could anyone do against such a foe?

The results of the battle waged were seen at Checkpoint #1, which suddenly became a triage center for cold, weary riders.

Next: The Carnage


Exhausted_Auk said...

Can only see images 2,4,6 and 8 today. 1,3,5, and 7 are missing for some reason.

Guitar Ted said...

@Exhausted_Auk: They all show here at home base, but I will see how it looks from the computer at work here later this morning.

Guitar Ted said...

Everything is showing up here at work and a few others have said it works on their computers as well.

Not sure what the issues might be?

Kate Geisen said...

The images the photographers got are ones for the ages. Definitely a case where pictures tell the story.

R said...

i took a spin outside Grinnell yesterday - i must have come across a mile or two of the route because i could still see dozens of ruts and tracks of the riders. if the race were just 2 days earlier, or 2 days later the conditions would have been sublime. oh well!!