Saturday, May 02, 2015

Trans Iowa V11 Report: Grinding To A Halt

Well, lookee here! We found Greg Gleason's bike outside a C store in Sigourney
Grinding To A Halt:

Saturday, 11:20am, text from Mike Johnson: "Things look good down here no rain, He maybe through already.

Mike and Tony had left Checkpoint #1 and helped redirect some riders, then peeled off in search of Greg Gleason. Meanwhile, MG and I had grabbed a bite to eat, and then we were on our way to the Casey's in Sigourney Iowa. It was the first convenience store on the route, so we were certain Greg would be stopping there for resupply.

The convenience store was approximately 30 miles or so past the checkpoint, and knowing Greg left right about at 8:30am, we were a bit surprised to have not seen him, and this is what prompted Mike's text that maybe Greg had slipped by already. It was then decided that Mike and Tony would hit the roads Southward to see if they could find any evidence of his passing. They did not find a thing, and Tony said the roads were worse than anywhere else they had been that morning in that sector. Tracks should have been easily seen had Greg passed through there. So they decided to go back up North to see where he may be at. We arrived in Sigourney at about 12:40pm, just minutes after Greg had. Mike and Tony were standing outside by his bike.

Greg was wolfing down a sandwich and then he came out just before 1:00pm to remount on his bike in an attempt to get to Checkpoint #2 before 8:00pm. He had about 80 miles to go. I said to him, "With 80 miles to go it's gonna be tough to make it in time." Greg gave me a short, curt answer and lurched his bike forward and pedaled off to the South. Meanwhile, I told Mike and Tony to go check a low water crossing at a point further up the course, which I was sure we'd have to reroute, and MG and I would leapfrog Greg up the course somewhere. I had a spot in mind where we could sit and time Greg to see if he was actually going to have any shot at all of getting to CP#2 in time.

MG and I parked at the entrance to this B Road, which was clearly unrideable.

MG brought his dog, Amy Sue down and we had fun hanging out with her. 

This was our view for two plus hours as we waited for the appearance of Greg over that horizon line.
 MG and I finally arrived at my predetermined spot and we had some energy drinks and a nice long chat. I crunched some numbers and sent Mike and Jeremy Fry, one of the CP#2 volunteers, a text to see what they thought of my conclusions. Looking at things, it was getting pretty obvious that Greg would need to, at a minimum, reach our spot by 4:00pm. If he did not, there was an immediate turn to a mile of unrideable dirt road, and approximately 2.5 miles more Level B before he would reach CP#2. Greg had already done 2 miles of B Level past the first checkpoint, and had another mile of Level B between Sigourney and our spot. I wasn't seeing any way, considering his massive expenditure of energy just to make it through CP#1, that he was going to sustain such a high level of output. That and he could not afford a single error or mishap. Any slip ups that cost him time would be all it took to effectively end his ride. While I had my theories, we still had a determined, highly motivated, and talented rider out there. The weather was better, the winds had died down to just breezes, and the roads were firming up nicely. What would happen?

At 4:20pm, Greg Gleason appeared in front of us.
As 4:00pm drew near, MG and I sat expectantly in my truck. I was positive he would show up with minutes to spare and we'd be off again to Checkpoint #2 waiting all over again. However; 4:00pm rolled up on the digital clock and still no sign of Greg Gleason.

I texted Jeremy to tell him to not bother driving down to man the checkpoint, as there would be no need to. I also texted Mike and Tony to let them know my decision. The event was going to be over at the corner of 110th and Kava Avenue. I made no public announcement though, as we wanted to wait to see Greg first.

Finally, MG spotted him cresting the horizon right at 4:20pm. I stepped out of the truck and Greg rolled up to me. I asked him how he was, and he mumbled something nearly inaudible. I then said, "I don't think there is any way you are going to make the checkpoint in time." Greg replied as he hung his head down, "I know....." 

We all had a Dale's beer and toasted Greg's valiant effort. Then we loaded his bike in my truck, and Greg in MG's much more comfortable Honda, and took off for Grinnell Iowa. Trans Iowa was "officially" over at that point, but that wasn't the end of the day for me by a long shot.

Next: Gathering Of The Tribe

No comments: