Monday, December 28, 2015

Rear View 2015- Part 2

As promised in the first "Rear View" for this year, here is a recap of the events I took part in for 2015:

The 5.0 version of the Gents Race was my first event of 2015
 I had a pretty ambitious schedule of events that I wanted to try out for 2015. I left the Triple D off since I had completed it 3 times in a row, and I was glad I did due to all the sickness I went through earlier in the year. However; that meant that with T.I.v11 coming up, and with all that entails, I was seriously out of shape coming into the Gents Race this time. I was a bit worried about that, but in the end, it all worked out and I completed the ride with no issues.

I've stated this probably a million times here, but I love this event. Obviously, so do a lot of other folks. With 60 teams showing up that consisted of five folks each, the throng of over 300 riders and supporters made for quite a scene. More than that though, I've been part of something special for five years running, and that has been that we have the only team that has participated intact for all five editions of the Gents Race. Maybe next year it won't happen, but I plan on being there again. It is the one event I don't want to miss.

Then it wasn't long until I had another event. This time it was to be the second "Geezer Ride" that I was going to host. This whole idea for the ride stemmed from a comment made to me by Wally Kilburg, and his buddy George Keslin, who have been tremendous friends and helpers for Trans Iowa for several years now. They couldn't make the first Geezer Ride I hosted in 2014 in the Fall, but they did make it out to this one held in Grinnell.

There was an exceptional turnout for the second Geezer Ride in Grinnell in Mid-April
The ride ended up happening on a crisp, cool, windy day, but the Sun was out, and we all had a great time. The following day we had Trans Iowa recon, and Wally, George, and I enjoyed a glorious weekend of riding and recon. Too bad the weather didn't hold out for the next event in April I had!

It wasn't going to look like this for T.I.v11! But the final recon went really well due to the nice weather then.
This image by Kevin Fox, a rider in T.I.v11, pretty much tells the tale of the day!
So, yeah.......Trans Iowa v11. That one will go down as one of the more memorable Trans Iowas I have done. A surprise showing of Jason Boucher at the Pre-Race Meat-Up. My buddy MG getting sick, the tremendous wind and rain, and hanging out under a rude shelter house in Guernsey, Iowa as we watched in amazement the scene that unfolded there that morning. Then having MG miraculously re-join me and hanging out with him and his dog, Amy on some forgotten stretch of Iowa gravel waiting for Greg Gleason to appear over the Western horizon. Then going back to Grinnell and hanging out with Trans Iowa riders- friends old and new- till it was finally time to head back home. It all was a whirlwind of a day, and one I shant forget the rest of my days.

That concluded the month of April, and during May all I had to do was to recover from Trans Iowa's running as quick as I could and turn my attention to getting dialed in for an attempt at the 10th Dirty Kanza 200. I had a great time in Emporia with my ride down with Tony McGrane, staying with Joe at his residence, and hanging out with MG all weekend.

In what might be described as a bit of karma visited upon me, the DK 200 was more like a Trans Iowa in 2015! Image by Ari Andonopoulous
My friend Ari Andonopoulous was there to ride and we hooked up just before the event started. We got to experience an unforgettable morning together before we were separated. MG, who blew up his rig in that mud, like many others had, bailed out and appeared like a mirage at CP#1 to speed me upon my way toward CP#2. Things went South for me in a couple of areas both within and without my control which finally led to missing the CP#2 cutoff by a measly two minutes. Still, it ended up becoming the longest time out on a single ride and the longest mileage I had ever ridden in a single sitting that I had ever done. Not bad for the lack of training I had coming into the event.

MG collected me and took me back to home base until the next day, and Tony and I shared another great ride back home. The next event I did would also involve a long drive out and back with Tony. It was another crack at Odin's Revenge. I love the folks that put this on and the terrain it is held on as well. I also had the nice surprise of seeing Wally Kilburg out there as he was photographing the event.

Scott Redd captured some of the immense scenery of Odin's Revenge in this shot. It truly makes one feel small!
Odin's Revenge is an amazing route and one that has be-deviled me on all three attempts I have made. Heat, mud, difficult climbing, and wind all conspire, or have in past efforts I have made, to thwart me in my efforts. It has become my "vision quest" event, and I have turned myself inside out each time I have done this course. How I will ever manage to finish one of these, I haven't a clue, but I plan on keeping at it until I do, or those DSG's stop putting on the event.

Last June I succumbed to the intense heat, and I slept under a tree on a lonely roadside till I became strong enough to drag myself to the second checkpoint town where I ended up getting sagged in by one of the event's dedicated promoters, Matt Bergen who took good care of me. Thanks Matt!

That was it until the next Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, which was to be a reprise of the route the year before when I got hit by that truck alongside the road at mile 95 or so.

Yard sale on the 2015 GTDRI. We had to stop to cool off several times. The heat was as high as the hills that day.
The good news was that I got through the event unscathed. In the process, I thought I lost all my money and credit cards, found out about the goodness of gravel grinder folks, had the joy and embarrassment of finding said money and credit cards buried in my Bike Bag Dude bag, and passed by the infamous "spot" without incident this time. All in all a brutal and beautiful day out on the bike with great folks.

Next up was another hotter than Hades day on the third Geezer Ride which I decided to run out of Waterloo, Iowa for ease of getting it done. We had a good turn out and all finished the ride despite brutal heat and humidity that day.

The surprise oasis stop at the farm of Tom Scott was a big highlight on the third Geezer Ride. 
After that third Geezer Ride I had a short week or two until I was to go with Tony once again to Lincoln, Nebraska for Gravel Worlds. was hot, and windy! What a brutal day on the bike, and I ended up coming up short again. One of these days I will learn how to survive the heat and humidity, but I haven't had good luck with that most of my years of trying in various Summertime events.

I did get to meet and chat with a lot of good folks. Saw my brother MG again, and stayed downtown in Lincoln, which was a different experience. We will never do that again, most likely, but I was glad I did it once! 

The Reinkordts on their farm near Lincoln provided the Gravel Worlds riders with an "oasis stop". I have a special place in my heart for these folks. 
I got to see the Reinkordts again though, and these gentle, kind folks opened up their farm as an oasis stop during the Gravel Worlds event. I had met these folks way back several years ago during the first Gravel Worlds and I have always appreciated them for their hospitality and kindness to sweaty strangers such as myself. People like this are the reason I just love going to events and riding on gravel roads.

Well, it wasn't a very successful year in terms of finishing events I went to, at least not at the big three I tried. Maybe another year, who knows, but I would not trade the experiences I gained for anything. The people I got to know, see again, and the scenes I witnessed cannot be valued in money or "finishes" or prizes. It was a great year from that standpoint, and I thank all who were a part of it.

Next: A look at 2015 from the local standpoint.


Robert Ellis said...

Great write up! All those are such super fun events, and were so fun to revisit this drab time of year.

MG said...

We are gonna have even more fun in 2016, Brother!!