Thursday, May 04, 2017

Trans Iowa v13: A Bridge In The Rain

Lost? A signpost in Adel Iowa
Saturday, April 29th, On 278th Place Road, North Of Adel Iowa:

"Holy Shit!!", MG let out with sudden surprise as he stomped the brake pedal on the Subaru.

"Yeah, I'm sorry, I should have said something. I almost went off that in my truck!", I said, as MG slowly made the tight left hander and we went on our way. This incident is a new facet of the latest arrangement I have for course checking ahead of the riders.

A quick history lesson is in order here- See, back in the early Trans Iowa days, Jeff Kerkove and I were concerned about many things regarding Trans Iowa, but the biggest one was route verification. If our route was blocked by construction, road closures, or the like, what would we do? How would you prevent that from impacting the event before the riders got there? Well, running a car ahead of the riders was the answer. Thus, the final "course check" is really us in a car just ahead of the riders making sure we don't have any blockages and then doing something about it if there are any issues.

So, I used to do this and all the record keeping, social media, and survival on the road stuff myself back in the day. People were fearing for my safety so it was suggested that I get a driver. My brother in spirit, MG, decided he'd be that person for me, and it has worked out really well. The new dynamic does have its twists and unique features we haven't expected or worked out yet, but it is a much better way of doing things. The near miss of going off the road on the sharp turn which opens today's post is one of those things that points to a few oddities of the current set up.

See, MG doesn't know the course like I do. If I happen to have my nose out of my records, then all is okay. However; if I do not see what MG is seeing, well then we might just have a wreck! Fortunately, we were okay and proceeded to going through Adel, then past I-80 and on down into Madison County. Yes......that Madison County. 

Having a covered bridge in the route, (or, as it has to be now- alongside the route) was always a goal of mine.
 Since having the Trans Iowa route start in Grinnell way back in v6, I have been eying just how I could get a covered bridge on the route. There was a chance to do that on v8's route, but I decided against it since it was causing some difficulties getting the route through without a ton of complexity. However; when I decided to circumnavigate Des Moines, the plan for a covered bridge on the route was not only a possibility, but easy to get in. In fact, I had the route pass by two covered bridges.

These bridges are old. So, traffic isn't allowed on them anymore. There are little loops which go around them these days and modern bridges have been built to carry the loads of cars, ag equipment, and in this weekend's case, bicycles. However; you could easily see these bridges as you rode, or as in our case, drove by them. MG and I actually stopped and admired the Hogback Bridge. By the time we had arrived there, the rain had kicked in.

Shortly after visiting the Hogback Covered Bridge we were in Winterset, birthplace of John Wayne, and we parked the car in a gravel lot at a soccer complex adjacent to the T.I.v13 route out of town. We really weren't looking for anyone to pass by, as we were very far ahead of the riders out there. We just were killing some time and eating a few snacks and slamming Monster Energy drinks to stay awake and alert. I am not big on energy drinks, but for Trans Iowa, they are a staple of my diet. They do work for me to keep me rolling. It took me about 36 hours to burn through all 14 cans I brought with me, so that was my intake of energy drink for the year. MG probably had at least 20 cans. That man can drink the Monster!

When we arrived in Winterset, it was still before noon. It felt weird, like it should be late afternoon. Time gets warped when you are doing this Trans Iowa thing. All morning since the checkpoint in Baxter closed we had no people calling us. Only the occasional texts from John Matthias and Jon Duke, who were both out on the course observing for us, let us know that riders were even following the route. There is always a time like this during the event when there seems to be calm and not much is going on. That all came to a halt for a bit around 1:00pm.

MG and I had been sitting there for around an hour, watching it pour rain and yakking away about life and whatnot. Then a call from a rider quitting. Then about 20 minutes later, another, then another in quick succession. It was starting to appear that the towns riders were reaching that had anything to offer them were appealing as places to end their rides. They hadn't been to any "real" towns since the checkpoint, so towns like Madrid @ mile 59 and Adel at mile 89 were seemingly good places to stop getting wet and cold. I should note that we need to add the 46 miles to Checkpoint 1 and add that to those mileages I just stated.

MG and I eventually decided to move on. We went down to go by the Holliwell Bridge and onward to very hilly parts of an area used by the CIRREM course and the Spotted Horse Ultra. Eventually we came upon the last B road before Checkpoint #2. There was a tiny turnaround area for a nature trail where we decided to park again. We stayed here for quite some time.

Next: A Descent Into A Cold, Watery Hell


J Fry said...

I remember that turn quite well on recon! I think the same comment came from both of us!

Zach Bonzer said...

I was one of those that dropped near Madrid. The rain was getting to me and I could only think about the headwind back east. Also only being 30 miles from home played a final factor. I was not mentally ready for that. Bailed after the Bridge and road the tailwinds to Woodward. It was an awesome route from the 1/3 I road.