Tuesday, May 02, 2017

Trans Iowa v13: From Chaos To Calm

T.I.v13 cyclists Luke Wilson (L) and Dave Roll prepare for the day's riding.
2:20am, Best Western Motel room 202, Grinnell Iowa: 

I am restless. My head hurts and I feel ill. I raise my right arm to check my FitBit watch, but before I can activate the back lit screen a voice from behind me says, "It's 2:20".

I was startled. Matt was already awake as well! He then got up and headed to the restroom. I swung my legs out over the bed. Uggh..... That sickly feeling in the head. Is this 1982 again? Am I waking up in a dorm room at UNI? Noooo....... You just had too much of that Peace Tree Blonde Fatale last night, you knucklehead! " Hey....what can I say. I was "stress relieving" after a couple of hard weeks with friends and acquaintances. The mood the night before had been jovial and loose despite the impending weather forecast which was calling for rain, gale force winds, and cold enough temperatures that hypothermic conditions would be present for much of the event. But just then, all I knew was that I had a major league hangover.

Matt and I struggled to get it together, but we were checked out by 2:50am and on our way down to the.......... Wait a minute! I was suddenly in a complete panic. Where did I park my truck?!! Where was all of my materials I needed to function as the "leader" of this nutty event? I didn't know. After a few panic filled moments I realized I parked the truck down by the opposite corner from where I had when I first came to the motel and all my stuff was inside it. Wow. I didn't need that sort of a "jump start" to my day, but at least I was back in business and ready to go down to the start area in front of Bikes To You.

It took a while but eventually folks started trickling in to the start area.
We arrived shortly after 3:00am and there was one van parked in the street and no other signs that the start of a 300 plus mile endurance cycling event was about to take place. Within a few more minutes a couple of cyclists rolled up. One was a local-to-me rider named Dave Roll. We chatted for a bit. More folks start to roll up and cars arrive with bikes attached and riders start pouring out, getting kitted up. A nervous, tense atmosphere begins to build toward the 4am start.

Conditions were wonderful at the start line. It was breezy, for sure, but cool and dry otherwise. We would at least get in a chunk of the day without rain. Radar showed that the impending doom was still in Missouri at that point, but the inevitable was coming, and it was on everyone's mind.

Hey Wally! We missed ya this year. We tried to honor you with this "Kilburg Hero Shot" taken by Matt Gersib with my Oly.
I wanted to get MG's Subaru out in the street to line up everyone but I couldn't find him. Oh no! The fleeting thought of MG disappearing and my having to steal his vehicle ran through my mind. More panic! Gah! Turns out that taking a multi-vitamin on an empty, hungover stomach may be a cause for a visit to the Wells Fargo Bank's parking lot to.....well, leave a deposit, shall we say? At any rate, MG appeared shortly afterward and we called up the riders to get my last bits of "Fatherly Advice" and we then counted the minutes down to 4am.

This is the last time I see all of these folks in one place. In many ways, the start of Trans Iowa is the first "goodbye" for me. I have deep, mixed emotions as I look into the faces of these riders. Then it is time to go.......

Beep-beep-bee-beep-beep. Beep! Beep! MG does a creative blast from the Subaru's horn and we're off. The roll out to the country and then we're hitting the gas and suddenly we are enveloped in the dark, peaceful calmness of pre-dawn Iowa countryside. The chaos and camaraderie which was happening only moments before is now gone. We look back and see the growing glow of  LED light coming from below the horizon behind us and then suddenly explode into a stream of intense pinpoints of light. MG says, "Look at that! It's like a stream of life". 

Indeed it is.

Next: Red Dawn In The Morning


Tyler Loewens said...

That Blonde Fatale is deadly stuff! Goes down really well for a beer with that high ABV!

Ari said...

It was a true blessing it did not rain for the start! Btw that photo looks great and we all missed Wally.

Mac said...

I've had a bit too much of that Blond Fatale on occasion myself. It's enough to make someone want to go bike packing, with a stop in Knoxville...