Friday, May 04, 2018

Trans Iowa v14: The Drama

Barns for Jason- Taken backwards out of the sunroof. Nailed it!
With the action up front in the event having passed through the bridge we were hanging out on it was time to get a move on. Tony and Mike had corners to mark and we had to keep ahead of the riders.

The day was now full-on warm and Summer-like. Not too crazy as far as heat, but t-shirt weather for sure. We noted breezes, strong ones, in spots, but then at other places it would be calm. Weird.

Then we started getting fairly regular DNF calls. Several were from folks reaching CP#1 too late. Then an alarming set of crashes were reported. Nothing super serious, but alarming none the less. One fellow crashed so hard he broke off his saddle and brake lever but said "....miraculously I'm okay." MG and I pondered this and we really had no solid answer as to what might be going on here. Trans Iowa isn't an event where you typically see crashes, but they have happened from time to time.

We ended up over taking the leaders coming South on L Avenue North of North English. If you want to experience some tough hills, go there! I've used that section of road in Trans Iowa several times. In fact, I mentioned to MG that a famous image of him riding these hills happened back in v10. He was thrilled to see that same section again. Ahh.......memories! 

Barns for Jason- The TI version
 It was in this section we found Greg Gleason floundering off the back. We ran up alongside of him and he said he was in "survival mode". Later on we heard that others who had been riding with him earlier were feeling he wasn't breathing well. Whatever it was, MG and I were a bit bummed for him. Meanwhile Walter and Stefano Tomaselli were chasing Luke Wilson who had about 20 minutes on the chasers by this point. Some ways back behind Greg was Mathew Kutilek who had been riding on his own for some time since leaving CP#1.

Along about this time, noon or after, I believe, more DNF calls started up. The most alarming one was news of Kate Ankofski's crash which had apparently rendered her unconscious, according to reports from the riders. My volunteers, John and Celeste Mathias were dispatched to fetch Kate while Warren Wiebe and Keisuke Inoue stayed with her till help arrived. Kate was observed, treated and released at the hospital with bruises and a clean bill of health as far as concussions go.

Simultaneously, as I was gathering info on Kate's case, I was contacted by a mysterious person not in Trans Iowa, but claiming her Labrador was drawn off by cyclists and that the dog was missing. I was a bit befuddled as to just how that was an issue I needed to deal with, but I sent along images of the route cues for this person's area so they could search for the dog. Ultimately, who knows where the dog really went, and I never heard whether or not anything came of that.

This sign was 90° off so it was indicating the wrong information.
Then MG was saying something about not turning, but going straight instead while my head was down recording information. I called for a stop and it was obvious to my eyes that we were off course here. We went back to the last corner and looked at the signage, but it didn't jive with the cues. I knew the cues were correct, but what gives?! Well, after further investigation, it became apparent that the sign was removed from it's sleeved base, turned 90°, and replaced. By design or by default, I know not, but it was off. Great!

I called in Mike and Steve to mark it with stakes, hoping riders would see those and make the correct turn. I never heard whether that tripped anyone up, so it must have been mostly effective. Meanwhile, after the corner was staked out, a driver pulled up to ask if we were okay. That was kind, and I figured that was that, but then the guy gets out of his car and starts hawking the local Amish shops, almost as if he were a salesman for them. He was carrying on a little longer than was comfortable, but finally he got back in his car and went along his way. Weird!

But that wasn't all! Oh no! Luke Wilson had passed by and not long afterward he called me with a report that the road out of the next town was "torn up". What!?? Well, I asked Luke, "Does it look like you could get through?", to which he replied, yes, he was sure he could. Then I asked, "Are there any workers around?", to which he replied that there were none he could see, so I told him to go for it. We came over and witnessed him coming through, and we stayed long enough to find that Walter, Stefano, and now Greg Gleason (?!) were chasing yet. They got through fine, so we left that and moved along. We did note that Luke Wilson had extended his lead by this point to about an hour!

High Fives all around!
With these navigational challenges addressed, which were totally unexpected, we moved on from the mid-afternoon drama into an area that presented what we knew would be the biggest mind bender of them all.

Over the weekend I am posting the next "Minus Ten Review" and another edition of "The Touring Series". Look for this tale to be taken back up on Monday. That next post in my Trans Iowa v14 report will be called "Left On 120th "


Robert Hingtgen said...

Great reports of the final TI!! I can't wait to pick up the story on Monday!

Todd Watchmaker said...

Loving this GT! Thanks.

Katharine Ankofski said...

I'm so sorry for the scare, GT. Your volunteers are the best of the best, and the riders you've drawn to this event are, too -- I'm so thankful for their assistance, and for a body that managed to stay in tact! Cleared for outdoor riding today! Woot woot!

Guitar Ted said...

@Kate Ankofski- Oh Kate! That's awesome news. Thanks for sharing it with me. Ride On!

Stefano said...

Early on Walter, Greg and I had a few rough patches and decided to ride our own paces. I had a particularly bad moment after Luke rode away from me and my stomach decided to stop digesting food. Shortly after the 2nd resupply, Walter and I missed a turn and figured it out about a mile down the road. When we finally came together I think we all sorted our physical issues out and worked really well together.

As a side note, we were convinced that the construction section was an intentional artificial b-road / forced hike-a-bike.

Guitar Ted said...

@Stefano- Hey, thank you for the details on what was going on out there. By the way, I was dismayed about the torn up road and we tried to find an easy, reasonable way around it, but there was nothing. Had that been impassable we would have had a BIG problem on our hands in the form of a major reroute.