Thursday, May 03, 2018

Trans Iowa v14: Hanging Out At Trans Iowa

Barns for Jason- The TI Version
We left CP#1 and passed the lead group shortly afterward. Then we were simply out on our own. The route actually went closer to Grinnell again before turning North then Eastward along the Tama/Powesheik County line toward a Level B Road I always have liked.

The day was now warming up nicely from the chill of dawn. The Sun rode up high into the sky and the breezes were light. The countryside was strangely quiet. I felt as though a peace was over the lands of Eastern Powesheik County. Where were the farmers I was warning the riders about? Only a lone Ag-Gator spraying a field was seen to break the idyllic scenery of that morning.

MG and I were chatting about life, love, and the pursuit of gravelly happiness. We came upon that Level B road I mentioned and it did not disappoint. Although it was easily traversed, due to the Summer-like conditions, it was still beautiful in that rustic, pre-automobile era way that only certain Level B roads can impart. One could easily imagine running a team of horses pulling a heavy farm wagon through the slot cut into the Earth here.

Imagine this with wagon ruts. It isn't hard to do. (Apologies to J. Lennon)
Near the end of that mile of beautiful Iowa dirt road we stopped by a grove of trees to have a "nature break" and we fell to chatting about "The End". You know, the end of Trans Iowa? Well, MG wanted to express his feelings and in that moment the tears flowed. I don't mind saying that it was a special moment between two great friends.

The whole weekend was about "soaking it in" for me. I mean, I knew it was the last time for all of this stuff. The good and the bad. The hanging out wasn't something I ever relished enough in years past. I was always feeling a bit guilty because I felt responsible for the outcomes associated with the event. This last time I relaxed about that and tried to just "be", if that makes any sense. If there was one take-away from the entire weekend for me it was this- I should have done this years ago. Worrying never got anything accomplished. Not that I shouldn't "care" about things. But caring and worrying are not the same thing. Wish I could have discerned that a little earlier. There were a few things that happened later which brought this home for me, but that will come in the next post.

Barns for Jason- The TI version
Well, anyway, it was a special time there at the end of that unknown dirt road in the middle of nowhere. It may have not been a special place to anyone else, but to me and MG it was now sacred ground. Something I'll always cherish. But good times must end, just like this event would, so we gathered it back up and moved on. Not before a huge semi-tractor trailer rig went by us and baptized us in a thin layer of dirt though. Somehow that seemed appropriate.

We wound our way down into Iowa County and on some narrow, almost farm lane-like roads. This would take us near to Marengo, and we dropped South of Highway 6 into some wild territory. The turns came quick so navigation was the theme of this stretch. That was until we came upon the bit of road that has a "Road Closed" sign at the intersection.

This was the first "navigational challenge" of Trans Iowa v14. Everyone passed this test, at least I think so. I never heard anyone say it threw them for a loop, but adventure bicyclists generally don't let "Road Closed" signs rattle them. The road was well maintained right up to where a short, chip seal covered steel bridge jumped over a typical creek. I was pretty excited to show it to MG, who also likes finding stuff like this that cyclists can utilize out in the country. As we approached MG spied Tony's Ford truck parked on the other side of the bridge. We would see those guys then and maybe hang out a bit on the bridge.

The meeting was held on this "closed to automotive traffic" bridge.
Sure enough, Tony and Mike emerged from the Ford and strode up to the bridge from the South as MG and I met them from the North. We chatted about things we had seen and had heard so far into the event. Then, "Hey, want a beer?", and then more conversation ensued. Again, it was a fun time.I'm sure the farmer who was doing field work there was wondering what the heck the conflab was all about. We weren't causing any trouble though, and with farm work pressing in, and time being short, I am sure that farmer wasn't going to stop to question our motives.

Luke Wilson, solo breakaway at 10:49 in the morning?
Suddenly we saw a cyclist. It was Luke Wilson, solo! What? We were surprised and stoked to see this. Luke has been in other Trans Iowa events and is well liked by almost everyone I know that is aware of him. He's just is generally a good dude and you want to pull for him. His humble yet powerful style of cycling commands respect and admiration. So, we were pretty happy to see this development. We stuck around, marveling at this new development until the chase group showed up about twelve minutes later. Okay then! This was a big deal now.

Next: The Drama


phillip Cowan said...

Have you considered passing TI on to another director? Would anyone be willing to take on the daunting responsibility? Do you fear that it might morph into something you never wanted? It seems such a shame to let it die. If you've already answered these questions please forgive me I haven't had time this week to properly read thru your posts.

Guitar Ted said...

@phillip Cowan- Those are some great questions. I think that perhaps it would be best to make a proper blog post about that, because there are probably more people thinking those things that are not making the effort to ask.

Look for this directly after the last post on the event next week.

DT said...

Thanks to both of you for asking and addressing this. I was thinking the same thing, as I'm sure many others were. But I wanted to give you some more time to let the buzz of this year's event (and decision!) wear off a bit.