If you missed the first post involving my look back at the decade, you can see that here. In that post I explained how it was that I discovered that 2014 was a seminal year in my history from this past decade. The year was mostly packed with things on the back-end, but you'll get it as I go along. Let's dive in!
The year pretty much kicked off with a bang as I finished my third Triple D fat bike race in a row. This was a lot of fun to do, but after experiencing it three times, I felt I had milked as much fun out of the event as I could. This was my last attempt at that event. On a sad note, a very good friend of mine died who I had been playing music with in the band from my church. Still miss you, Larry!
Moving on, a really devastating event happened in July at the annual Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational when Dan Buettner and I were struck by a drunk driver along the route. The situation was, without a doubt, bizarre. Not only were we struck as we were walking our bikes alongside the road, but we had a heck of a time getting emergency vehicles there as we were in a remote area and RAGBRAI was also going through at that time. Thankfully, Dan was okay, I was treated and released at an area hospital, but I still have the effects of this event impacting my daily life to this day. By the way, the driver of the vehicle was apprehended and convicted of a DUI. This despite his leaving the scene of the crash.
|These were some of the volunteer firemen who responded to the 911 call after my getting hit.|
Speaking of Trans Iowa, I tried to make it so T.I.v10 would be the last Trans Iowa, but afterward I was prevailed upon to continue it. Again- these tales will be shared in future "Trans Iowa Stories" posts.
I also started sharing experiences with my son, Jacob, at Iowa Speedway. The first one was an very memorable camping event where my then 11 year old son and I were stuck in a two-man backpacking tent in an epic thunderstorm as we camped overnight at Rock Creek State Park. That's an experience I don't think either one of us will be forgetting!
In the Fall of '14 I held the first "Geezer Ride". This was an idea I had to encourage first timer gravel rides, and have these rides be super-chill, slow events where no one would be intimidated, or left behind. There have been several Geezer Rides since, but none more successful, perhaps, in the original mission, than the first.
I had a woman show up, in her late 40's, and she had just begun to ride. As in just a few months before this event, for the first time in her life! She showed up on a Specialized mountain bike, and she was telling me to "just go on ahead, don't wait for me!". Well, of course, we did wait for her. It was a slow 40-ish miles around the Amana Colonies, but afterward, when she had completed the event, she was elated. She told us it was the best day she had ever had. While I doubt that was the best day she had ever had, the sentiment was there, and I felt proud that this ride had produced such a result right out of the gate. I hope this woman is still riding, but even if she isn't, this was a high point for me in 2014 and for the decade.
On the bicycle front I got my Blackborow DS, a fat bike I still own, and certainly one of my favorite bikes. I also got the Tamland 2 gravel bike, a bicycle I helped to direct the design of. This was such an odd and very proud thing I was involved with. The Raleigh design team called me on a conference call in 2012. They asked me what I would do if I had free reign to design a marketable gravel bike. The Tamland was the result. I probably will never have such an opportunity to do that again. And by the way- I bought my Tamlannd 2 from the shop where I worked at. I never was given one by Raleigh. But I'm completely okay with that.
|Joel Dyke was honored with this special brew in 2016. I miss him. #biggrin|
This one hit me hard. While I could never have said that Joel was my close friend, he was super influential on me and my views concerning Trans Iowa and gravel events in particular. Many of you don't know this, but Joel was "johnny-on-the-spot" to be the first to encourage me if he detected a sense of me being down about Trans Iowa. He obviously was reading this blog, and his perceptive encouragements were valued greatly by me. Trans Iowa wouldn't have been the same without him.
At the close of 2014, a couple of major shifts in my semi-professional life as a writer/reviewer/website owner happened. First off, I got out of ownership and contributing to "Twenty Nine Inches". While I know that many people benefited from my efforts there, I was wanting out from underneath that burden for years. In fact, I never should have ever agreed to Tim Grahl's offers in the first place. That was a bad decision on my part, minus the great, lasting relationships I gained from having agreed to those ill-conceived notions of his. Anyway- I am still torn about that. I get that I have things I would not have had otherwise, but I also know there was a ton of stress, worry, and loss due to those days of working on TNI. The release I felt at the end of it all was liberating.
The second big deal was merging "Gravel Grinder News" with Ben Welnak's RidingGravel.com . This has worked out a heck of a lot better for me than my previous gig and I really still enjoy it.
Finally, I was gifted a Surly 1X1 by a departing co-worker at the shop where I was wrenching. This was a bike that had been passed on from mechanic to mechanic and I was the sixth "possessor" of this rig. This is the sort of gesture which I really am touched by. While the 1X1 is a size too small for me in reality, I am super-stoked to be able to use it. Thanks to the previous mechanics: Vance, Jeff, Carl, Adam, and Brian.