|Didn't get it too muddy after all!|
Note: All images by Wally Kilburg and Guitar Ted. Click to make bigger.
Saturday April 28th, Approximately 11:40am: I am in total panic mode as I counter-steer into my out of control slide on an Iowa B Road....
That was close! While trying to avoid the B Road on course, I ended up finding another one. I was a bit distracted just at that moment though.
Driving ahead of the riders as a last check for surprises, to mark out re-routes or unmarked corners, and to monitor the progress of riders makes for a lot to keep on top of. Added to that are the cell phone calls from riders dropping out, texts from Wally and George, texts from photographer Steve Fuller, and texts from riders dropping out. Of course, there is the odd "Trans Iowa Radio" post that I was making. Many decisions, sometimes many at once.
Well, the phone seemed to go in streaks with being really busy, and it happened just at the "wrong time" as I was trying to grab the roster sheet to make a mark by a riders name who was on the phone trying to DNF. I looked up and BAM! I was in it. A B Road and now my truck was sliding out of control. I threw the phone down and got real busy driving. I literally went a half a mile sideways and the rest fish tailing with mud slinging up in the air so high it was clearing the truck.
It was touch and go there, but I pulled it all the way for a mile to solid road. Whew! Let's not do that again!
|C. Tri leads the Braun Bros on a flatter section of T.I.V8|
For the time being, Troy Krause, Eric Brunt, and John Gorilla teamed up but were several minutes down on the leaders. Then a group of approximately eight riders containing Dennis Grelk, Mike Johnson, and others were farther behind. It was also a spot where riders would get at least a 100 mile ride in. several noted this and DNF'ed at Hedrick. Citing the mornings energy expenditures as putting them into a deficit, they decided to call it quits while still bagging an Iowa gravel "hundy".
For many that stopped here, it was the furthest they had ever gone, or the furthest they had ever gone into a Trans Iowa. A win either way you look at it. I was still stoked on the numbers that were still in the event at such a point though. The weather was cooperating to such a degree that I wondered aloud if this might be the year we break the record for finishers, which was set in T.I.V3 at 24.
|Riders grinding out the miles at T.I.V8|
Approximately 140 miles into T.I.V8 the course came through Agency, Iowa. What a weird name for a town, eh? I liked that we went through there just because of that. Anyway, I swung over to the convenience store, just off the route, and cleaned out my truck which was swimming in aluminum energy drink cans and Clif Bar wrappers. I was about to leave when I spied a Ford SUV which curiously had similar gravel/mud spray all over it to my truck. "Hmm....must be someone with Trans Iowa.", I thought. Sure enough, it was our "official photographer", Steve Fuller.
Steve and I compared notes on the day and then he invited me down the road from town to sit with him and wait for the leaders to come through. On our way there, Steve was driving ahead of me when he pulled over and motioned for me to open the door to my truck. He then said he was seeing tire tracks up the road and that the leaders may have passed by already. What!
|The descent to the Des Moines River out of Agency, IA|
I decided to race on up the road to verify this. Sure enough, there were tire tracks going down, across the Des Moines River bridge, and down the road on the other side. When I turned the corner to ascend the opposite bank, there they were!
They seemed to be just getting started after a brief stop, but however that may be, I didn't have time to stop and chat. I had to race up the road a couple miles to a corner that needed marking.
I barely staked in the last lathe board when here they were on my tail! I jumped in the truck and took off like the hounds of Hell were after me. Then it hit me that another corner needed marking, since there was no sign, and I beat a path to that corner and staked it out. Whew! No sign of them and I jumped into the truck, sped up the road a bit more, and stopped to try and make a quick "Trans Iowa Radio" post at 2:11pm, but I had to cut it short when I saw them coming in my rear view mirror. Dang! These guys were flying up the road. They had 40 miles to go to Checkpoint Bravo, and at the rate they were eating up the road, I was thinking the sub-24 hour Trans Iowa was going to happen.
Well, I wasn't going to let them catch me again, so I took a bit faster approach to doing the final road checking and headed straight for Checkpoint Bravo where Wally and George would be hanging out.
Next: Station To Station