Friday, December 27, 2013

Rear View 2013: Highlights- Part 2

Yep........another boring year end retrospective! Oh well......that's the time of year it is and what I have done most of the years I have been blogging, so there! This will be a bit different in that I am going to just talk about major things I was excited about throughout the year.

I'm not even going to put these into any sort of logical order either. Random......right off the "read only memory" that sits between my ears! Okay, so here we go....

The Renegade Gents Race: Well, here's another event I just can't wait to do every year now, the Renegade Gents Race. It is a "team time trial" event where a team of five riders has to start together, pass a checkpoint together, and finish together, all on a 65-ish mile gravel course.

My Renegade Gents as we raced with the wind. It was a bit tougher coming back!
 I was asked to join a team for the inaugural event three years ago by Steve Fuller, a friend I've made through gravel riding, but as for the other three guys, I had never met them. Of course, this was also going to be part of that first event's challenge for me, but as it turned out, we all got along famously, and I now have new friends in Des Moines I never had before I rode in the first Gents race. 

So, this event has always been special to me for that reason alone, but it is another of the cool, grassroots cycling events that brings like-minded folks together for good times. And let me tell ya- I've had some really good times at the Gents races!

This past Spring's event featured nice temperatures, but a strong Southerly wind that was going to be quite a challenge coming back in. We stuck together as a team though and persevered to claim another finish with all riders intact. We ain't fast, but we are gravel road riding brothers, have a good time, and stick it out to the end. Once again, I plan on returning for another round if my team will have me!

 Trans Iowa V9: 

Gee..........there is so much I could say about this event. But I will try to restrain myself! The deal was that- for myself- I managed to preside over another successful event by all accounts. It came off really, really well.

That's saying a lot when I consider that the last Trans Iowa was a record for starters, a record for finishers, and I had probably the largest volunteer corp I had ever had for a Trans Iowa. So, the event passed a lot of milestones, but let me tell you- there were a couple of near disasters! Short of cue sheets at Checkpoint #1, my volunteers made smart, on the spot decisions and got things squared away all on their own. I am so indebted to those folks! The wheels could have come off the event right there had they not been on the ball. Then there was the whiskey fiasco that I had to deal with just outside of Brooklyn Iowa. Man! Had a cop stopped to see what I was doing, it could have gone all wrong right then and there. But nothing happened, and I saved all the releases from being 100% ruined. (More on those stories and more when I get to T.I.v9 in my Trans Iowa Tales series next year.)

Morning fog conditions at T.I.v9 provided for some spectacular scenes.

A middle of the road meeting to decompress before more Trans Iowa duties
The finish line was at a restored barn which went very well. (Image by W. Kilburg)

 The Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational:

My annual ride was all arranged by the awesome "Slender Fungus" guys this year. I love this ride and the good times it has produced and the really tough rides that I have been on  over the years. This year proved to be one of those rides I wasn't going to finish. Looking back it started at Odin's when I pushed myself to my limits then came back and didn't give myself anytime to recover. That's when my wife thinks I contracted some sort of viral deal which was kicking my rear end during and after the GTDRI.

There were more riders on this GTDRI than on any previous one, and the terrain of Jackson County was spectacular. I have to also back up a hair here and say that the night before in Sabula was one of the nicest Summer evenings I have had in quite some time. Bombfire Pizza and walking around that river town with new friends was a great time.

The ride went well, (for what I made of it), and my savior that day was Chris Paulsen, who had to bail out and head back toward the beginning of the route. I decided to cut things short, as I was suffering like a dog and really had no power for the hills that were only going to get worse. Chris rode me back into a town near by, and not only that, he ferried me back to the start after making sure I had been fed and cooled down at his rustic, beautiful farmstead.

The rest of the intrepid riders ended up bagging the entire ride, but not until after dark, which would have put me into arrears getting to work the next day. So, for two reasons, It was good for me to head home when I did. I hated it though, missing doing the entire ride, and the GTDRI stands as one of my bittersweet cycling moments in 2013.

Surly's ECR: I really liked this bike!
Interbike 2013: 

The 2013 version of Interbike was a highly anticipated event for many since it was moving down "The Strip" to the Mandalay, where the hopes were that somehow things would magically be better than they were in the Sands Convention Center.

Ummm........hello! This is still Las Vegas, ya know? On The Strip? that'll change things by moving the venue a few miles!

So, anyway, the event! Well, it was pretty much a wash as to the good vs bad of it. I liked that we had less of The Strip to deal with, and it was easy to get into and out of the Mandalay, but the interior layout of the event stunk. They can work on that part though. In the end, I think it was a good move.

The highlight, as always with this deal, is the people and riding bikes. I rode a few nice rigs, but none more curious than the Surly ECR. The 29+ wheels and puffy tires seem good, but in an odd way. Why not get a lightweight fat bike and "ECR" yourself to wherever ya wanna go? Then again, this could be the best loose, deep gravel travel set up ever, (with maybe the possible switch to drop bars.) Maybe an ECR-ized Fargo?   Anyway, I digress........Interbike. A big part of the year, another yawner of a show, and a lot of cool folks that I only get to see once in awhile. Now Cross Vegas on the other hand, that was rad! The best part of the trip by far! (Thanks Brian Fornes!)

Trans Iowa v10 recon
Other Stuff:

Well, there were a bunch of Ingawanis Woods rides, a bunch of Trans Iowa v10 registration fun, recon, and a Trans Iowa clinic! Snow came along and I got new tires for By-Tor and signed up for Triple D again. Cue sheets to set up, Grinnell venues and hotels to get arranged for next year's Trans Iowa, and more of that sort of stuff. I got a new bicycle or two along the way, and had fun fixing up and wrenching on the fleet here. It's been a busy, busy year.

Next up.......looking forward....

1 comment:

Steve Fuller said...

i am glad that our Gent's Race team has worked out. No plans on changing the lineup anytime in the future. We get along well before, during and after, even when one of us is having a rough time. :)