Saturday, January 11, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #27

In mid-November, the idea of Trans Iowa was hatched. The year was 2004. In the ten years since then there have been many stories and memories. These posts will tell of the most prominent ones to my mind. Maybe I'll even spill the beans on some things you never knew....

Eventual T.I.v5 winner, Joe Meiser, (in black), going through CP#1
 Before I continue with the remembrances past Checkpoint #1 in T.I.v5, I have to go back a bit and remind you all of the "imposter" from the pre-race meeting. (See here if you missed that)

I think it was somewhere up the road past Checkpoint #1 when we got a call from someone. It was two of our fine Checkpoint #1 volunteers, Katy Studel and Cale Wenthur, out for a ride after the checkpoint had closed down. They had a strange tale to share with David and I.

As Katy and Cale were riding they came across what looked like a lone cyclist stopped in the road at an intersection. They rode up to investigate, because besides the T.I.v5 riders, there weren't going to be very many, if any, cyclists out riding. once they got closer, much to their amazement, they recognized the gear and race number as someone from T.I.v5!

How could that be?, they wondered, and soon it became clear what had happened. The woman that had jumped in to claim the only no-show spot in T.I.v5 was disoriented. Instead of being where she thought she was, she was 60-70 miles East of that point in an entirely different county. How it came to be that she got so far off track, we do not know, but road names and numbers often repeat themselves from county to county, and she had found that some of the route duplicated names, but the mileages to turns were off. Katy and Cale convinced her that she would be better to pedal the few miles back in to Williamsburg and call it a day rather than to fight the losing battle of getting back on route only to miss the cut off time. (Which she surely would have.)

The prototype Salsa La Cruz Ti that J. Meiser rode to victory in T.I.v5
So, back to North English, where David and I waited in the chill air of a Saturday morning for some sign of the leaders from Trans Iowa v5. It seemed like we waited forever, too, as the ride pace had slowed from the early hours. Eventually, two riders rounded the turn to the paved road leading to the convenience store.

It was Charlie Farrow and Joe Meiser. We were a bit surprised by Joe's being up front. I had been told Joe was a "motor", but I didn't peg him for a front runner in Trans Iowa. Not far behind were Dave Praaman and a few others. They all went into the convenience store to buy resupplies. When Joe popped back out I was plying him with questions about how things were going and he was a bit jumbled in his thoughts, leading me to become confused and concerned about some of his statements. In the end, that was not important,  but what did happen immediately after was a big turning point in the event, and David and I just happened to be on hand to witness it. It all went down right there in front of the convenience store.

The scene at North English. (Image by Cornbread)

I had just finished trying to figure out what Joe Meiser was trying to say when a couple of cyclists rolled up quickly. One, on a black bike dressed in a black kit from head to toe started screaming, (literally), "Let's go! Let's go, Charlie!". I turned to look and the fellow, whose gaze was fixed on Charlie Farrow, who himself was aghast at the sudden intensity level increase, and watched in utter amazement as he literally swallowed an entire banana in one gulp and then immediately began to rant, "Let's go, let's go!"

Charlie, who was trying to fill some water bottles from a gallon water jug, hesitated for a moment, then quickly mounted his bike in chase of Joe Meiser, who had just pedaled away. Dave Praaman, who had just emerged from the convenience store, got mounted up quickly and gave chase as well.  Four riders up the road, and it was chaotic, then suddenly, the intensity level was gone. The air was less tense, you could really feel it. As other riders casually rolled in, the pace and emotions were no where near as high as they were when a crazed man in a black kit came screaming into the convenience store in North English.

In fact, the whole scene had been so quick and confusing that David and I just had to get back into the Honda to go see just who was in that four up break. So, we took off, all abuzz about the turn of events and wondering how in the world they might stay away when we figured half of them hadn't even resupplied properly, or at all. Out of the four, we surmised that Meiser was the only rider that could have gotten everything he needed before the chaos erupted back in town. As we passed the group, one dangled off the back a bit. It was the mad man in black. David checked the roster against the number and figured it was Tim Ek! I knew that name from T.I.v3, but again, a new face for the front of a Trans Iowa for sure.

Okay, so as I recall, at this point in the event I felt all sorts of things. I was concerned about some things Joe Meiser had said, but as I stated, they were eventually shown to be simple miscommunications, and then I was told Trans Iowa Radio wasn't posting right, and that weighed on my mind. Then we still had checkpoints to man and roads to check over, so while it was going really, really well, I was also not totally relaxed, or I was unwilling to let myself be, I suppose. Waiting for the other foot to fall, I guess. Whatever it was, we forged ahead on dusty roads under sunny skies to Checkpoint #2 to make sure all was in order.

Next: A busy convenience store clerk gets cranky.....


MG said...

Eki can be a little intense at times, but he's one of the nicest and most genuine people I know.

I can't wait to read your next installment... I remember that convenience store well.

Unknown said...

I was so excited that I had caught the front of the race after being in LAST place with a flat tire early on. Some call it intensity, but I know it was pure FEAR! And, things only got more scary from that point forward. That race was one of the best experiences of my entire life!

Steve Fuller said...

IMO, one of the best things about having Eki in a group is his intensity and his focus.