Sunday, January 19, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #30

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....

Farrow made CP#3, but didn't look to go much further- Image by P. Buchanan
 So here we were, bouncing down the road in the Honda, trying to get through as much of the course as we could to get some possible shut eye, and all I can think of is how I am sooooo frustrated with that damn rattling hatchback! Then suddenly, the noise disappears. I look at the road more intently and say, "Is this a B Road?", to which David replies in the affirmative. What the.....? And then here's another one! Another B road? David explained that there were several along this stretch, but he thought they were not too bad and threw them into the course anyway, since he felt it needed more dirt. I was a bit alarmed at the fact that I didn't know about this until that moment, but at 12:30am, what are ya gonna do? At least they were dry, and they silenced that dratted rattling hatchback!

As mentioned in the last post, we hit Belle Plaine for a quickie stop, then swung over just North of Marengo approximately at 1:00am in the morning, when we decided to call it quits and head on over to David's place for a planned hour nap. It sounded.......luxurious! Almost like playing hooky, but I was in for it, since I had been up for almost 24 hours anyway. Having that nap might just reinvigorate me for the finish.

We laid down sometime just past 1:00am, and maybe a half an hour goes by, where I am juuuuust about fully asleep, and my cell rattles off. I related in the post on Trans Iowa Radio, (here), about what that first call was about. (I got the order wrong, the call from the lady-friend was first!) Anyway, after some thoughts go through my head about that after the call, I start to doze off only to be awakened full once again by Joe Meiser who politely asks, "Did I wake you up?", and I returned, "Only a little bit....", and Joe proceeds to ask for clarification on some of the cues. They were lost. Joe didn't say so, but I knew right where they went astray, and so did David. We knew that by that single blunder in the night that the sub-24 hour Trans Iowa was now out of reach, but by how much? We weren't sure how hard they would press for that, or could press for it. However; once Joe was off the phone, and I knew his approximate position, I was crunching numbers and was increasingly concerned about not having anyone at the finish line when they came in. I didn't sleep a wink after that call!

One of my all-time favorite images from Trans Iowa- Matt Wills by Cornbread
I barely remember David finally crawling out of his sack to get up and we were hustling to get a move on to get to the finish line sometime as close to 4am as we could. I barely remember the cold, the darkness, and waiting, waiting.......

Then another unfortunate lack of memory here. I don't know if it was the half-nap/half-awake period that ruined my memory, or what, but when Meiser led in Ek and Praaman, I have no clear memory of that moment. Nothing. I understand it was a pretty emotional, meaningful moment, but I don't recall anything of it and I don't even think we have any photographs of that either. Too bad....

I do recall later on though, and the finishes were all really cool. I remember a guy, (I won't give his name here, because, well.....), sitting in the middle of the finish line crying. I remember MG, elated, tired, stretched out on the pavement. I remember Matt Wills, tired, but stoked to have bagged his second T.I. finish. It was an awesome morning, and it was getting downright hot. There were beers, people hanging out, chatting, laughing.......

Then an amazing moment happened. Someone shouted that Farrow was coming in. We'd heard by this time he had been spotted in Belle Plaine, looking hale and that by all accounts, he should finish. It sounded incredible to us, given the horror stories from the leaders on his condition before hitting CP#3 in the evening. How could anyone recover from all the stomach issues and still be passing guys to finish a Trans Iowa? Well, it was unbelievable until we actually saw Charlie roll in.

Hanging out at the finish of Trans Iowa v5- Image by Cornbread
Someone or another finally woke MG up and took him away, or he'd have slept here for awhile! Image by Cornbread

Farrow Finishes! Image by Cornbread
It was a "WTF" moment for all who were aware of the story. Charlie Farrow wrapped in ad flyers slept for about 3 hours, recovered, drank, ate, and chased back to finish T.I.v5 in 6th place in 31hrs, 16min. Truly the most amazing, gutty ride I'll likely ever be a witness to. How he finished so strong after such adversity is a tale that will teach me lessons for the rest of my life. Thank you Mr. Farrow!

We also had our second ever fixed gear finisher in Ben Shockey, a feat no one else has accomplished since then. Finally, a weary but elated Paul Jacobson bagged his Trans Iowa finish after four attempts. I was really proud of him, as I knew he had been really wanting to get that finish out of the way, and it kept alluding him for one reason or another.

Well, it was a glorious, memorable, fun, emotional, and satisfying morning. Trans Iowa v5 went so smoothly, it was amazing. Sure- there were things that didn't satisfy us, but that was a minor thought at the finish line. Lots of smiles and thank yous, I do remember that. Eventually, all good things must come to an end, and Trans Iowa v5 wound down slowly, but it did wind down.

David and I waited out everyone and eventually the last folks left the side street North of Williamsburg leaving David and I to chat privately for a while. We marveled at the event's twists and turns. We were mutually amazed by the way it worked so well- the short lead out to checkpoint #1, the three checkpoints, the tweaks to ensure we were having a self-supported event. We recounted the finishes, Charlie's heroic ride, and the pride we felt by having facilitated the event in the way we did. Then David did something that rather shocked me. He stuck out his hand and said, "V6?...", and I smiled, took his hand to shake it, and said nothing. I just remember the look on his face, and I knew we were in for another great Trans Iowa in 2010.

Next Week: The Aftermath......


MG said...

That was a beautiful moment... Thanks for the memory!

thejacobsons said...

Finishing TI V5 still stands has one of my life's biggest events. It taught me to never quit and go after a goal no matter how difficult. I was very fortunate to be surrounded by so many great friends. Thank you for all of the hard work Mark and Dave!

Paul Jacobson