Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Rear View 2016: Part 2

D-Corn, Sam, and Fuller (L-R) from my Renegade Gent's team in April
The period from April through June of 2016 was punctuated by three fantastic rides, putting on a twelfth Trans Iowa,  and supporting one of the most iconic gravel races ever, the Almanzo 100.

My favorite event to participate in is the Renegade Gent's Race. My four teammates and I gather every year for this ritual of laughter, fun, and sometimes pain. Every iteration of this event has featured our team, and no other team can say that. At least we can always hang our hat on that! We certainly are not the fastest team, or anything else, for that matter. Someday this streak will come to an end, but I am glad it continued for at least one more version of the "Gent's Race". This year the team experienced a unique day to say the least.

This past April the wind was absolutely ridiculous on the day of the event. We all were in pretty decent physical condition, for once, but the weather did not cooperate and when we reached the half way checkpoint we cashed in our chips. The course is pretty flat and the gravel was decent this year, but that wind! It wasn't the ride we all we desiring, but it was fun while it lasted and I got to hang out with Sam, Steve, D-Corn, and Bob which doesn't happen often enough. I've said it many a time and I'll say it again- I am so thankful Steve asked me to be on that first Renegade Gent's Race roster.

The event photographer captured us as we rounded a turn at the Gent's Race this past April. (Image courtesy of Sherman)
 The next deal on the docket was getting ready for Trans Iowa's twelfth running towards the end of the month of April. The time between the Gent's Race and Trans Iowa is always consumed with last minute preparations for Trans Iowa. The major things being cue card production, bagging cues, and the recon just before that to confirm the route. The thing was that this all went so smoothly this past Spring, it was almost a breeze!

Then the event day came and.......well, there were complications. There was a LOT of behind the scenes drama and headaches that took many days to sort through after the event. The actual event itself seemed seamless to the riders. That was important and I am very thankful for that part. In fact, it was a record setting year and one many will never forget.

I couldn't have made it through Trans Iowa v12 without my Brother. Thanks MG! 
With Trans Iowa in the rear view mirror I was not expecting anything "big" to be going down until the next Geezer Ride. But that was merely right after Trans Iowa. No big deal! Ha! Well, fortunately for me all the details were taken care of by my friend Martin, who did all the recon and what not for us. I merely showed up to ride. It was a beautiful day on the bike in the somewhat otherworldly area of the Amish near Iowa City.

Being overtaken by a horse cart on a gravel ride is not something one would expect, unless you are in Amish Country.

 Well, with that successful, fun, and very scenic ride over, I was not expecting the next event. It was not ever on my radar even a few days before it happened. However; my RidingGravel.com partner , Ben, got a hold of me on Thursday and by the following Saturday I was in a car with NY Roll, his dog, Ella, and my son to support that day's running of the Almanzo 100. We were supporting the event by manning "Checkpoint 3" in Cherry Grove.

It was a great day, as we were joined by Chris and his wife who were then with Challenge Tires and a ton of great riders who stopped by to eat and drink all we had on offer. It was good to support this iconic gravel road event and to meet a lot of great folks.

The scene at the checkpoint we manned for the Almanzo 100 back in May.

 After that great experience things settled into a groove for a couple of weeks where I got to ride around my area and enjoy the wild flowers, which were in abundance this year. I was truly blessed to see a lot of colorful flowers in the ditches. This is one of my favorite things about riding in the country.

I stopped often and got "up close and personal" with the flowers this year.

I was also surprised one day by a call from a car as I sped home from work. It was an old friend, room mate, and cycling companion from days gone by who happened to be in town. I don't often get to see him, but I was super stoked to have not missed him while he was here this time. I spent about an hour on the side of the road yakking with him. Ears, thanks for flagging me down, man! It was an awesome day that day because you took the time to find me.

One of the best surprises of 2016 was running into Ears alongside the road on my way home from work last Spring.

The final big deal for this three month span was heading down to Kansas to visit the gravel community during the Dirty Kanza "festival". I guess that "festival" really best describes this event. It is far more than a gravel road race these days. I went in support of my friend Tony. Seeing that he had his needs all tied up in a nice little package for the race proper, I went on my own expedition that day and had an awesome time on the bike.

So many roads, so little time!
My friend Tony signing at the finish. I was super stoked that he bagged a DK200 finish.
Missing this guy. #biggrin
Well, after the DK200 June went on and I found out that I had to cancel my plans to go do Odin's Revenge due to plans for a surprise birthday party for my Mom's 75th birthday. Bittersweet, for sure, but now I am so glad I went to that instead of Odin's. Things that you don't foresee make your time spent with family very important. I suggest to anyone reading here that you make time for your family first. You never know when that time will run out.

Next: Part 3

1 comment:

MG said...

Thanks Brother... TransIowa v12 was an experience I'll never forget. We make a great team.

Here's to even more fun in 2017!