MG and I are sitting in the Subaru waiting. Waiting on Dan Hughes, who has been leading Greg Gleason for quite a while now. Walter Zitz had been part of the original three up group but he punctured and was now back with Matt Acker and Jackson Hinde. These five were the pointy end of T.I.v13 and had been since pretty much the beginning, but it was becoming apparent that Dan Hughes was setting himself up for a win or for a huge failure. Which it would be was anyone's guess. We'd heard from sources out on the course that Greg Gleason was saying that he was running a set up he was hoping to use during Tour Divide. It was heavier than Hughes' set up, so Greg was saying that was why he could not keep pace with him on the climbs, which at this point were steep.
|This Level B Road caused a lot of people's rides to descend into a cold, shivering hell.|
This section of the course was 15 miles from Checkpoint #2. We weren't due to show up there till around 5:00pm, so we were hanging out here to see when we might get sight of Dan Hughes. It was reported to us that Greg Gleason was about 11 miles from us at 3:45pm, and Dan had a sizeable lead on him, so we figured it wouldn't be long. It wasn't long either......
|An obviously weary, wet, and cold Dan Hughes shakes MG's hand at the Level B Road's entrance.|
We packed it in and took off the long way around on drier roads and endeavored to find Checkpoint #2. Finding routes is a game that I love, but route finding on the fly isn't a good time, especially when one is in a hurry.
|A man out for a walk with his bike: Dan Hughes picks his way through a muddy, water soaked Level B Road during T.I.v13|
|Dan Hughes shuffles his cue sheets at CP#2 as T.I.v13 volunteers look on.|
Our answer came in at just over an hour and a half. At 5:39pm the same black clad figure we had seen before rolled gingerly across the County Highway and into the parking lot of the Great Western Trail next to the Cumming Tap. Dan labored to dismount and then made his way into the Tap for some food, drink, and refreshment. As he went in his plan seemed to be to wait up for Gleason and leave with him to make going against the wind easier. In one of the better exchanges I had during the event with a rider, Dan, upon receiving his last set of cues, asked me, "So, I suppose the last 140 miles is all headwind." To which I replied, "Yeah. Pretty much." His head sank at my words, but his resolve was steeled against whatever the coming night might bring.
|Cumming is near the Des Moines International Airport. We saw this jet airliner struggling against the gale force winds.|
|Dan Hughes bike gets a brief respite from the messy roads as he eats and drinks in the Cumming Tap.|
|(L-R) Tony McGrane, Steve Fuller, Greg Gleason, MG, and Dan Buettner as seen at the arrival of Greg at CP#2|
Next: Sheets Of Rain