Sunday, March 10, 2019

The Story Of Guitar Ted: Post Tour

A Guitar Ted Productions series
Welcome to a brand new series on G-Ted Productions! This series will jump off from the time where the "Race Against Death Tour" ended and will take you up to the beginnings of Trans Iowa in late 2004. This is an eight year period where my life was transformed. You could say it was metamorphosed from the old to something quite new. 

This won't have a lot of bicycle stuff in it at times, but it is all essential to the story of "Guitar Ted". This isn't about where the name came from. That's all here.  No, this is about the person. 

First we have a post tour wrap up and a look into 1996-1997........

The end of the tour in August, 1995 marked the last time I ever rode that many miles in a single stretch. I "officially" tallied 711.92 miles, which didn't include the "bonus" ten miles we got on a truck ride in Niobrara and the last bit from the campground to Hill City where we were picked up. So, we maybe did 715-720 maximum. Whatever it was, that was the most I've done in less than two weeks before or since then. Of course, that's peanuts to what a lot of other people have done, but for me, it was a huge accomplishment. In terms of "serious" cycling, I was a rookie. I had only been really doing anything other than recreational, short rides for about a year up to that point.

Big plans were laid by myself, Ryan, and we were hoping Tim, (mentioned early in the "Race Against Death Tour" story), to ride from Cedar Falls, Iowa to New Orleans, Louisiana for 1996. I even had started on mapping out routes and overnights by late 1995.

But in terms of riding, I fell off the wagon, so to speak, as I had to get back to work. Work meant 10-12 hour days for a bit, then eventually less and less as Fall and Winter came on. I worked at a bike shop. The bike shop was called Advantage Cyclery, and was located on Main Street of Cedar Falls, Iowa. The owner was Tom, who was mentioned at the end of the tour story last week. As far as my exploits on the tour went. They were quickly forgotten back then. Life forged ahead.....

Typically, Tom would keep one or two of us around all Winter, but would let everyone else go. Bike shops then (and now) really slow down in the Upper Mid-West during colder months of the year. Advantage Cyclery was no exception. Sometimes in November the only person through the door all day would be the postman. So, anyway, it was rather odd that Winter when Troy, who had been there the longest at that point, said he'd take the Winter off.

What we didn't know was that he had plans to open a bike shop, literally right next door to Tom's shop, with the help of his father's financial horsepower and Troy's family's prowess with constructing things. I had noted that during slow times, before Troy's departure, that Troy was spending an inordinate amount of time in Tom's office, which Tom wasn't usually in. Apparently Troy got all the industry contacts and hook ups during this time and had a really good selection of goods by the Spring of '96 when he opened "Bike Tech" for business.

Besides all the politics, bad feelings, and socially uncomfortable situations, the main importance of all of this to my story is that it made me the "head" mechanic and longest termed employee in the shop. Spring brought busier times, bike building jam sessions, and very, very long days. I was working 12 hour days, for the most part, from April all the way through late August with only one break. That break was RAGBRAI.

Next Week- RAGBRAI 1996

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