Sunday, October 06, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories: More Tales of v3

T.I.v3 volunteers carefully consider Ken Yokanovich's Rivendell fixed gear rig at the checkpoint.
 "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

The night T.I.v3 started was a dark, fairly decent one, and the 3:00am wake -up call came in the motel and I sprang into action. I recall wondering where Zach Dundas stayed the night, then I saw his red Pontiac rental car parked on the road where we were to muster the starters and realized he likely spent the night there sleeping in the thing. So started my solo running of Trans Iowa.

As you fine readers may recall, I had already spent a LOT of time running this event myself. Most of the first one after the pre-race, and a lot of time during the truncated v2, I was on my own. However; what was different this time was that I had to shoulder the responsibility of this event alone. There was no "back-up", no one else to lean on for support or advice. I was "The Guy" now. If there were any issues, the excrement was going to roll uphill and stop right at the top, with me.

While that was known quite keenly by myself at that moment, I was also pretty ticked off yet about all the no-shows and was ready to just kick the can over and get on with this deal. Looking back, I think this attitude served me well for the duration of v3. See, as I stated a couple of posts back, I was pretty sure I didn't want to do this without Jeff, and having all those no-shows pretty much sealed the deal. All I had to do was to make sure I held up my end of the responsibilities of putting on the event and that I did that in the best way I knew how.

I already wrote a bunch about this event. (You can read a fine recapping of some of the event here) So, I'll just hit on some of the highlights I neglected in the previous post and tell you a bit here and there which Zach Dundas wrote about so well in "The Renegade Sportsman" book. Zach described the Trans Iowa experience he had and Trans Iowa thusly: "In deepest, darkest Iowa, I tracked the inspiring and insane Trans-Iowa endurance race, a 300+-mile amateur exorcism of cycling’s Lance Armstrong-ish demons."

Yeah, it was pretty funny, me being a rustic, 40 plus year old bicycle mechanic and Zach, an erudite college graduate cum punk rocker from Montana. I recall standing alongside the road North of Decorah, shivering under a star filled sky awaiting the leaders, and watching riders smack through a huge pothole at the bottom of a speedy downhill at the Sattre Store. Both times showing Zach why I felt the event mattered and both times answering a lot of his questions. Then we separated for much of the remainder of that morning.

Judging from this cue sheet, this road is in Allamakee County and the image was shot during T.I.v3
Interestingly, this was the Trans Iowa when I started inserting in odd and historical bits along the way for the riders to experience. During T.I.v3, I realized that the riders would likely be going through Postville, Iowa during Saturday morning. No big deal, except that at that time, Postville, Iowa had one of the largest ascetic Jewish communities in the nation, and I knew that they all would be out in full regalia on their Sabbath walk. Many riders reported seeing this afterward, much to my satisfaction.

This was also my full introduction to "Team Polska", a three man group consisting of Marcin Nowak, Macjei Nowak, and Douglas Pietz. The first two being brothers and natives of Poland. They showed up in matching kit, rode as a team, and were giving chase to the lead duo of Brian Hannon and Ira Ryan. Marcin had attempted the ill-fated T.I.v2, and during this version, he came prepared to lay down what would become a very memorable performance. His brother and Doug were support, and gave everything to the effort. It was amazing, beautiful, and unreal to see this as a bystander. Zach Dundas got his money's worth there for a story!

Ryan and Hannon were also just machines. They were killing it, and at one point I was afraid that they would arrive at the Checkpoint in Brandon, Iowa, before my volunteers were going to be ready for them. I spent most of the morning shadowing the duo and crunching numbers like crazy. Fortunately, after 100 miles of scorching fast gravel riding, (they averaged above 18mph including stops), they slowed the pace a hair, enough so that I figured they would get there after the Checkpoint opened. I think it was somewhere around Stanley, Iowa where I realized that would be the case. Shortly afterward, I ran across Zach, near Independence, and we made plans to rendezvous in Brandon at the Checkpoint.

Ah! Checkpoint volunteers! That was an amazing relief to me. And one of them handed me a cold beer. Gosh! This was like, almost fun! That feeling would linger for a while. But later on into the event, I lost that feeling, and the reason why was due to one individual, who has been an enigma of Trans Iowa ever since.

Next: Part 2 of "More Tales of v3".

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