|David Pals (bd.sahib on MTBR.com) comments about the course for v6|
It was the highest of highs and the lowest of lows. Trans Iowa v6 was entered in with a heart full of hope and a promise of the best event we'd engineered yet. It also came with a ton of stress and worry, with the whole thing nearly coming undone before it even started. (See last week's post)
The high was right off the bat with the "Pre-Race Meat-Up" at the newly minted Grinnell Steakhouse. This was a "grill your own" steak place where they had this enormous grill which they fired all up, especially for Trans Iowa, and let our riders, support people, friends, and volunteers use to enjoy some camaraderie and fun. This part of Trans Iowa I was very proud of, and the way the first one went, well....... "Smashing success"? Maybe "better than anyone could have imagined"? All I know is that compared to v5 the year before, this deal was astronomically better. It ended up being more than I had hoped.
Going in, all we were looking for was to create a bit of that early Dirty Kansas vibe. The "Small DK200", as I call it now, where things happened organically, and the field wasn't so big that you didn't get to at least say "hello" to everyone. David had been there, at the early DK's, and he was way into what we were doing too. The smiles on our faces as we watched the night unfold were wide and we felt very proud that evening.
As the crowd came in and mingled the room became full of chatting racers, support people, and some locals who were hip to the event. The vibe was definitely what David and I wanted, and then we did the pre-race meeting. That done, we were packing up our stuff and getting ready to head to our motel. That was about the time a young waitress came up, looking sheepish, and demurely asked us if we were coming back next year. That's exactly when we knew that the Grinnell Steakhouse was impressed with us. To say our stoke was maxed out would be putting things mildly.
|The first Trans Iowa in Grinnell started in front of Bikes To You. The scene when David and I arrived.|
|Just minutes before the 4:00am start of Trans Iowa v6|
But what was even more disconcerting, ominous even, were the sudden flashes of light I was seeing here and there. David did not see this at first as he was fully concentrating on not going off into a steep ditch. These roads were like roller coaster tracks- steeply up, then just as frighteningly steep going down, so he needed full command of all his faculties to steer the car and not fail. The thick blanket of fog did not help matters.
But then, after much debating about the light being a beacon on a windmill or not, we had to admit this was not anything but lightning. My heart was in my throat as we stopped atop the bridge over I-80 which the course used. I was looking at the radar on my phone, and it wasn't good. A severe thunderstorm warning for Jasper County. Dammit! Should we ride it out or call this thing off. The riders hadn't even gone 20 miles by this time into T.I.v6. David was more optimistic then I at this point. So we went forward. And then the skies unleashed their fury. I was about as low as I could go right about then. I felt terrible.
Next: Thunder And Lightning Part 2