Sunday, July 18, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories: A Tale Of Two Trans Iowas - Part 5

(L-R) Jeremy Fry, N.Y. Roll, and Robert Fry at CP#2 during T.I.v12
 "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 clicking on the "Trans Iowa Stories" link under the blog header. Thanks and enjoy! 

As the afternoon came around during Trans Iowa v12, it was becoming increasingly apparent that riders would start showing up a lot sooner than expected. At least the front runners would, who at this point in the ride were nearing Checkpoint #2 around 1:00pm, which was unprecedented. Checkpoint #2 wasn't even supposed to open until 2:00pm, but I was fearing that this would end up not being soon enough. Along with the word on yielding to emergency vehicles I sent ahead to Jeremy Fry, I also indicated that they may have to get to their position sooner than expected. 

This created a bit of chaos as one of the other volunteers, N.Y. Roll, had the pop-up tent and went out ahead of Jeremy and the final volunteer, Robert Fry, to set things up just in case someone might show up early. Jeremy had foreknowledge of where I wanted the checkpoint, but N.Y. Roll had set the pop-up about a quarter of a mile into the Level B Road which was supposed to be the last mile into the checkpoint. The resulting scramble of cars and people to move things into their intended space aroused the attention of a local landowner. As this person was about to approach the checkpoint set up, which by this time had moved to the proper corner of Petrie Road and Holmes Road, MG and I arrived on the scene as well. 

So, at this point I should give you- the reader- a bit of context. The existence of Level B Maintenance Roads is a bit of an interesting side-note in rural Iowa culture. Farmers who live along, or near to, these roads often take a sort of ownership of these rustic dirt paths. Strangers in the area are easily detected- farmers know who is who in their neck of the woods. Cars and trucks unfamiliar to them are marked as 'suspicious' until proven otherwise. Then you have the typical hooliganism which accompanies such out of the way dirt paths which include, but are not necessarily a part of every example, dirt/mud bogging (by 4X4, 2X, side-by-sides, or even passenger car), drinking, drug use, "outdoor mating", hunting, poaching, illegal butchering of livestock and wild animals, illegal dumping of various unwanted objects, and last but not least, bicycling.

The contested bit of roadway for Checkpoint #2
So, farmers adjacent to these so-called 'roads' often get a bit testy when out of the ordinary activities are observed on these roads. Late night wake-up calls by numbskulls who get stuck in mud do not help. This was the main nit that this particular landowner had with people outside of her known neighbors. So, as she approached us, I can only imagine that she had no idea what was going on, but whatever it was should be shut down. Furthermore; I imagine she would want us to vacate the premises immediately and never come back. And, of course, this is exactly what she was there to express. She was geared up and ready for a battle. 

As she engaged with us, it began as a very hostile and defensive conversation on her part, and one of carefully chosen words and tip-toeing negotiation on our parts. At one point I feared we were going to have to move things down a mile to another corner, but in the end, we won the lady over and things were allowed to continue. Never mind the fact that we were on a public road and not trespassing on private land.

This caused my stress levels to jump, once again, as you might imagine such a tense situation might do in light of what we were trying to accomplish. I knew that moving the checkpoint, on the one hand, would have been 'no big deal' logistically. But as a rider, when things are not happening when and where you expect them to? That can be the straw that breaks you. I knew that from having been in events and counting on cues to be right. So, my stress was based upon that and caring for the riders in my event. 

I really do not remember much beyond that confrontation at the checkpoint. I suppose we weren't there long, as that 20+mph Southeastern tailwind brought the leaders, Walter Zitz, a rookie, and Greg Gleason, a past winner, through at about 1:58pm. A new record for reaching CP#2 which stood until I ended Trans Iowa a couple of years later. We had to get ahead of these guys to head off any potential issues with the roads, so MG and I didn't stay long, and before we knew it we were heading back South and West toward whatever the afternoon might bring us, and I was certainly hoping that might be just some smooth sailing after a bumpy morning of running Trans Iowa v12. 

Next: Downtime With A Ukulele in Part 6 of A Tale Of Two Trans Iowas


NY Roll said...

Fun Fact. The Farmer was won over by the fact she worked with J Fry at Hawkeye. When J Fry showed Up, I said, "Great, J Fry is here!, the last thing we need is a nother car." She looked at me and said, "Jeremy Fry as in Hawkeye Professor?" I said, "Yes", she then said, "We are good."

Guitar Ted said...

@N.Y. Roll - Yes! I had forgotten that bit, but now that you have jogged my memory, I do recall that.