Sunday, December 05, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories; Bridges Part 2

Jeremy Fry took this image of me just before MG and I left CP#1 during v13
 "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! 

Rain. Steady, cold rain. The thing that people riding a Trans Iowa feared most, outside of muddy Level B Roads. The wind was a close third, and that was also in high gear blowing out of the East-Southeast all day so far. I was a bit worried about how the event would be affected, but otherwise everything was almost....boring. Around about mid-morning time found Matt and I both feeling much more ourselves. Hunger pangs forced Matt and I to stop for a slice of Casey's pizza in Madrid and then we cruised down the course quite a ways ahead of the riders. 

By that time I was in high gear and doing what had been necessary in past years to stay ahead of the pack of leaders. Usually we didn't get a whole lot of time to sit around because the 'fast guys' would always make it so we had to keep on moving. So we were kind of leading out too far during T.I.v13. It was that wicked combination of rain and wind which made it so that riders were working harder and therefore were not making the greatest time on the course. 

Directional signs on a utility pole on the T.I.v13 course in Adel, Iowa.

Of course, this prompted many drop outs and they came in steadily after we left the checkpoint in Baxter, Iowa. Fully one third of the field did not even make the Checkpoint 1 cut-off time or retired shortly after getting there. This all had happened before ten in the morning! 

Then silence on the phone. Everything kind of just went quiet. The only Trans Iowa related intrusions into Matt and I having just a weird, slow roll through the country on a rainy morning were the occasional texts from volunteers, and from John and Celeste Mathias if they had a bunch of riders pass by them. Wally, the event photographer, had gone home, and his missing presence, along with his good friend George's missing presence, was keenly felt. This was most evidenced by the absence of communication. You'll note that in the telling of the v13 story that the imagery is pretty substandard so far! That is also a result of not having Wally and George there. 

But besides the missing duo of Wally and George, everything was running super-smoothly. Even the course was working out well, minus that one hiccup with the Unicorn Avenue sign, so Tony and Mike were pretty much on the quiet as well. This left Matt and I to wander along down the course until we decided we'd just better stop. That ultimately happened in Winterset, Iowa. Before we got there to take a long break we stopped off and hung out for a bit at the Hogback Bridge.

Matt Gersib inspecting the weathered and worn planks of  the Hogback Bridge near Winterset, Iowa

This bridge marked the achieving of a goal for me. I was really proud and excited about being there. I had finally gotten a covered bridge on the route! While it was true that you could not drive or ride across the bridge anymore, at least the route went right by it on the newer detour bridge which had been constructed to keep traffic off these precious historical gems. I figured the riders would notice these bridges, there were two on the route, and I knew that they could see them. But that said, I really was hoping they could ride across them. That would have been my preference, but it just was not possible.

After reaching Winterset, we stopped at a convenience store for some grub. Then we hung out at a ball park's parking lot on the route where it left Winterset's Southeastern side. Matt and I sat there, listening to music, talking, and sometimes just sitting in silence watching the steady rain fall. It seemed like we'd been there for hours, but it was barely past noon, and the rain continued to fall....  Finally, after a few phone calls from drop-outs and some information on the leaders which we were texted, we moved on. 

Next: More Sittin' Around

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