Sunday, January 02, 2022

Trans Iowa Stories: Punch Drunk In Pella

A long day into night tracking Dan Hughes climaxed in Pella, Iowa.
 "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!  

Now that Matt and I knew Hughes was still on the move, and- somehow - surviving the onslaught of weather, we moved up the road from Attica where we had been parked waiting on Dan's passing. 

The passage of time after being awake for a day straight becomes something of a trip. The sort of which might be relatable to one who has done psychedelic drugs. Time stands still, the mind goes wonky, and you start seeing and hearing things that are not 'real'. Well, we could probably discuss what is 'real' for days, but I suppose I should say what passes for 'normal reality'. Let's just say that grown adults would not see, hear, and react to inputs in the manner that Matt and I were while we waited at the corner of HWY 163 and 218th Place near the Central Tire and Auto business. 

It was very late when we got there. It was cold, raining heavily, and there was not a soul out and about but for Matt, I, and Tony and Mike, my volunteers, who had been there a while before we got there. Matt and I went in to the nearby 24 hour Walmart Super Center to use their restroom and warm up a bit. This Walmart would serve as the last chance for resupply to those who might ride through after 11:00pm or so and before 6:00am. The other convenience stores would be closed overnight. I planned the route so that it could benefit from Walmart's being open 24 hours a day. 

We had seen Dan last 20 miles back down the course. It was horrible outside, and so given the conditions and  the distance Dan had already ridden, Tony and Mike calculated that Dan should appear around 3:00am. We were there at the corner by 2:00am and sat, and sat..... Things got really weird. We were off our rockers sitting in the rain in a Subaru waiting on a crazy person to ride a bicycle by us on a night no sane person would have been outside on. Had law enforcement stopped by to check on us, I am sure we wouldn't have made a very good showing for ourselves. 

This was a highlight of all the Trans Iowa events for me, those three hours or so I sat in that car with Matt. I know- well, I am pretty sure that I won't ever have an experience like that again. It was so much fun, and we were like kids again, staying up way too late defying our parent's warnings. But we were grown men. Yeah, one of those deals that is hard to explain, but I know it was a very special moment in my life. 

Eventually it had to end, and it did with the sudden appearance of Dan Hughes in what was now just a light rain. It was still pretty cold out though, but the violence of the previous hours had subsided. Dan was looking refreshed- as refreshed as one who has ridden over 250 miles could be. It had taken him seven hours to cover 50 miles so far that night. 

Apparently he had found the Walmart Super Center rather accommodating and later on he told the story that he had sat inside on a bench in the lobby of the store just warming up and resting. After he had bought a few things to eat and drink he emerged where he ran across us at the corner where he would leave Pella, go back to gravel, and more wind, rain, mud, and hills. It was just shy of 60 miles to go, and without a catastrophic failure of body or bicycle, it was apparent to all there that Dan was set to win Trans Iowa. Only one question remained- when would he finish? 

NOTE: Once again, I apologize for the complete lack of imagery for this portion of the event.The only image I took after leaving CP#2 until daylight the next day was the image of Matt's dashboard in today's post.  Next: Setting Up For A Brutal Finish


MG said...

Images or not, that was an unforgettable night… We laughed like crazy people, and in that moment, there was nowhere I would rather have been. For a few brief moments, it was as if we were the only people on earth.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG - That pretty much encapsulates things for me. Thanks! Love ya, Brother!

MG said...

Love you too, Brother!!