|Unidentified volunteer and rider seen at the construction zone during T.I.v14|
We stuck around to see how the reroute at the mis-signed corner was being accepted and how riders were negotiating the road under construction out of Kalona for a while. I just wanted to make sure that riders were not getting confused here. Fortunately this was all during the daylight hours. Had this occurred when it was dark, it would have been a lot more confusing, and dangerous when it comes to that road under construction.
Once I was satisfied that everything was going to be okay, Matt and I decided to head on up the course toward where Tony and Mike would be meeting us at a wildlife reserve South of North English, Iowa called Coffman Wood Preserve. I was looking forward to settling in for a nice, relaxing moment or two as we had earlier that day together on that old bridge deck.
|A group of three women during T.I.v14. We had the largest women's field ever for v14. Image by Celeste Mathias.|
|T.I.v14 riders resupply in Kalona Iowa. Image by Celeste Mathias|
Meanwhile the riders were getting along down the course behind the leaders. I wasn't getting the drop-out calls as often anymore as riders became accustomed to negotiating the everlasting miles of fresh gravel roads. It had become apparent, however, that the fresh gravel would be the thing that was going cause many riders not to finish. It was that difficult for this, the last Trans Iowa.
Even though the riders had probably the best weather ever for this event, and winds were minimal, it was still one of the most difficult Trans Iowas. So you just never know. As my co-creator for the event, Jeff Kerkove used to say about his solo 24hr racing, "Everything has to come together to finish". One small detail left undone, or one wild card out of your control could be all it takes to wipe out a year of training and get you that unwanted ride back to the start area. But that was Trans Iowa's unique twist on gravel racing. It was a HUGE commitment, and it could all come undone in a minute.
|Riders battled fresh gravel on roads with no good lines all day Saturday of T.I.v14. Image by Celeste Mathias|
|Riders pick their way through the worst of the road construction. Image by Celeste Mathias.|
Matt and I pulled into the short gravel driveway which led to the wood preserve. Tony and Mike were already taking their leisure and had beers in hand. Matt and I grabbed a couple from our stash and we gathered around in a small circle and began to chat.
Meanwhile, in my head, I was wrestling with how to spill the beans to Tony and Mike that this was the last Trans Iowa. I figured I owed it to these two faithful, stalwart supporters of mine to let them in on the secret. Suddenly I found myself blurting it out, and the reaction I got was surprising.
"Oh! We already knew about that!, retorted Tony, as he handed me another beer. I sat with my mouth agape at the revelation. The others were then engaged in some other subject and left the end of Trans Iowa story go. It was not how I thought this would be received, but as I stood in silence listening to old friends, I realized a couple things. No more needed to be said about Trans Iowa ending, and that I was a very blessed man. Very blessed.
It was a lesson learned. Friends and supporters are worth more than fame and riches. I was amazed, full in the heart, and I will never forget that moment either, as long as I can remember things. It was the medicine I needed for a rough afternoon of event directing. What I didn't realize was that it was these moments which I needed to be able to deal with the next situation. A situation which was unfolding as I stood there that sunny, beautiful afternoon at the entrance of Coffman Wood Preserve.
Next: Lessons Learned: Part 2