|CP#1 volunteer, Todd Southworth assisting riders during T.I.v14|
The lead group was about seven riders strong with a few more tailing off the back. I was pretty pleased by that. It was like the old days of Trans Iowa. However; one surprising development occurred at the checkpoint that left me a bit baffled and disappointed.
It had to do with the previous year's winner, Dan Hughes. He rolled in looking strong in the lead group, but he promptly stated that he was not leaving with them. Instead, he chose to wait on his, then new, girlfriend, who was also in Trans Iowa. While Dan's choice was entirely his to make, and a choice I respected, I was a bit let down.
I was seriously looking forward to the fireworks between he and Greg Gleason, who was also amongst the leaders, and especially after the friction I noted between the two from T.I.v13. But it was not to be. So, Matt and I rolled onward under a brilliant Sun and clear blue skies. It sure looked to be a beautiful day, regardless of the competition on the road.
|While I had warned the riders about farming activities on the roads, this was about the extent of what we saw.|
Rolling through the bucolic hills in eastern Powesheik County, Matt and I were suddenly out of the chaos of bovine choruses and rider activity and sunk now deep into a peaceful scene. Farms and fields were largely idle this morning, which we found to be rather odd, as it was expected that we would be dealing with a lot of farm traffic. Planting season was underway, and yet we only saw one rig after we left the checkpoint for a few hours as we made our turns into Iowa County down the T.I.v14 course.
Just before entering Iowa County we found ourselves on a stretch of Level B Maintenance road that, if things had been at all moist, or wet, we would have had to have avoided. As it was, the dirt was dry and the road was perfectly fine for travel by Matt's Subaru.
|At the opposite end of this road, the emotional dams broke.|
I suppose it was bound to happen at some point during Trans Iowa. The last Trans Iowa. How could it go by without some sense of the weight of the decision I had made impacting Matt and I? I was aware that something like this could happen before we started the event, but as we had been going on now for many hours already, it almost had become 'just another Trans Iowa', as if a Trans Iowa was no big thing! Of course, every one of the fourteen that occurred were huge events for me, but - you know- after thirteen you get a groove on and this final one felt as if it was on rails to be very much like the successful Trans Iowas we had experienced in the past, most notably like T.I.v12.
Matt stopped at the end of the Level B Road. We both were in need of a 'nature break' and the small, scraggly wooded section along this bit of dirt road looked perfect for us. As we finished up our business, we took a moment to hang out again. We hadn't stopped since the checkpoint, and we were way out ahead of the leaders.
That's when it happened. Matt started out by sharing his thoughts about Trans Iowa, his part in the story, what it meant to him, and well..... Tears flowed. It was one of those sweet, sweet cries one has which are precious, and "men" aren't supposed to share with each other. Yeah....whatever! We shared our deep feelings and thoughts on Trans Iowa, our relationship, and more. Above everything else about this 'last time' doing things, it was that moment that I cherish above the rest. Thank you, Matt. I'll never forget that moment as long as I have memory.
|A lone rider interrupts a hang on a rural bridge. Who could it be/|
Eventually we had to gather ourselves back up and get on with things. I've no idea how many minutes elapsed there, but it was a 'timeless' moment for me. And then we were back in "Trans Iowa Mode" again....
Not long afterward we came up on a point on the course where I knew we could not drive through. It was a stretch of road that had a blockaded bridge. A short span over a tiny creek. The road led up to it, stopped about 50 yards from the barricade, was grassy two track up to the bridge, and then was similar on the other side. Totally passable by bicycle, but not by motor vehicle. That's why I left it on the course. Matt and I drove down to it as we had word from my two other volunteers on the road, Tony and Mike, that they would meet us there.
Sure enough, we met on the bridge deck, and the beers appeared, conversations were had, and a pleasant day under the Sun passed by slowly as if time was of no concern. This was something I was hoping would happen, that I would get a chance to hang out with Tony and Mike, who had been so important to the success of Trans Iowa over the years. It was odd only in that I could not share with them that this was the last time it would happen. Not yet, anyway.
And then, suddenly, a rider appeared and shook us back into the present situation. Trans Iowa was still going on, despite our shenanigans, and we had to get back on it. We were all surprised and super happy that this rider- surprisingly all alone- was Luke Wilson. Somehow or another he had powered away from the lead group and was soloing out with 200 miles to go!
We piled back into vehicles then and made our way back out on the course. Trans Iowa was happening under beautiful blue skies and with light breezes. I was thinking this last one would produce a ton of finishers, but news from the noon hour onward nipped that thought in the bud.
Next: Troubles Balance The Scales