Sunday, April 23, 2023

The GTDRI Stories: Bombfire


"The GTDRI Stories" is a series telling the history, untold tales, and showing the sights from the run of Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals. This series will run on Sundays. Thanks for reading!

The story of the 2013 GTDRI was, for me, about a hang I had with a few other guys the evening before the event in Sabula, Iowa. As with most really memorable things in my life, it was completely unplanned beyond the fact that I was supposed to stay with three other guys in a motel room across the Mississippi River on Friday evening. 

I remember the drive over, which was quite unconventional and, as many of my solo drives tend to be, through areas most people would never choose to drive through. Unfamiliar gravel roads, two-lane County blacktops, and small villages. I remember some of that drive to this day because of how I routed myself. 

Then there was the "hang". I met the guys I would be staying with, who all came down from Madison, Wisconsin for the event, and we decided to go eat at this eclectic, quirky little pizza joint in a run-down looking brick building named "Bombfire Pizza". I'd heard about the place before from my friend Ari, who was part of the planning committee for this version of the GTDRI. He and "Cookie", (Jay Barre), would often do training rides in this area together, thus the reason for this GTDRI to start here. 

Bombfire was one of their "must-stops" whenever they came to Sabula, and Ari had raved about this place to me for several years. After the Bombfire pizza was consumed, we wandered around Sabula taking images in the light of a setting Sun. It was almost as if we were documenting the town for some coffee table top magazine spread. We all were getting creative and taking wild shots which in my opinion was a blast. I guess camera nerds would just shrug and say "street photography", and think it was no big deal. But for me, it was maybe the most fun I had that entire weekend. 

When time sort of slows to a standstill and you aren't in any hurry to go anywhere, when the peace of a still, Summer evening falls and you are near the mighty, ancient Messipi, something magical could happen. I think that's exactly what happened that evening while we were hanging out in Sabula. 

It's a time I won't soon forget, and in the story of the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals, it is an experience that has no rival. This version of the GTDRI was a weird one anyway. In fact, it was maybe the one that generated the most "legends", and to think I missed most of that. Well, you'll learn why soon. 

Anyway, somewhere I have all those Sabula images tucked away, but I haven't been able to find them yet. Someday I'll come across those and re-post them. But maybe that doesn't matter so much as the memory of the magic of that evening. I guess maybe that's really the bottom line here.

Later that evening we arrived back across the river in Savanna, Illinois and Ari was there with his wife and Mike Baggio in tow. They made off for Bombfire not long afterward while I tried to settle into an uncomfortable sleep with a 3:30am wake-up call. 

Next: The 2013 version of the GTDRI was one for record books.


baric said...

Completely off topic here but if you need any composite flat pedals for any of your winter bikes Jensen's has their Race Face Chester's on sale right now for $ 35. bucks. Pretty good deal !! ....

Guitar Ted said...

@baric - Thanks for the tip!

S.Fuller said...

Oh man. That GTDRI was one for the record books. I ate at Bombfire with Ari later that evening, and then slept in the back of my truck at the Church near the start of the route. Ugh :)