Sunday, April 30, 2023

The GTDRI Stories: The Eighth GTDRI


The 2013 GTDRI was a monster developed by the Slender Fungus
"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!

This was a difficult day on the bike for me. I had been frazzled by the preceding Odin's Revenge event a month earlier and I never really recovered from that. Then I did not get a good night's sleep and I woke up really early to make the start across the river and just down the road from Sabula a few miles at a converted rural church. 

I had unwittingly brought the wrong bicycle to boot as I had no idea what the difficulty level of the terrain would be and the Black Mountain Cycles Monstercross wasn't really an ideal handling bike for those Jackson County roads. Additionally I had a poor tire choice to make things even more dicey handling. Uggh! But it wasn't all bad! 

Once we got to the Jackson County Iowa Tourism building, the aforementioned converted church, we gathered in the dim twilight of morning and as I gazed out I kept seeing little bluish lights and cars descending upon the gravel parking lot. The surprise "rider" this time? Well, it was all those who came to swell our numbers to something over 20 riders. Jeremy Fry, in his usual fashion, showed up late to eventually swell our numbers to 24 riders. It would be the largest gathering of GTDRI riders for many years. I was overwhelmed by the response! 

The gathering horde at the Jackson County Iowa Tourism Center

My nemesis rises above the Eastern hills.

The first bit was straight West, more or less, and featured a couple doozies for climbs, but there was plenty of time to recover on the flats, and it was still cool and damp. So overheating wasn't an issue.....yet! We had to stop a few times to gather the strung out line of riders with differing skill and fitness levels. Fortunately everyone was chill about that. 

At the summit of this very steep climb we were treated to this view looking back East.

At Maquoketa the group split between short and long course riders.

Looking back on this day I should have swallowed my pride and went with the short course riders. But.....I didn't. Thinking that I needed to represent, since the ride was "my ride", I went with the longer option group and suffered the consequences of my poor fitness at the time. 

Admittedly, I underestimated this course as well. Eastern Iowa has some of the hardest riding anywhere I've been. The hills are steep, unrelenting, and the downhills are not straight shots, making bike handling skills a premium asset to have. I was simply overwhelmed by all of it, and then it was hot and humid to boot. 

You don't soon forget kindnesses the likes of what was shown to me by Michael Lemburger

Bailing out with Chris Paulsen. Again- I do not forget the kindness shown by him that day.

I ended up frying myself and making an abrupt left turn to follow another rider who was bailing out early named Chris Paulsen. He and his wife were local veterinarians who lived not far from Bellevue, Iowa.  Chris showed me a great deal of patience and a great deal of kindness that day. He took me into his home, fed me, and gave me a ride back to my truck where I bid he and his wife farewell and headed back home

My ride was fairly unremarkable. I maybe got in what? 75 miles or so? Half of what the long haul group did. I've heard stories about their last half of the ride. It sounded epic, but that is their tale to tell. I wasn't there for it.

I felt pretty down about it all, not being able to "show up" for the entirety of "my ride", but I got over it eventually. At the time though, I wasn't very proud of my efforts and I felt like I had let a lot of people down. 

On to the next one.....


teamdarb said...

So the fat bike rider was in the element then?

Doc Chris said...

Never thought I'd see my big butt on your blog! I had a really great day meeting you and riding with the group. Ari the and Fungus set up a challenging route. I remember worrying that I enticed you to ride back to Bellevue with me. An absolute highlight memory!

Guitar Ted said...

@Doc Chris - Hey there! You know, my leaving with you was the right thing for me and the rest of that group. Thank you for caring for me as you did. What a day and yes- totally a highlight memory for me as well.

Guitar Ted said...

@teamdarb - I'm not even sure who the fat bike rider was anymore. Sorry!

Ari said...

Im pretty sure the only rider on a fat bike was Lance Andre from Dubuque. I believe his wife Traci was also there on a mountain bike

Guitar Ted said...

@Ari - Yes! That seems right to me now that you have reminded me. Thank you!