Sunday, May 14, 2023

The GTDRI Stories: The Lead-Up To The Ninth GTDRI

The bike I helped design, the Raleigh Tamland Two in 2014
 "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!

As I stated in my last GTDRI post last week, this year of 2014 was a crazy transitional year. Not just from my personal standpoint either. But in terms of this story, it was mostly personal. 

I was leaving one website, mostly focused on 29" content, and I ended up joining another. Meanwhile I had shut down another site which grew out of a mistake I made in judgement in 2009. Lots of mixed emotions and there were lots of expectations for a future more focused on riding and not just talking about it and making opportunities to ride for others. The thing was, I ended up taking two steps forward and another one back, and one step I never made that year. 

But hopes were high while Trans Iowa v10 went down and then in the weeks afterward, I was convinced I wasn't done with that idea just yet. Well, I'm not sorry I went onward, but it wasn't what I had planned on doing. What I had hopes for myself included just riding gravel on a simple bike. From an early Summer 2014 post here:

"I figure that once everything settles down after the GTDRI I should have options to ride single speed gravel a lot more. I am certainly looking forward to that. The new ride I am planning for October, the "Geezer Ride" will likely be done on one of my single speed rigs"

Then it was time to move on to the next GTDRI. I had a new bicycle, an actual gravel bike. A Raleigh Tamland Two designed with my input, and I was excited to try it out on the hills of Northeast Iowa. That was an ambitious thought, seeing as how the gearing wasn't really very low. They set these bikes up with compact 52/36T cranksets and 11-32T cassettes. I was in for a tough day with gearing that maybe a Pro could handle, but me? Ha! No way. I knew I was in for it, and even though I lopped off a lot of top end with a big ring swap to a 46T ring, I was still taking a risk on the bike as a whole.  I mean, my ideas went into the thing, but that did not mean that they would work in practice. 

Another attempt at Odin's Revenge less than a month out from the GTDRI likely burnt me a bit too. (Image by Dan Buettner)
Then there was my schedule. It was brutal and I never took any time for "real" training or "real" rest. I was reviewing product in a hurried manner to get all my obligations done for "Twentynine Inches" before I left that site, and I had my job, plus I was trying to spend more time with my son. It was a crazy, crazy period for me. 

This all meant that I was going into a ride with 10,000ft of climbing in a little over 100 miles with 25+ being pancake flat. I was gunning for a finish on a bike I had spent relatively little time on with unproven ideas and poor gearing. Plus, it was supposed to be the typical hot, humid weekend. Oh! Did I mention that I decided to tell the RAGBRAI crowd to buzz off in regard to my scheduling? Yeah, this ride happened the last weekend of July 2014, and it was happening in the same vicinity as RAGBRAI that year. Keep that in mind. It will become an important detail in my story about this, the ninth GTDRI. 

Next: The start of the ninth GTDRI.

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