Sunday, May 21, 2023

The GTDRI Stories: The Ninth One - Part 1

"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!

I know I keep saying things like "This GTDRI was a classic!" and similar things but as I researched this one well..... You'll see. This one was one for the ages and not just because of the ending, although that was definitely the most impactful event for me, in many ways, over the years. 

Let's see.....2014 was about the time I started to feel a deep seated animus toward my boss and job which was going nowhere. I had pretty much exhausted all my efforts to impart some sort of reason and wisdom upon my former boss and I went from not caring to maybe a darker place. This affected me in ways that even to this day I am still learning about. But suffice it to say that I was keeping an eye out for a way out, only there wasn't a clear choice and staying still, where I was at, was the answer for that time. I suppose this may have manifested in the start date for the 2014 GTDRI which was on the last weekend of RAGBRAI that year. I was so far disconnected from that ride that I didn't even realize that my route and the Saturday route for RAGBRAI overlapped at one point and the routes crossed each other at another point.

The Tamland Two as I rode it at the 2014 GTDRI.

My bike was the Tamland Two, probably the second gravel specific bike ever produced on a large scale and definitely the first that was not "race-specific". I had changed a few things but I was so busy before this GTDRI that I never swapped out the gearing, and boy! I should have. This was my downfall #1 going into this one.

Downfall #2 was being too busy and not getting proper rest before this one. I had thought I was going to go ahead and spend the night there on Friday at Backbone State Park and get a good night's rest, but instead I thought I'd just get up really early and drive over. That meant I got very little sleep and I paid the price there also. 

Downfall #3 was my worry that these ideas of mine that went into the Tamland Two were going to not be good ones. Now- I had heard that the bike was very well accepted, But you know - I didn't believe those reports, and instead I worried that this was going to be a poor bike. That's one reason I bought the bike - To prove these ideas out - and also I needed to be able to test it on a known course I knew would really push the bike to its limits handling-wise. My anxiety over these things was unfounded and unhealthy, but you know.....that's where my head was at then. 

A good customer of the shop I knew had died shortly before the 2014 GTDRI. This was an entry on the GTDRI page that year.
Yeah, my head was all over the place and, of course, I had done zero specific training going into this one. But that's been kind of the M.O. for me concerning this ride forever. Since the beginning, it was about riding myself stupid, and boy, did that ever come true on this one. 

This time there were a couple "surprise" riders in Dan Buettner and Aaron Schnee. Dan had come up from Des Moines the evening before and camped out while Aaron was in the area to visit relatives and decided to join in. We ended up with a total of seven including myself. A good, strong group too. I was for sure the weakest link and I proved that for most of the ride. 

Of course, it got really hot and humid. Of course it did! And with the 10,000 feet of climbing on tap it was going to end up being a brutal day. The way I now had the course clocked to start at Backbone State Park actually ended up shaving off 2 miles from the original course so we were looking at 116 miles. 

I remember driving over in the truck. I was anxious, as always, and I was excited too. This was going to be a great ride, was what I was thinking, but I had no idea that what was about to happen would happen. It was a day I'll not soon forget, and probably never will.


DT said...

Enjoying these GTDRI entries; it's nice to read about something that I've not heard much about in the past

Guitar Ted said...

@DT - Thanks for the encouraging comment and for reading these entries!