Monday, April 28, 2008

Trans Iowa

Scenic drive west was littered with pee stops. Our knowledge of a 5pm pasta feed had us scrambling to find some $5 foot longs quick. So Trixie, Aris, Theo, Brandon, Jordan and I pulled of into the Troll Capitol of the World for some Subway. Who would of guessed it, that a fellow TI crazy would show up at the same Subway at the same time? In Mount Horab, WI?? Squidbuzz was on his way with his Fam sporting a svveet full suspension. I had been looking at his bike set up all week. Great guy and a nice frame pack.

It was talk about TI prep time at the pre-race meeting/pasta feed. Scoletrain and Scott were swarmed by us at the table. Scott talked about TI and 24/9 and Scott talked about RAAM. It was so neat talking to two guys that are as experienced and successful as they. The stuff that came out of their two mouth's had me rethinking, reworking and repacking my gear, all for the better I must say.

It was cold. Aris and I got up around 2:30am to get dressed and load the bikes. I would do short quick shuttles back and forth from the hotel lobby to the truck it was so cold. The breakfast of choice was Pop-Tarts(said with a quick "pop"). Aris and I were ready. Smiles all around. It was go time. Guitar Ted gave the double beep from his car and we were off. Up up up we went. The goal was to not blow, tear or tweak anything on the body. Aris and I kind of settle in as the lead group stayed in our sights for some time. The weather was crazy 20-40mph winds, temps felt like the teens and the gravel was certainly gravel. As my fingers were on the rebound I start to look around. I see Scott Cole and Endurosnob within arm's reach. We were in good company.

The climbs started to peak their way through the nights sky. This only excited 16yr old Aris as he stormed up each one as if it was the last. He was really looking good. Of course, when you go up, you must go down. g-tED even warned us of some nasty 40mph descents within the first 17miles, and to not end our race so early into the event. What did Aris do at mile 15? He gaped us by, I'd say, 50yards on a snake descent. Of course, he kept it rolling and talking to new peeps as often as he could.

It was getting to be time to turn off our lights. A beautiful sun rise was out of the question. The effort was beyond me with rarely ever a break. We would ride south for 3-6miles at a time which meant cross wind. I would huddle to the left of someone and Aris to the left of me and then someone to the left of Aris. We would span the entire road trying to survive winds I never thought I would ever ride in. My right side was starting to cramp and I would pray the cue sheet was going to turn us.

It did. Right into the head wind. For 38miles we were cross wind, head wind, repeat. Cresco was the first town. I was loving the Heed, so I needed to refill. Eating and drinking was going great! Aris was still riding strong and I had managed to meet and chat with the rest of the group.

Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey(5th finisher). This guy never took a break. He was ALWAYS taking the brunt of the wind. He was ALWAYS out front carrying the group. The nicest guy too. Charles Parsons(fourth finisher) was another one that amazed me. He defined minimalist out there with nothing on his back or bike, knee warmers and a thermal jersey. He would make numerous stops on his own to pee(something I would never risk doing) and always effortlessly make his way back to the front of the pack.

Aris was on the down stroke at about mile 50. He had verbalized to me that he was thinking of dropping. Corey and Scott both made it a point to circle the troops around him and make sure he stayed with us. I truly commend everyone in our chase group for doing what they did to make sure Aris was in a safe place to call it quits.

Aris showed the peeps his stuff. For the conditions and his age, he did more than most mortals would ever be forced to do. Aris has the up side! At his stopping point (mile 70ish) Aris helped fix my flat and the crew did their thing. He waved goodbye we were headed for some tailwind snacks and monster climbs.

Climbs I never though possible in the Midwest. They were eating away at my chance to stay with the group. Mix the wind and the ascents and you get a serious regret for running the gear I brung. I could have easily managed to make it to CP1 on an easier gearing.

With 10 miles to go until CP1 our chase group had blown up thanks to more climbing. Corey and Charles paired and Scott stayed with me(thankfully). Those last few miles g-tED threw in right before CP1 really put the thought of DNF into my head. We had spent all day worrying about even making it to the checkpoint on time, with only a few miles to go we knew we were going to make it. Nice, but we weren't even a third into the race...And we still had to go west for miles. We strolled into the first CP with 30minutes to spare. I knew I wasn't going to be able to hang on to Corey's, Charles's or Scott's wheel. They all did everything they could to talk me in to going, but I didn't want to slow anyone's chances of making it to CP2. I had already put out an effort harder than ever before. This was the toughest 9.5 hours I have ever endured, bike or no bike. I felt good because of it. I still feel good today.

Trixie, Theo, Brandon and Jordan did everything they could to help Aris and I. Thank you!

The folks from Lincoln are pronasty.

Guitar Ted can plan out a tough course and an awsome event!

Scoletrain thanks for getting me to CP1. Much respect for heading back out there.

pics to follow


SquidBuzz said...

You guys rocked out there. Nice meeting you all. Hopefully we will cross paths this summer at the WEMS races or such.

12 hours of GEARS next up for me. How about you guys?

EXPO Racing said...

24/9, WEMS and a nice dose of WORS.

We are sure to see you at Gears!