Thursday, April 28, 2011
TRANS IOWA VERSION # 7, APRIL 23-24,2011 part one
This year marked my 4th attempt at completing Trans Iowa. I had been nervous about the registration and once that was over it became a matter of staying trim and putting in the miles. It helped immensely that I purchased a Surly Pugsley to deal with the relentless winter. I piled on the miles, and stayed away from the beer, ice cream and all other foods that would add weight onto my already large frame. I came really well prepared to Trans Iowa with low weight, 3 thousand miles since january first, 2011, a perfect bike, perfect nutrition.
The planning took place through countless e-mails between Giggles, Jay and I. We worked and re-worked all kinds of details.
Giggles made the trek from N.Y. by car and we all met at my house. We left exactly on time on friday before the race. Bikes were loaded and we headed out to Grinnell with our sights high on a finish. Our Good friend Chi-chard would do support for us so we felt comfortable and secure in throwing ourselves out there and not holding anything back.
Jay rode on a Gunnar Crosshairs, I was aboard a Black Mountain Cycles and Giggles on his custom built Salsa Fargo . We all ran Revelate Designs Bags, and eliminated all excess weight.
We arrived early at the hotel, unloaded, and layed out our stuff, We went to the pool and hot-tub ot relax and calm our nerves. We took a walk to the steakhouse to strech out the the legs after the drive. We had our steaks, met with our old pals and took our packets. Everything was working to perfection. We hit the sack and tried to sleep. It was hard since something we had waited for so long was about to happen in just a couple of hours.
Before long the alarm was blasting and we sprung from our beds.. Cheese Danish and Double shot cans for breakfast. We got dressed, lubed Chamois' and rolled out to the start. I was wearing wool knickers, wool socks, wool undershirt, Bianchi wool jersey and a Craft vest. I was perfect.
We did the roll out and the nerves started to calm inmediately . We hit the gravel and it was a soupy, creamy top layer that was not impossible to ride on but sure enough it was creating some friction. The hills started to arrive and my legs started to burn since I need about 45-50 miles just to warm up. It was terrible to climb on cold legs. I was thankful for the triple and I managed to get going slowly but surely.
We came to the mouth of a B-road and saw the tracks leading directly into it. I quickly dismounted and told Jay to keep his bike off the mud. We pushed and carried and pushed and carried for at least 1 mile, eating up about 30 minutes of precious time. We continued on as we just kept following other riders tracks. At the end of the B-road we stopped to hit our shoes on asphalt and dislodge the mud. We continued straight as we continued to see the leaders tracks. As we summitted a hill we saw the white lights of the leaders coming at us.
That is where I started to get disheartened and noticed we had made a mistake. We should have made a left before the B-road . We followed them as they corrected the mistake and got back on track. At that point Jay and I rode together since getting to the checkpoint was our number one priority.
Jay rode his heart out and covered me all along. He shielded the wind from the front, my side and even gave me some hard pushes to make me get up the hills. I was redlining all the way and loved my triple ever so much. I gobbled gels, and fought cramps with curses and copious amounts of the most excellent Carbo-rocket. Jay would help me up the relentless hills and then I would recover and bomb down the other side. We never gave up and I came to realize how extremely talented my partner was. We were getting close to the checkpoint and as we rolled with a tailwind we noticed a rider coming towards us. We had missed the last turn. A farmer was not amused by the riders going by and spooking the cows so apparently he tore down the flags indicating the turn. I sent Jay off to make the Checkpoint since I was well done and cooked. I kept riding hard just in case we were granted extra minutes for the B-road incident. I arrived to the first checkpoint 5 minutes late. Jay arrived 60 seconds late and Giggles was about 30 minutes behind. We were deeply dissapointed at the news but as good sports came to terms and enjoyed the company of awesome friends, amazing vistas of an incredible State called Iowa and to 2 amazing organizers as in Guitar Ted and David Pals. The volunteers were very friendly and we just had a blast the whole weekend.
We decided to take a ride back to Grinnell and we gathered a group and cruised with a massive tailwind on some awesome county road.
I definetely learned even more this time. I learned to check my cue sheets and not rely on others tracks. I learned to pack even lighter. I learned to not forget my reading glasses and my endurolyte pills.
I would like to congratulate Dennis Grelk on an amazing finish, win, ride! Charlie Farrow for riding to beyond limits. Tim Ek for suffering so much and giving that big smile, Troy Krause, Sean Mailen , John Gorilla for inspiring performances.
I would also like to thank my amazing Slender Fungus team mates, Dr. Giggles and Jay for all your efforts. Thanks to my wife and all kids for supporting me during my rough days and long nights of being away from home riding.
Trans Iowa Version # 7 will be remembered for a long time. It was an amazing experience.
Ari, Dr. Giggles, Jay and Chichard.