Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Still Digesting

I am surprised by my own amount of thoughts that I have had pertaining to the TransIowa ride. I've spent a fair amount of time reading other people's recaps. I found some great pictures by a gentleman who evidently has done a fair amount of professional photography. There are some really great shots. TransIowa Photos Here

I find different people's perspective on the same event very entertaining reading, others may really find it boring. I mentioned it once or twice to people that I was riding with at one point or another. It would be really interesting to do a psychoanalytical profile of the participants and finishers. My guess is that there would be some strikingly similar personalities. I think participating in something as personally challenging as TransIowa reveals quite a bit about a person's character.

I know that at one point around 3 or 4 am I had somewhat of a low moment. I really wasn't paying close attention to the cue sheet knowing what to look for with our navigation. Our mileage was off so I wasn't certain what turn we were looking for. I was following Cale who seemed like he was on a mission to wrap things up. Perhaps I was getting tired and slower, but it seemed like he had turned it up a notch. Matt and I were just kind of following along I think. We missed one turn and had to turn around and ride back a bit. Not a lot, but maybe a mile or so. Then there were a couple of points where we turned right instead of left, but caught it right away. Then there was a mislabeled turn on the cue sheet that we hesitated at and eventually took the wrong way.

The cue sheet said follow 275th, don't turn left. The corner was really 235th and the left that we were not supposed to take seemed like more straight ahead than a left. So, we figured it must be up the road. We rode and rode some more until we came to 220th street.

That's where I lost it for a bit. I was thinking that since the numbers were counting down, we missed 275th A LONG time ago. At this point, I cracked a bit. I was mad at myself for not paying attention enough to the cue sheets. We were doing a bad job of double checking one another, which I thought was important. We were obviously tired from lack of sleep, it was cold, it was dark...etc. Not exactly a combination where one wants to make navigational errors.

We back-tracked and ran into a group of other riders who had obviously made the same error as we did. Fortunately one of the guys was on the phone to Mark calling to get the correct direction. From that point Matt, Cale, and I hooked up with a couple of other riders that we had seen at points during the day; Skip and Travis.

That for me, that feeling of potentially having to back-track for miles was the lowest point in the whole event. As it turned out, it wasn't nearly as far as I had feared. Within a mile or two we were back on track. And soon after that, it seemed like dawn was on the horizon and things always go better when the sun comes up.

Throughout the day and night, I had some periods of self doubt. I knew that I wasn't going to quit, but I did question whether or not I could keep up with Matt and Cale. Obviously I could not keep up with Cale, he seemed to have ridden off the front. It was nice for Matt to slow down or continue to ride with me. Travis was now part of the group and Skip I was a bit worried about.

We'd crossed paths with Skip and Travis in one of the little towns just before nightfall. They were coming out of a pizza joint in Traer and looked somewhat cooked. We crossed paths with them here and there through the night. We'd pull ahead, get lost, make a bad turn, they'd push on the correct direction and pass us, we'd catch up. Being friendly and trying to pass time, I tried talking with Skip (didn't learn his name until the results were announced.) There were a number of questions or comments that I'd mention in an attempt to start a conversation. (I am not a good conversationalist by any stretch of the imagination.) But, there was seldom a response. I thought for sure that it was just a matter of time until Skip was done and in fact, it seemed like he fell back a couple of times.

Just as the sun was coming up; we encountered another section of road with a sign stating water over road. In the middle of the night we had come across a point where it seemed like the water over the road stretched on for quite some ways. It was pitch dark. Without hesitation, I removed my shoes and socks and walked my bike through the water. The guys behind me seemed confused as to what else to do. I didn't see any other option (other than riding through the water.) Not knowing how deap the water was, I figured it was smarter to walk.

This time though, the sun was up and I could see. The water looked shallow enough. I made the bad decision to ride through the water. Bad idea! Fixed gear means my feet are going to go around. Sure enough, the water was deap enough to submurge my feet at the bottom of the pedal strokes. I did have to dismount to walk, the water was up to my knees. Here's a photo that Cale took of Travis doing the smart thing.

My feet were soaked with 90 miles left to ride. More to come later.

1 comment:

Endurosnob said...

I think I would disagree that regarding your skills as a conversationalist. Once I got it back together, I had a great time talking to you.

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