Tuesday, April 24, 2007

T minus ?

Well I am about to embark on another adventure in Iowa for a race of epic proportion, TransIowa. This race is approximately 324 miles on the gravel roads in Northeastern Iowa around the city of Decorah. We have only 34 hours to complete the race which starts at 4am Saturday, April 28th and the official end time is Sunday, April 29th at 2pm. The interesting aspect of this race is that we will not know the first half the route until Friday night with the second set of cues cards handed out at the mid-race check point at mile 127. The race will consist of about 100 riders from all over the US and even some from Canada, most of those will brave this event with the use of a derailluer while the select group of riders like myself will do it on singlespeed. I'll be running my Waltworks 29er with 38c cross tyres and pushing a 32x14 (~63 gear inches).
You may ask yourself why? My answer is that I am a freak that has been cycling/racing for a long time and now I need to push my body beyond pre-conceived limits. I have dug deep many times at the tail end of a 1hr crit or 4hr ride but I have never had to do it at 3am with more that 200 miles in my legs, it is time to make that happen. Mentally and physically I am prepared as most attempting this feat but what lies waiting around the next corner is the wildcard. The weather last year played havoc with the event as no one finished, I made it 63 miles and pulled the plug. The contingency for this year envolves bar hopping all the way back to Decorah ~ the plan does stand firm to finish.

The race director (GTed) will do his best to update the world on Ride424 with real time reports on the race.

Here is my post from last year:

Iowa and Bikes (reposted from April 2006)
When I first started riding a bike, I lived in the small suburb of Chicago called Carol Stream. We would ride from morning to night without worries of cars or anything else for that matter. This began my obsession with bikes. I would rebuild them, swap out parts, and even have derbies in the driveway. This little neighborhood had a street called Iowa Court which amazingly enough is where I lived. Through this period of my life I rode often with friends and more importantly with my father. Upon graduating from High School, I headed away from the influences of my friends to Iowa State University. My first roommate was from the town of Mallard, which is a TIv2 pass thru town, and spent many a weekend learning about rural farm life. Spending five years in Ames I frequented Michael’s Cyclery a bit. They built up a great set of wheels for my campus bike and gave me a glimpse into a cycling lifestyle. There was a guy called Scooter on my dorm floor who was a racer and I was always in awe at his dedication to the sport. He would be on the trainer as we headed out to the bars. I have become that dedicate person.From Ames I moved to Marshalltown, where my wonderful wife is from. She had done Ragbrai five times and I thought she was the coolest. I still do even though she is more of a marathoner now. I ventured back to Michael’s Cyclery to purchase my first bike, a touring Schwinn. From there I added another bike, this time more of a racing one with indexing downtube shifting. The touring bike turned into the around town bike and the other was one I headed out in the fields of Iowa. Having lived in Marshalltown for a year it was time to marry and move on.This brought us to the great State of Texas! Lived in Houston for awhile and held tight to the Iowa roots I had planted by becoming involved with the alumni association. Here my passion for bike could not be quelled by the looming chemical industry or the mass of cars. I hooked up with West End Cycles and started racing mountain bikes. We traveled all over the state to attend races, from Lajitas to Tyler. I was a great time to race as it was more about the hanging out drinking beer and riding than anything else. During this period we traveled to Austin a lot. One trip was to watch the Tour of Texas. A college roommate came down to watch his brother race in Zilker Park. Finally, we moved to Austin. I got a job with the electric utility and quickly got caught up in the road racing scene. One of the first rides I showed up on my Borthwick, which was handmade in Marshalltown, and many of the riders asked if I knew Porky. Porky was the son of the frame builder and the black sheep of the family. Some of these guys would head to Iowa for Ragbrai and then to Super Week. Also, I met a few Iowa transplants who came to Austin to race. After a great stint in what I consider my favorite city, it was time to move on.We ended up in the mountains of Colorado. Here life took a drastic change. No job other than keeping up with one child, who is an Austinite! We added another for good measure and to make sure I was getting enough on the bike strength work hauling them around. One of the new neighbors happens to have grown up in Mallard, Iowa and knows my first college roommate.
Now as my life ebbs and flows, I will go back to Iowa to finish up some business that looms. The initial plan was not to do TI again until the timing worked out better. I am missing my daughters 7th birthday and her first sleepover party (though 6 girls spending the night wasn't looking like much fun for me). I will be a time again to reacquaint with fellow riders and make new friendships.
No plans to post until next week, so please take some time to enjoy your days!


Cellarrat said...

Vivia La Gravel!

Endurosnob said...

Word. See ya soon.

Paul said...

See you on Friday!