The Trans Iowa Education

The Trans Iowa V.7 was an education.  Or, how I got schooled by the demons that live within that cement like cake of wet Iowa gravel.

Despite my best intentions of riding with the leaders, or at least finishing the race, I succumbed to heavy legs, dark thoughts and a broken spirit. I wish it all could have turned out differently. I really thought I could be there toward the front. Not this year.

The Trans Iowa is a beast of gigantic proportions. One really has no idea of the magnitude of the event until you have saddled up at four AM and felt the punishment of the graveled darkness. By sunrise, I already felt like I had ridden for hours. I had lost the lead pack. I was losing contact with hope of riding strong. By only a few hours in, I knew I was done. Or should I say, I was scared to go on without a safety net support vehicle. Or maybe I was just plain scared. I was lots of things when I decided to pack it in. Proud was not one of them as I passed riders, head down, retracing my steps to the start line.  I felt terrible. Where was my strength of leg and mind? Gone?

The silver lining to my scratch was being able to witness the finish of two incredible riders, my friends Tim Ek (finishing second) and Charlie Farrow (finishing fourth). Rarely have I felt such pride and admiration as I did seeing them come across the line. I was in awe. It was a truly amazing performance of endurance by both. And to Dennis Grelk, the overall winner, my hat is off to you. Another almost unbelievable comeback.

Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip. I will decide later if I will attempt another TI. It certainly left a mark on my psyche, and I only rode a short distance. To Guitar Ted and David Pals, impressive event you guys. Thank you for creating such a monument to cycling. Here are a few more photos Gravel.

 Tim and Charlie at the finish
 Tim Ek moments after finishing
Iowa Cement Gravel
First across the line, Dennis Grelk
Another hill toward the TI finish.

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