Friday started out early, as I had an appointment at Rasmussen's for a bike fitting with Donny Quixote. The session started out with Donny attaching a road bike wheel to my Karate Monkey since my bike wouldn't fit the trainer. It looked rather odd to say the least. He conducted a brief interview, asking me about what issues I was having, and took my measurements. Adjustments led to additional questions and more adjustments. In the end, my seat is now higher (to eliminate the knee pain, and move some of the work from my hamstrings to my quadriceps), I have a different saddle (same width, but slightly more padding to assist with comfort on longer rides), and new grips (to adjust my shoulder and arm position, and to help with some hand numbness issues). The seat height was the biggest change, and although I expected a change, I thought he would set it lower. I have about 30 miles on the new positioning and it does feel better. However, it will take some time to get used to the change in my center of gravity as well as some time to get my quadriceps built up for riding longer distances.
After my fitting, I loaded my bike on the Explorer and headed north of Ames pick up friend Paul and his friend Cory and head off to TransIowa v4. Paul and Corey were both riding, and I was volunteering my time to assist with the event. We had a pre-race meeting at T-Bocks in Decorah on Friday night and then went back to the hotel so Paul and Cory could prep for an early 4 AM start. We were up at 3 AM Saturday morning, and I followed Paul, Corey and some others to the start line. Temps were in the mid 30s, and the winds were out of the west at well over 20 MPH. After the start, I packed all of our stuff up, checked out of the hotel and headed off to man the check point at Wadena, Iowa. The checkpoint was officially open from 9 AM to 2 PM. However, due to the head and crosswinds the riders were subjected to, the first riders did not arrive until around 12:15 PM. In the end, only 23 riders made it to the checkpoint on time. Of those that did arrive, only 17 decided to continue on towards checkpoint two. The road conditions were on everyone's mind after the soaking the area received over the previous two days. However, the wind is what sapped the strength of most of the riders that day.
Paul and Corey ended up pulling out about 80 miles in after it became apparent that they were not going to be able to make the checkpoint in time. After they received a ride to checkpoint 1, we stood around, drank some beers with the other riders and headed off to checkpoint 2 in Earlville, Iowa. While checking in with the RD, I was informed that they were marking yet another detour in the route near the Buchanan county border due to flooding. We arrived in Earlville a while later, and met up with Joe (a fellow Karate Monkey owner) and some others at a nice park and waited for the riders to arrive. During this time, Paul decided to put another 4 miles on his bike and get his dirty century in towards the Cup O Dirt. The RD's showed up a while later and we determined that the race was down to just 5 riders. After having some beers, and some delicious stakes courtesy of Joe's grill, we decided to head for home as 10:00 PM would be the earliest the riders could arrive. After a stop for food and caffeine in Cedar Falls, I dropped Corey off in Nevada, Paul off in Gilbert and made my way home, pulling into the driveway at 1 AM, tired, but happy.
In the end, the race was called 40 miles into the 3rd leg due to treacherous conditions. As TransIowa participants are routinely subjected to some of the "best" level B and C roads that the state has to offer, this was saying a lot for the conditions. The winner of the event was John Gorrilla, closely followed by Joe Kucharski and Charlie Farrow for second and third place respectively. Fourth place finisher Charles Parsons arrived about 75 minutes later with fifth and final finisher Corey Godfrey
arriving another two hours after Parsons.
My time volunteering for TransIowa was time well spent. I had the opportunity to support friend, make a new one, meet some people who I knew only through blog postings, as well as see some incredible athletes driven to their limits. As a bike person, the array of bikes and setups people used during the event was an incredibly interesting thing to see as well. If I don't participate in next year's TI (and that thought is running through my head), I will definitely volunteer again.
Photos I took at Checkpoint 1
Guitar Ted's detailed analysis of the events
MTBR TI thread