My TransIowa experience started early Thursday with a number of morning errands, a chiropractic adjustment, a stop at Rasmussen Bike Shop, and a pre-race leg massage at Hands on Sports Massage. Afterwards, I went to the airport and awaited the arrival of my of two British guests for the weekend - Salsa team rider Paul Errington and Vin Cox, former holder of the Guinness World Record for biking around the world. After some initial contact an exchange of emails and messages, they both accepted my offer of both race weekend support, and a cheap place to stay while they were in town. Vin's plane arrived about 90 minutes late due to some mechanical issues, so we opted to hang out at the airport, grab a snack, chat, and wait for Paul. After Paul's flight arrived around 7:30 PM, we picked up his bike in baggage claim, loaded it up on the Explorer next to Vin's, and headed to my house.
Once we arrived home, Paul's anxiousness to get his bike built led to Vin changing his mind and building his too. After opening his case, Vin discovered that American Airlines had damaged his front wheel beyond use. Two minutes later, he had moved his tire and tube over to one of my spare rims, and he was set to go for the race. While they built their bikes, my close friend and our support driver, Scot, cooked a dinner of NY strips, baked potatoes and grilled asparagus. We spent an hour or so eating and talking, until it was time for Paul and Vin to try and get some sleep. My sleep came in short, fitful bursts that night, as my subconscious ran through all of the things I needed to get done before and during the race.
I expected the next morning to be stressful with three of us trying to get things ready for the weekend, but it was quite relaxed. After some coffee, final packing and finishing up the bike builds, we had time to head out to Hy-Vee for breakfast and food supplies for the weekend. We loaded up the bikes around noon and picked up Scot at his house. Next we made a made a quick stop at Rasmussen Bike Shop so I could say thanks to everyone, and so we could snag some last minute bike parts. After a stop at Abelardo's for a delicious burrito, we were on our way. By 4:30, we had arrived, checked-in, secured a 2 PM check-out for Sunday, replaced Paul's MIA bottle lid, and started walking to the Meat-Up. As we started signing the race and media wavers, the day's calmness quickly gave way to anxiety. I suddenly felt 50 pounds heavier and about 3 feet tall. I ordered a beer to help take the tension off and spent the quite a bit of time saying hi to riders, friends and support crew as I saw them. I hadn't seen many of them since last year, so it was good to spend a few minutes catching up with them and wishing them the best for tomorrow. I finally decided that I needed to eat, whether I was hungry or not, so I did the grill thing, and ended up stuffing myself with what appeared to be a 2 pound chicken breast.
After dinner, we all moved to to another room for the pre-race meeting. After introducing the sponsors and volunteers, a raffle was conducted. Then, Mark went over the rules and details for TIV9. I was fortunate enough to win a nice prize package made up of a signed cycling poster, pound of coffee, and pair of socks courtesy of North Central Cyclery. We were each called up by name, and given the first set of cue sheets and nutritional items from, one of the sponsors, Gu Energy. Once all of the names were called, our group headed back to the hotel. I took a few minutes to drive down to Bikes To You and hang out with Coop and bunch of other people for a bit. It was a good opportunity for me to relax and clear my head with friends and fellow riders just a bit more before Saturday morning arrived. Mark arrived a few minutes after me, and Coop presented him with a certificate of appreciation from the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce for bringing TransIowa there. After half an hour or so, I headed back to the hotel. I laid out my kit, prepped bottles, mounted cues, and gave my faithful Salsa La Cruz a final once over. I finally went to bed around 9 PM.