Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Sorry for the delay. I just got out of bed! No seriously, I think I came down with something as I wasn't feeling good at all yesterday. I am feeling much better now! So here is the report.

Matt and I drove down to Steve Fuller's to get picked up by Dennis and his parents. We put our bikes in Dennis' awesome trailer and were headed down the road. We got to the hotel and then ate "The Best Pizza in Iowa" in Lamoni! We hit the sack pretty quickly after eating. Our plans were to eat at 6:30 in the morning and then take off.

This started our epic adventure. We were ready to go eat, but the restaurant didn't open at 6:30, but at 7:00. I had called the restaurant on Thursday and they told me 6:30. I guess locals never know anything about their own town! So, we asked the nice couple and the hotel manager about the restaurant uptown. They said it opened at 6:00. We road the mile and a half into town to find that the restaurant was for sale and not even open for business! Damn. I was pretty pissed as I am a pretty detail orientated person and here I was messing up and we hadn't even started! So, we decided on riding to the Iowa/Missouri border and then eating at the restaurant that opened at 7:00. Down the road we went to get to the border!

After leaving the border in 4 short miles we were back at the restaurant and we all had a great breakfast! I think we left the restaurant around 8:15-8:30. Looking back I wish we could have eaten at 6:00 and been on the road by 6:30. That could have made a big difference in our future plans. Anyway, we took off down the road and it wasn't more than 4 miles and we missed a turn. WARNING! DO NOT TRUST WWW.ROUTESLIP.COM! Seriously, routeslip is awesome, but it doesn't tell you what the road signs really say! So we missed a turn here or there. Yes, I felt like the dumbass of the month, but we probably only went an extra 5-7 miles overall. Not so bad, but bad enough that it still pisses me off a bit. Like Dennis said, "That is why they call it being on an adventure!" We made Murray within 2.5 hours or so and I was already hungry again. So, we stopped for a bit and ate. Yes, all of us ate!

We then cruised the 40 or so miles to Winterset. We were really in a groove during this section and flying pretty good. We made the 80 miles to Winterset in a little over 7 hours total I believe. We headed out of Winterset and made it to Adel, but decided to keep riding to Dallas Center. It was here that Steve told me that he was done. I was totally shocked as he had been riding strong all day. BUT, I also understand how that feeling can creep up on a person as well. He had about 15-20 miles to ride home against the wind. It was great having Steve along and I wouldn't doubt he will give this ride another go down the road! Thanks Steve for everything.

We donned our lights (with some help of some zip ties! Thanks Matt!)

BTW, I love the Princeton Tec Apex light. Thanks Dave!

So, we headed north on the flat roads of central Iowa! The only problem was the 15 or so miles into the wind that was coming up! I had been dreading this all day! We finally got to the pavement and I got on Dennis' wheel. He was pushing and I wasn't exactly in his draft as I would have had to ride out in the middle of the lane at night so I just stayed on the white line. Dennis is much more powerful than me so it was hard staying with him for these few miles until one of the climbs out of the Des Moines River valley where I let him go. My achilles tendons were on fire and I had to take it easy. We headed north for a few miles to Ledges State Park where we took a bit of a break knowing the the next 11 miles were going to be hell going into the 20-25 mph winds. We took off within 10 minutes. I had told Dennis that I had to pace myself during this time as I didn't want to fry my achilles. I stayed within a half of a mile of him, but I am sure he was going easy. I think I was going 9-10 mph down the gravel. We finally made State Street in Ames.

This is where we (I) ultimately made some mistakes that led to our decision not to finish the ride. I learned a lot in Ames that I will NOT repeat at TI. First off, we stopped at Matt's house and put away the bikes and then walked about a 1/2 mile to Pizza Pit. We ate and took our time and then walked back. We loaded up the food, etc and then took off from Matt's. We made it to Ames at around the 145-150 mile mark by 10:20 (about 14 hours after the start)so in my mind we were making good time even with all of our stops. Dennis and I did very little talking during this time. It was like I was just pushing the pedals and was tired. We hit the three miles of gravel that connects Ames and Gilbert and it was pretty soft. This sucked. I couldn't get the thought out of my head of what the gravel north of Gilbert must have been like with 6 inches of snow just two days before followed by 50 degree temps. I am sure it would have been pretty soft and possibly muddy.

We rolled into Gilbert and I asked Dennis how he was feeling. He told me that he had plenty of energy, but was very sleepy. I was as well. It was just before 1:00am at this time. We had been biking for over 18 hours. Dennis refused to make the call so I did. I wanted to take a hot shower and to sleep with my wife. I am sure Dennis wanted a bed as well! So, we left 115 or so miles on the map to be done on another day. Could we have finished, no doubt about it. I had the energy and if I did Dennis surely did. But, sometimes it is just smarter to sleep! I think we finished with about 157 miles including the ride down to the border, in an estimated 16 hours. Not bad for the breaks we took!

We will see what happens at Trans Iowa this year!

Check out the route here and pictures here. Make sure to check out Dennis's page and Steve's page.

Happy training!


Taugimba said...

Paul great job! Sounds like you'll be ready for TI. Keep up the training...

the inebriationist said...

Nice. Way to build there.

Cory's doing a bit of tapering here...sniff.

bontrag said...

Hey Paul. Sounds like you're setting yourself up very well for a rewarding TI ride this year.

Even though my thesis has really taken over a lot more than I expected, it is a great reminder every time I get on your blog lately to keep things in perspective.

Thanks for keeping up with your blog I really enjoy it, the great ride setups and accounts of the ride are just the break I need. I wish you luck as you finish up a good season of training.

Paul said...

You are far too kind bontrag! I have temptations of deleting this thing some days as I just don't feel like I am much of a rider. There are certainly A LOT more interesting people out there that is for sure. But, then again, I am just the average guy trying hard things so maybe it appeals to a few people, once in a while.

I look forward to getting out again soon with ya.