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Grinnell, Iowa
United States
Guitar Ted
50F / 10C
Total Time = 32h 30m 15s
Overall Rank = /
Age Group =
Age Group Rank = 0/
Pre-race routine:

Drove to Iowa on Thursday and first thing Friday morning. Checked in to hotel. Got bike set up and took a ride to the start line and then out into the country - darn windy! Pre-Race meeting. Sleep (yeah right). Wake up at 2:00am and start getting prepared. Leave hotel at 3:15am to ride to start line.
Event warmup:

Ride to start line - it is a 327 mile ride - no need to warm up!
  • 30h 15m 32s
  • 285 miles
  • 9.42 mile/hr

WARNING - This is going to be long, emotional, religious, and many other things. If any of these facets bother you look at it this way I am saving you 15 minutes of your life to go do something else!

Facebook post Monday night at 12:00am or so after I had rolled back into town:
1650 miles in the truck, 335 miles of bike riding in Iowa, numerous memories - this is what TransIowa is all about. Most gracious thanks to God for giving me the strength to train and courage to attempt, Mark Stevenson for putting so much into an awesome event, all of the volunteers but especially to the awesome men of Checkpoint Bravo and Charlie, to my comrades that I spent many hours with pedaling around rural Iowa, and to my family and friend network that supports this crazy endeavour that I attempt periodically. I will hold all of these memories and people close to my heart for many years to come. If I never "succeed in finishing" TransIowa I am alright with that because as a poet wrote (and I am about to butcher into my own words) it is not about the finish line, but it is about the people that I shared every ounce of sweat with, every ounce of my energy with, every ounce of power I had in my legs with. I have concluded it was a mental lapse at a mechanical aspect brought on by physical weakness that caused this attempt to end. My body was willing to continue but my mind did not have the ability to put corrective action into play. 200 miles is easy, 225 challenging, 250 brutally difficult, 300+ takes pure mental, physcial, and emotional strength to carry you to the finish line. To the 19 that succeeded congrats, to us other 52 starters congrats, and to all others interested in this event - follow your heart!

Charlie Farrows post the night before the race:

Dear Self:Getting ready for the Trans-Iowa. Quit foolin’ & deludin’ yourself about how you ain’t racing it… that instead you be out there just tryin’ to finish. It don’t work that way down there in Iowa. It ain't your race...your are just a pawn. Get it right—The whole thing is about racing. You are racing against it all fallin’ apart. Sooner or later itz gonna fall apart. “Things fall apart.” Like you, your gear is antiquated so you’re racin’ against stuff thatz gonna break sooner rather than later. You’re racing against flat tires and broken chains and trashed derailleurs… You’re racing against the onset of knee pain, against Achilles pain. You’re racing and hoping that your fragile back holds up. Itz like when the Wicked Witch of the North gotz Dorothy all locked up in that creepy castle and she getz that big-ass hour glass thingy going; puttin’ little Dorothy on notice that she aint got much ‘time” left here on earth, so she better get moving…You better get moving…You’re racing against the onset of darkness and then itz buddy, The Cold that seeps into your body. The merciless cold that invades your aged joints, the coldness that infiltrates into your true essence and robs you of your desire to keep going. AND you be racing against the most awesome foe of all…Racing against the most basic need of all…The need to stop the damned bike and sleep. “Things fall apart. The center cannot hold.” You’re like Dorothy, hoping and a praying that you can outlast them flying monkeys. Scare me.
Also, you aint gonna race this thing on hour own. The mantra of “me gonna ride my own race” doesn’t apply to the Trans-Iowa. If you want to finish the Trans-Iowa your going have to form some coalitions, alliances, you will need to caucus…because going it alone is just too hard. Get your head right!


This race is not easy.
There is not one easy aspect of it besides loving the race director, volunteers and fellow competitors. Once you step outside of those 3 comfort zones you have rural Iowa, cold, wind, rain, gravel, demons, fear, hunger, thirst, pain, locals, dogs, and bike mechanicals to deal with.

This race is not easy!

We had our first check point at mile 50. I remember my heart rate being so out of control for the first 10 miles and then finally relaxing. I remember being able to ride with a guy that finishes top 5 every year and thinking to myself that I am in a good spot if I can ride with Charlie (only to learn he struggled all day and eventually DNF'd before me). I rolled into the first checkpoint and went to reload water/food and wait for a guy I ate dinner with and formed an alliance with but lost him on the road. He was taking too long and I wanted to get going. I told his father to give him well wishes from me and headed out!

Checkpoint #2 was 120 miles away and I met up with a couple of different groups and then settled in with my main group that we would attempt to finish together 8 strong. I was very strong during this period and never once doubted that I would be crossing the finish line in Grinnell at some point Sunday April 29th. There were some mis-directions but it was up to Jay and I to keep us on course. The one time we made a wrong turn I was in back and asked if we were sure about our direction - they said yes but it was no. 2.5 extra miles is unnecessary but luckily they were easy miles!

This race is not easy!

It rained somewhat here and there. It would get cold and we would change gear. It would warm up and we would change gear. When you 8 different bodies you have 8 different needs. Is 8 too many? Now that I look back on it - YES but at the time it seemed like the perfect number!

This race is not easy!

Sunrise was coming on now and I had visions of greatness. I knew once the sun came up I would feel stronger and we would push hard into the finish line passing others out in front of us. But with the sun, came the wind - a brutal headwind and a useless tail wind on the hills. This hills oh the hills!!! Nerve racking descents. Leg killing ascents. Mind numbing headwinds. And to top it off - Fresh Gravel. Old gravel is smooth but no asphalt or concrete smooth. I guess it is 1.5x or 2x harder to pedal 10mph on smooth gravel than concrete. Add fresh gravel to that and it goes to 5x harder at least!

This race is not easy.

I am faltering - I am calling out to God for strength to return. For food to be consumed. For energy to pour out. I stop and put on my secret weapon - my IPod. It will carry me the final 40 miles. The final distance equal to my commute to work and home that I do religiously with no issues ever.

This race is not easy

Jay and Jeremy slowly pull away a little at a time but I feel a surge. I am calling out again. Give me strength for 40 miles. Pop. My rack mount brakes. Jay and Jeremy stop - I yell at them to keep riding. Don't wait for me. Finish what you have started. I pull my bag off and attempt to attach it to my seat post bag. Awkward. Heavy in the rear. Bag rubs on tire ever pedal stroke. I am so pissed right now!

This race is not easy!

I push on and come to the T. Right with 4.5 hours to finish or left on pavement to a city and relief. Right to the finish line and success. Left to a unknown state of mind. What do I do. How bad do I need to finish TransIowa V8. What if I finish? Then what? I rode 285+ miles - how many people can say that. I rode through the night strong. I pulled more miles out front than any of the other 8. Would I be stronger if I had slipped to the back and relaxed a little. Would we be as close as we are if Jay and I had not kept the pace going and the group together. What if Scott didn't flat and we had not waited for him? What about the other 2 and how we waited 2 or 3 times for them and then they rode off to finish without us? Could 6 be stronger than 4, then 3?

I turned left. The decision wasn't easy and either is the race!

I get down the road a little and call the RD and tell him I am out!

It is final - I will not be a finisher of TI V8. I will not gain that notariety that deep down inside I garner so badly to be one of the few that conquered a course that destroys so many! I do not get to retire my Salsa Vaya and hang her in the basement to live out a life of fame and fortune. It wasn't her fault. She performed flawlessly. The rack is not from her or her offspring. The rack is the red headed step child. The L-Bracket is now the cooler of V5. It will sit in a plastic ziplock on my desk reminding daily of what could have been and what wasn't to be.

Will there be other attempts in the future. Only time will tell. I would tell you yes today but my family may have other ideas. My Lord and Savior may have other directions as well. He has been so prevelant in all of my encounters with TransIowa from my first registration back in V4, to my "failure" in V5, to me pulling out in V6 due to family health issues, to my volunteering in V7, and then to me toeing the line in V8. Yes if it is His will then there will be future attempts.

This race is not easy! Training is not easy! Disappearing from family for hours on end to ride is not easy! Winter in Buffalo is not easy!

Thanks for all of your support my BT Brothers and Sisters. You know who you are and your words gave me the courage to know that I could finish TransIowa.

If and when that ever happens I will invite you all to rural Iowa and we will go for a ride and you can feel what I feel. As I told my Pastor if you ever came to the meat-n-greet or to the start line or the first check point - you would sign up for this race in a heart beat. I cannot tell you what it is - but it is there and you would feel it also!

What would you do differently?:

Carry less gear, spend less time at stops, zip tie my rack to my front fork so I could continue on, dig deeper to push through the final 37 or so miles!
Post race
Warm down:

Rode to gas station after I pulled the plug and ate some food. Headed east into the headwind and found another gas station and ate some more food. Called taxi and waited for a ride back to Grinnell, IA

What limited your ability to perform faster:

The conditions, my gearing (bike), and my gear choices.

Event comments:

I am not going to give it a good rating because I don't want a bunch signing up for it and making me miss the chance to race it again - but it is a bitch, but a fun bitch!

Last updated: 2012-03-28 12:00 AM
30:15:32 | 285 miles | 9.42 mile/hr
Age Group: 0/
Overall: 0/
Performance: Average
You would not even want to see my H/R date or calories burned or consumed from this event. You shake your head at me enough already as it is!
Wind: Strong
Course: A 327 mile route through rural Iowa over the hills and through the valleys on the way to the finish line :)
Road: Rough  Cadence:
Turns: Cornering:
Gear changes: Hills:
Race pace: Drinks:
Post race
Weight change: %
Overall: Good
Mental exertion [1-5] 4
Physical exertion [1-5] 4
Good race? Yes
Course challenge Just right
Organized? Yes
Events on-time? Yes
Lots of volunteers? Yes
Plenty of drinks?
Post race activities:
Race evaluation [1-5] 1

2012-05-02 9:18 AM

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muck raker
Looking to enjoy life-Be grateful for everything!
Subject: TransIowa

2012-05-02 10:04 AM
in reply to: #4185823

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Norwalk, Connecticut
Subject: RE: TransIowa

well, what can i say....not much.

you rock, it is an honor to know you.

i will look for this report every year till you stop trying, i know that at sometime in the near future i will read a story of completion. I will not use the word success, because you already succeeded the moment you started, and all the inspiration and admiration you give and garner from your friends, virtual and real.


2012-05-02 10:49 AM
in reply to: #4185823

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Subject: RE: TransIowa
Great job!
2012-05-02 3:36 PM
in reply to: #4186035

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Gold member
Subject: RE: TransIowa
Wow, sorry you had to learn a hard lesson.    But, you can't account for EVERYTHING.   I still think you're awesome.
2012-05-02 3:53 PM
in reply to: #4185823

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Husker Nation
Subject: RE: TransIowa
You're a bada**. Plain and simple.

Great job.
2012-05-02 7:04 PM
in reply to: #4185823

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Subject: RE: TransIowa

You keep finding joy and challenge in the TransIowa. What a mental and physical challenge.  You handle the experience in a way that is amazing.

Your description of the event over the years scares me but also intrigues me....its on my dream big bucket list.

2012-05-03 7:54 AM
in reply to: #4185823

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Bronze member
Subject: RE: TransIowa
What can I say, my Friend. You are just awesome. The race is hard, really, really hard and you did great. There is no telling all the different things that can happen, and you KNOW that in your heart, just toeing the line is a victory.
2012-05-03 11:11 AM
in reply to: #4185823

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over the rainbow
Subject: RE: TransIowa

Others have said it so eloquently, I cannot express it any better.

You succed by getting the long and brutal Buffalo winter training rides in without fail.  You succeed by choosing to endeavor something that is unimaginable, even for those of us here on BT who share the love of the bike.  You will complete this event one day, I have no doubts.  285 miles, overnight riding, wind, hills and fresh gravel make some serious bragging rights.

Awesomeness, my friend.

2012-05-03 3:36 PM
in reply to: #4185823

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Melon Presser
Gold member
Subject: RE: TransIowa

You kicked the vast majority of that b****'s butt.

You kicked your own butt like crazy, busting your butt to get ready.

You got to enjoy some mighty big T.I.T.S.

This has WIN written all over it.

2012-05-04 7:08 AM
in reply to: #4185823

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muck raker
Looking to enjoy life-Be grateful for everything!
Subject: RE: TransIowa

Thanks for all the kind words everyone!  Your support is very much appreciated.

Until next year

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