A "blue collar" cyclist's adventures from the saddle of a bike.
Trans Iowa: This One's for the Searchers
There are a lot of hard races out there, some of which have the potential to change a person. The experience of finishing one never seems to fade as the memories surface at unusual times. One may see a flag snapping in the wind and be instantly taken back to the fields of America's heartland or magazine photo of a mountain top may conjure the pain of a 45 minute hike a bike. These are the races that get in us and stay with us. These are the things that shape who we are. Going to a place so dark, so basic, and so very real is what I believe humans are meant to do. Going there once means you'll never be able to stop searching for that "place" again.
The Trans Iowa is one of those races. There's nothing flashy, nothing really note worthy as the miles endlessly tick past. Yet, there is something very special about the experience. The distance seems unfathomable, some 330 miles by bike, all at once! The enormity of the T.I. combined with the transition from night to day, to night, and back to day, while on one bike ride is something quite different than getting a long one in on a Sunday.
The Trans Iowa not only builds a sense of self, but it creates friendship or more accurately, bonds. I've competed in six T.I.'s and I've come away with friendships that I still think about almost every day. I may not talk to those guys often, some in fact I haven't talked to since, but I still think about them, they'll be a part of me forever. I've looked into their eyes when they were at their most basic state and I saw them looking back into mine. When I felt I had nothing left to give I'd see them get back on their bikes and it made me get back on mine. I guess it's in the knowing, the knowing that we were all in it together and together we'd make it to the end. So, that's what we did.
I may not be out there on those lonely gravel roads this time, but in a way I'll be right there riding with them. This one goes out to the one's who are searching, the one's who always want more. This one's for those who need to know who they really are.
Good luck Trans Iowa riders. I hope you find what you're looking for out there in the dust. Trust me, you'll know it when you do.