By Karen Brooks
We’ve wrapped up issue #24, and even as you read this it’s making its way to your door and to your favorite magazine retailer or you can pick up a copy in our store. Here’s a sneak peek:
A Guide to Cargo Bikes
Cargo bikes are increasingly replacing SUVs as a means to get around town with large items and family members in tow. (They’re a lot more fun for all involved!) We figured some more of you would want to know about how to bring a cargo bike into your life. Our tech editor, Eric McKeegan, has become our resident expert on cargo bikes over the years, having done the majority of our cargo bike reviews as well as riding and experimenting on his own, so here he breaks down the different types available and what situations they’re good for.
We also talked to a trio of parents who have become experts at bringing kids along via cargo bike and gleaned tips on how to stay safe, deal with weather and keep it fun, among other considerations. (Hint: snacks are key.)
Sign Sprints in Champagne
This is a lighthearted account, accompanied by some stunning photos, of a group of friends touring the Champagne region of France. Have some good snacks handy, and maybe even a glass of bubbly, when you read this one.
Portland’s Naked Bike Ride
We’ve previously featured stories from globetrotter Joshua Samuel Brown about riding in Taiwan and Los Angeles, but now he’s found his future hometown on U.S. soil: that haven of bike-friendliness, Portland, Oregon. He braved a local traditional ride to get more… um… intimate with his new neighbors.
Interview with Paul Freedman of Rock the Bike and the Bicycle Music Festival
Our fearless leader Maurice is also our de facto Bay Area correspondent. He ran across the completely pedal-powered Bicycle Music Festival, both stationary and rolling along the streets of San Francisco, and decided to find out more about it. As it turns out, one of the founders is none other than Fossil Fool, a bike rapper we first encountered on the streets of Las Vegas during the Interbike trade show.
- Xtracycle EdgeRunner
- Trek Domane 4.5
- Norco Indie Drop 1
- Cannondale Quick CX3
- And more
By Trina Haynes
Some kids pick up a bike at a young age and it’s instant kismet, and others… well… not so much.
My 11-year-old daughter has shown minimal interest in bicycles since her first introduction at age three. As soon as we sat her on her little plastic scoot-style bike, with joyous faces “she’s going to be a little ripper!”… Nope. Screaming and clamoring to get off this evil, vampiric contraption followed suit.
We tried just letting the toddler bike sit there and maybe she would become interested. Nope.
We tried “Look, Mommy and Daddy ride bikes. Wheeee!”. Nope.
This went on for years. She eventually gave into some enjoyment in her bike trailer. Then she graduated to a tag-along, but would never sit on her own training-wheeled bike. Finally, I think at age eight, she started to cruise around on a 10-inch with training wheels, but only in the house and of course it was way to small for her.
By age nine she loved going on rides, as long as it was she was attached to someone else, trail-a-bike style.
At that point we bought her a fancy new bike, which she picked out. She loved it and agreed to practice gliding on it. We dropped the seat, took the pedals off and she was off. Once she understood the concept of balance and gliding on a bike, with a few glide crashes under her belt, we made the decision that the pedals must go on regardless of her refusal.
If you’re a parent, you probably have a good idea of the repercussions. Boycott the bike! Sigh… Eventually (talking at least a month or two) she gave in to just gliding with the pedals on. Her little brother, gliding around, happy as can be, definitely helped.
This went on for months, refusing to touch or put her feet on or near the pedals while gliding. I take full blame for the stubborn gene she has. Then, last weekend, the hubby and I couldn’t take it anymore. The parental foot went down! “We are going to learn to pedal today! And it’s going to be amazing! (Dammit!)”
A few hours of crying, attitude and excuses occured…. Then, tears running down her cheeks and puffy-eyed, she got on her bike.
First we practiced getting the feet up on the pedals while gliding, not even pedaling just sitting them there. Then brakes and feet down, means you stop. Continuing to remind her, “you control the bike, it’s not going to do a back-flip on you, or bust out some kung-fu action to knock you off.” That little step was mastered quickly. Phew, step 1 done!
Then, running along side her, encouraging her to do a pedal stroke. This took hours, one pedal stroke (yeah!), then three (heck yeah!). We continued with this for two days, a good majority of the day, taking breaks, drinking, eating, and trying again and again. Until this…
Of course, I was wiping away motherly proud tears and doing the happy dance in my head. My point is every kid will enjoy riding a bike, no matter how intimidated and afraid they might be and sometimes it is good to let kids take riding a bike at their own pace. And sometimes they need a big push.
It makes me very sad to see reports that children riding bikes in the United States is dropping substantially every year. School districts are not allowing kids to ride bikes to and from school anymore. It infuriates me that adults who as children rode and played in the streets now yell at kids from cars for doing it. Why?!
People tell me, “Times have changed, Trina.” Yes, we changed the times. Let’s change them back! I want my kids to be able to ride up and down the sidewalk and not be panicked about the cars doing 40mph in a 25mph zone, or be able to send them to an empty parking lot and not be worried a car is going to come flying through there to take a shortcut. It wouldn’t just be terrible if we all slowed down, just a little, would it?
Get out there and get your son or daughter, niece or nephew, a grandchild, your godchild or some young human being, and get them to ride at least twice a week. This is your mission for a better bike tomorrow.
By Maurice Tierney
Now in its third year, Pedalfest in Jack London Square in Oakland, Calif., offers something for everyone, not just committed cyclists, not just bike riders, but people off the street that might not otherwise get turned on to bikes in all their goodness. That’s a turn-on.
There’s music courtesy of Rock The Bike’s pedal-powered sound stage all day. Right around the corner is the New Belgium beer tent in support of the East Bay Bike Coalition. Then you’ll find the Bicycle Times/Dirt Rag tent, where we’ll be giving away some sweet goodies when you subscribe to either magazine. And that’s down the road from the Whiskeydrome, where fearless feats of derring-do take place on a 30 foot wide banked—and I mean BANKED track—which is sure to please those with an appetite for destruction.
If that doesn’t suit your fancy our friends at Brompton will be holding folding bike races, hopefully NOT on the Whiskeydrome, plus there is the kid’s bike rodeo, BMX Stunt Team performances, the display of the US Bicycling Hall of Fame, the Meet Your Maker framebuilder ride, the bicycle-trivia dunk tank, the New Belgium beer garden and if that’s not enough, Cyclecide will be there!
Join us July 20 in Jack London Square. See you there!
Whiskeydrome Stunt Action
Cycling daredevils will ride at thrilling speeds and perform exciting stunts in a 30-foot banked wooden velodrome!
BMX Stunt Team Performances
TGC Actions Sports/BMX Stunt Team with James Brom returns to Pedalfest for an action-packed day of BMX riding competition including eye-popping jumps, wheelies, bike stunts and more.
Oaklandish’s Kids Bicycle Parade
Be a part of Oaklandish’s kids bicycle parade and help kick-off 2013 Pedalfest! Children are invited to show up with already-decorated bicycles, or they can deck-out their bikes at a special Oaklandish decorating station, at 11 AM. The parade will cruise through Jack London Square at 12 PM.
Bicycle Stunt Shows
Professional stunt riders Chris Clarke and Mike Steidley will wow crowds with exciting, two-wheeled stunts showcasing bicycle balancing and agility on obstacles!
Rock the Bike’s Pedal-powered Sound Stage
Enjoy live music on Rock the Bike’s pedal-powered sound stage that produces electricity from the pedaling of stationary bicycles! Enjoy performances by the following groups:
Noon: Antioquia. Afro-Columbian Progress Rock.
1 p.m.: Cello Joe. One-Man, One Cello | Bike-touring, BeatBoxing-Cellist Genius
2. p.m.: Antioquia
3 p.m.: Conbrio. Powerful vocals and soulful grooves that blends old-school grit with new-school sophistication
4 p.m.: Will Magid Band. Deep drum groove with trumpet lead “…sweet spot between traditional vibe and global beat.”
5 p.m.: HoneySweet. R&B vocals with blues and rock influence
6 p.m.: Fossil Fool. The Bike Rapper and Rock The Bike’s founder takes the mic and sings funny, soulful hiphop with a not-so-subtle Bike Bias.
U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame
A collection of vintage bikes.
Handmade Bicycles on Display
Dozens of top independent bicycle frame builders including Petaluma-based Soulcraft and Retrotec will showcase their handmade steel creations.
Pedal-powered Art & Food
Hop on stationary bicycles and pedal to create smoothies and enjoy other pedal-powered treats including coffee, tacos, ice cream and more! Pedalfest-goers are also invited to create pedal-powered spin art to take home and enjoy!
Brompton Folding Bike Race
To celebrate the upcoming Brompton World Championship, Pedalfest will host a Brompton Folding Bike Race throughout the day. Contestants will race against the clock and each other to see who can fold and unfold their Brompton Folding Bike in record time. Prizes will be awarded to the fastest fold!
Kids Bicycle Rodeo
A team of youth cycling instructors will lead a fun-filled bicycle rodeo for children throughout the day including a bike safety course, skills building lessons and bicycle safety instructions. Bikes and helmets will be provided to participating children, grades 3-6.
Pedal-powered Rides by Cyclecide
Little kids, big kids and kids-at-heart will enjoy whimsical fun on The Cyclofuge, a kiddie carousel, a bike corral of altered bikes and more!
Bike Stand Demo Stage
This festival stage will host contests, demos, tricks and DIY bicycle tips throughout the day!
Bike Trivia Dunk Tank
Bike geeks and cycling newbies can test their two-wheeled knowledge of bike safety trivia against Pedalfest bicycle safety instructors. For each correct answer, participants have a chance to dunk the instructor or other event VIPs in a midway style dunk tank!
Bicycles and Bike Gear
Check out the latest bicycles, gear, clothing and accessories from dozens of bicycle vendors.
New Belgium Beer Garden
New Belgium Brewing Co. will pour beer with all proceeds going to support the advocacy work of the East Bay Bicycle Coalition, a non-profit organization.
Pedalfest Pig Roast by Lungomare
Lungomare’s Chef Craig DiFonzo will slow-roast a whole pig and serve it up Italian style with a bountiful selection of side dishes for all to enjoy. Click here for all the details and a special price for those who reserve in advance.
Hope you’re not afraid of the dark. Some folks in Omaha, Nebraska, are pushing the gravel grinding scene into the night with the Greater Omaha Nighttime Gravel Ride on July 20.
It’s an entirely self-supported ride over 25 or 50 miles. The route isn’t quite finalized yet, but that’s part of the fun. Meet at the Walnut Creek Recreation Area in Papillion, Nebraska, at 7 p.m. and be ready to roll out at 8:52 p.m. (which I assume is sundown -ed.)
If you make it out, let us know how it goes!Tweet Print
If you’re lucky enough to live near one of the eight Amtrak routes that allow passengers to roll bikes onboard, you’ve likely noticed the trains are a lot more full these days. Seems Amtrak is seeing increased demand for the service, so much so that in California the Caltran and Amtrak trains have begun a reservation system for the service.
In most of the country, riders must box their bike in one of Amtrak’s enormous bike boxes. It isn’t difficult—just remove the pedals and turn the handlebars sideways—but it certainly isn’t convenient or quick enough for commuting. Many trains don’t have extra baggage cars, all luggage is brought on board, and thus cannot carry bikes at all.
The good news is that politicians are getting on board (that’s a train pun). According to Streesblog, several New York lawmakers are asking Amtrak to add baggage cars on the Adirondack and Ethan Allen lines, which run from Manhattan to the upstate area. They’ve recognized that cycling tourism brings business to rural areas.
Have you ever taken a bike on Amtrak or other trains? Share your experience in the comments.
Think you’ve been on some pretty long bike rides? I’m guessing they can’t compare with the 3,000-mile Race Across America, held each summer from Oceanside, Calif., to Annapolis, Md.
The first finisher of 2013 crossed the line this week with a new record time. Austrian Christoph Strasser completed the journey in just 7 days, 22 hours and 11 minutes—the first rider to ever finish RAAM in less than eight days. He averaged 15.56 miles per hour atop his Specialized time trial bike.
The 2013 race began at the Oceanside Pier and took the racers over the Coast Range into the searing desert heat. After crossing the desert they climbed into the cool Rocky Mountain air reaching 10,856 feet on Wolf Creek Pass, Colo. After descending the mountain passes racers crossed Great Plains, the Mississippi River and the relentless rolling hills of the Midwest. They then conquered the humidity and steep climbs of the Appalachian Mountains before reaching Annapolis and the cool water of the Chesapeake Bay.
Want to learn more about the Race Across America? Check out the video series, Riding the Line, about the race and the extreme athletes who compete.Tweet Print
By Adam Newman and Jon Pratt
We’ve written about the Great Allegheny Passage trail a number of times, after all, it’s right in our own backyard (read some here and here). This past weekend the GAP celebrated its completion, connecting downtown Pittsburgh to Cumberland, Maryland, and beyond to Washington D.C. via the C&O Canal Towpath.
The trail was, of course, once a railroad, but when it was sold by the Western Maryland Railroad in the 1970s, new ideas began to sprout. The Western Pennsylvania Conservancy purchased a 26-mile stretch of railroad between Connellsville and Confluence in 1978. The 9-mile trail from Ohiopyle to Ramcat opened in 1986. People loved it. By 2001 the corridor had an official name: The Great Allegheny Passage.
Countless individuals and several local advocacy groups and sponsors along the corridor have worked for more than three decades to make it happen, and finally on June 15, 2013, the trail reached Point State Park in downtown Pittsburgh.
To celebrate, Bicycle Times photographer Jon Pratt made the trek from Washington to Pittsburgh and documented his journey:
The Great Falls On The Potomac River, 15 Miles Outside Of Washington, D.C.
The Desert Rose Cafe in Williamsport, Maryland, is a great, bicycle-friendly place to grab a bite to eat. We were happy to get out of the rain and mud.
The Paw Paw Tunnel is one of the most famous, and darkest, spots along the C&O Canal Towpath.
In Cumberland, Maryland, the C&O Canal ends and the Great Allegheny Passage begins.
After the more than 20 mile climb out of Cumberland, you’re rewarded with spectacular views from Big Savage Mountain.
It’s nice to know it’s all downhill from here!
Crossing the Salisbury Viaduct—1,908 feet spanning the Casselman River Valley outside Meyersdale, Pa.
Naturally we stopped at the Wilderness Voyageurs’ Beer And Gear Festival In Ohiopyle, Pa.
The Roundbottom Campground has plenty of trees for hammocks, and even a few shelters to sleep in.
The final stretch that needed attention was a few hundred yards near the Sandcastle water park. Now it is paved and the point is made!Tweet Print
The San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival—the original and world’s largest bicycle music festival—happens Saturday June 22, 2013, from noon to 5 p.m. at Pioneer Log Cabin Meadow in Golden Gate Park.
Our LiveOnBike music bike parade will commence at 5:00pm, en-route to 22nd and Bartlett Streets where the party continues until 9pm.
The San Francisco Bicycle Music Festival is a free, all-day, all-ages, outdoor concert featuring musical acts from around the Bay Area.The Festival champions bicycle mobility, audience participation, and zero use of fossil fuels.
Although this is a completely free event, the bands are paid in part by cash donations. We suggest attendees bring cash to support the bands.
All amplification for the music is Pedal Powered, meaning that the audience generates electricity for the sound system by pedaling bicycles in equipment provided by Rock The Bike. Every material aspect of the Festival–sound equipment, instruments, gear, personnel, musicians, and fans–is transported by bicycle.
New this year:
- Night Venue in a bustling block in the Mission, the same location as the Thursday Night Farmer’s Market. (22nd & Bartlett)
- Our Biggest LiveOnBike ride ever, possibly reaching 1,000 cyclists, enjoying a mobile performance from an 8-foot wide Mobile Stage, and amplified by speakers strapped to bikes and connected wirelessly.
- True concert grade sound, including a new Line Array and a new subwoofer along with other new audio tools like better mics. It’ll be the World’s largest Human-Powered concert. History in the making!
- The biggest Pedal Power effort ever, with 25 efficient generator bikes—one 16 feet tall, some sized small enough for 7-year-olds, some ridden in by musicians performing at the festival, so the vision of true community-powered all-day music festival can be achieved.
- The first time featuring an internationally prominent environmentalist / thought leader on the mic, Bill McKibben of 350.org. With Carbon in the atmosphere passing 400 PPM, his message has never been more needed.
- Refresh with bike-blended smoothies and pedal-churned ice cream at Golden Gate Park, and at the evening venue, enjoy local, hot, delicious fare from the Mission Community Market–all while checking out some amazing local music.
- The LiveOnBike Mobile Stage allows small acts to face a rolling audience of hundreds.
Line Up: Laurie Lewis & the Right Hands, Bill McKibben of 350.org, Quinn DeVeaux & the Blue Beat Review, The Seshen, Classical Revolution, Earth Amplified, DJ Real and more. LiveOnBike performance by Jason Brock of TV’s The X-Factor.Tweet Print
Everyone knows Portland is one of the top biking cities in the U.S., which is why it’s the perfect place for Nutcase Helmets to call home. Now through September 8, the Portland Art Museum (PAM) is teaming up with Nutcase to open their latest exhibit, Cyclepedia.
Portlanders and museumgoers can get a preview of the special exhibition by visiting the entrance of the PAM where the 475 donated colorful and original Nutcase Helmets currently are displayed. Included are some of Nutcase’s most well-known and iconic helmets like Dazed and Amused, Daisy Stripe, Got Luck? and Glo-Brain.
The Cyclepedia exhibit features 40 bikes from the collection of world-renowned bicycle designer and aficionado, Michael Embacher. Each bike was chosen by Embacher as examples of pivotal moments in the evolution of bicycle design. The exhibition will include racing, mountain, single speed, touring, tandem, urban, folding, cargo, curiosities, and children’s bicycles.
Cyclepedia is the third entry in the Museum’s design-oriented exhibition series. Preceded by China Design Now and the Allure of the Automobile, the exhibition will be accompanied by a full-color publication described by the London Sunday Times as the most comprehensive and visually satisfying book of bicycle portraits ever published; and an iPad App, rated App of the Week in the UK iTunes store.
Related programming will include public workshops, tours and lectures showcasing Portland’s internationally recognized community of bicycle designers and builders.Tweet Print
By Jeremy Kershaw
The Trans Iowa is many different things. Speaking for myself, but I think many would agree, the race is a once-a-season phenomenon. It is a marker by which the rest of the year is gauged. You are either preparing for the T.I. or recovering from it… physically and emotionally. The high that I received from finishing last year endured many months afterward. This year, I will try to roll away optimistic, philosophical, but also more than a little disappointed. To me, that shows the gravity of this wild gravel race across Iowa farmland.
The wonder of the T.I. lies in the many different parts that build the whole of the event. There are the obvious: months and miles of base hopefully laid down beforehand. In the Northland, that means hours spent riding cold, wet and often snowy conditions in order to gain a little spring time endurance fitness, or worse, more-than-I-can-remember spins on the indoor trainer watching cartoons so that I could pretend I was kind of parenting and training at the same time.
Then there is the bike prep. This year, that meant endless emails to fellow singlespeed racers trying to guess as to what would be the best gear ratio for such a long race and exceptionally hilly one at that. Going singlespeed represented to me an analogy similar to mountain climbing high peaks without oxygen. Why not up it a notch, the already crazy challenge, into the just plain insane? I chose a 40×19 gear this year. It was probably as near to perfect as I could hope for.
There is the palpable sense of togetherness at the dinner the night before the race. So many genuinely good people about to share in an adventure that will test everyone of them to their limits.
Laying in the hotel bed the night before, watching the Weather Channel or The Simpsons, knowing full well that you have to be awake and ready to go by 2 a.m. That mix of fear and excitement makes for an extremely fitful few hours of rest.
Then, 90 riders, all with their white headlights and red flashing taillights on, huddle together at the start line in downtown Grinnell. Guitar Ted informs us of last minute changes. Confident handshakes and words of encouragement as brakes are tested, computers zeroed-out and tired eyes look blankly ahead into the darkness.
For about a mile, even the slowest rider can be up front, leading the pack through the first few turns out of town. You feel like a real bike racer. Hell, I can win this thing if I really had a good day!
The first crunch of limestone rock under the tires. A few unsecured water bottles already fly into the ditch. Many riders are very experienced with the jolt that riding "gravel" induces on the bike and the body. A few are already suffering the cruel facts of life on these rough farm roads. Too much air pressure in the tires equals exceptionally squirrely handling. Too little, and you risk suffering a pinch flat. Just right means a compromise between some form of air comfort and a rim dinged from tennis ball sized rock.
A quick look back and you realize that the race is on. A long string of lights rattling through the predawn darkness. In only minutes, though, I find myself in my own little pocket of speed. How is it possible that no one else is going the same pace as me? I know this will change as the day goes on. Alliances will be forged. New friendships made. But for now, quiet time, alone and many many miles to go.
Frogs. Lots and lots of frogs doing their spring chorus from the roadside ditches and marshes. If there is one thing I love about riding in the wee hours of the morning and night it is the sounds of birds and frogs. I never feel lonely when I hear them. I remember two years ago walking along a ditch of a "B" road ("unmaintained"), shoes filled with mud, grass and water, bike caked with ten pounds of Iowa’s finest black dirt, headlamps turned on trying to see through the foggy darkness of predawn. And the chorus of frogs was the only soundtrack supporting this scene of chaos. Millions of them. I wonder if anyone else noticed. How lucky we all were to be out there covered in shit, serenaded by amphibian music.
This year, we are graced by a nearly full moon preparing to set, sheets of early morning fog hanging over the low-lands, and a sun just dying to rise on a rare, clear Iowa countryside. I have my small camera along, tucked in my jersey pocket. I nearly die from the missed opportunities of images that I could have captured only if I had stopped and taken the time to shoot. It is a dream landscape. A scene where a thousand pictures could be made, ready for local bank calenders, chamber of commerce flyers, and stock photo galleries to showcase the pastoral beauty of rural Iowa. It was one of those mornings that I will remember for the rest of my life.
Huh…I’m still by myself. That’s OK. I don’t want to have to worry about going too fast right now anyway.
The first checkpoint. On these long races, you have to force yourself to ride checkpoint to checkpoint. It’s just too long otherwise. The T.I. racers are lucky to have some of the best volunteers in cycling. After my first 50 miles of alone time, it’s nice to see people again. Shed layers. Remove gravel from socks. Stretch. Swap out a fresh bag of cue cards. Clip in and go again.
Cue cards. An icon for these gravel races. Count them. Make sure they are all there. Without them, you are one turned around fool in farmland. I race to checkpoints, but I really race to the bottom of a cue card. A small victory every time you get to the last turn of the card and flip a new on top. A huge victory when you see you are on your last one.
Convenience stores. In this edition of the T.I., that meant Casey’s General Stores. Now, I love the science of sports nutrition and endurance physiology, and there have been tremendous strides taken in educating the average cyclist about what to eat and when, but I am seriously waiting for someone to write a manual on how real gravel endurance cyclists eat. It ain’t by the book.
Pizza slices? No problem. Coca Cola? Sure. Cinnamon rolls, Cheeze-it’s, Hot Tomales, chocolate milk, Peanut Nut Rolls…if you can keep it down then you win the game of ultra nutrition. A convenient store on course is like a little Christmas every 60 miles. A time to eat, socialize, stare blankly out into space while stuffing a bag of chips in your face. And lots of very friendly old farmers wondering where you are going and why you are going by gravel road instead of by Pontiac.
Back on the road, after a stop, there is a small period of re-acclimation. There is never the ability to replace what you are burning in calories. But for about 15 minutes, you have a vague feeling that you should not have eaten that last fruit pie.
Time to think. About important life decisions. Hours to re-plan your life and make mental check lists of things you are going to change when you get home. Actually, that’s kind of bullshit. Really, it’s some damn cartoon song that is stuck on repeat in your head. Dora the Explorer must DIE!
At mile 120 my butt begins to feel a bit chafed. Nothing serious. I wonder about about other rider’s butts. Does anyone really escape this thing without undercarriage damage? Does anyone really have the perfect saddle? Except for those fools riding their precious Brooks antiques. (I actually covet one and I think they may be the ONLY ones with intact butts at the end of the T.I.)
At mile 160 I feel the first and maybe the most ominous sign of bodily frailty. Rather out of nowhere, my left knee feels weak while standing on a climb. Then, a few miles down the road, both my knees feel weak while riding the flats. I think it will go away. But deep down I know this is not good—especially with no other lower gears to fall into.
Really? Still alone? I could have sworn there were other riders this year…
If I were a mathematician, I would probably win the Nobel Prize. Why? For naming the phenomenon that exists when you realize that your diminishing speed, coupled with a distance less than 10 miles, will always mean that it will take a half hour to reach the final checkpoint. I think there are probably still a few riders trapped out there in this black hole of time-space-cornfield.
The call of shame. It is both a curse and a blessing to have a Casey’s store only a couple of miles from the last checkpoint. For sure it represents an oasis in which to re-fuel and warm up. (This one looked like a cross between a bike swap and a homeless shelter. I think I watched a man fully change kits at the end of the candy aisle) It is also a spider web of defeat to those that get trapped within the sticky grasp of more pizza, bright lights and a place where your support crew might be able to find you.
I called Guitar Ted and informed him that I was done. I paced the sidewalk for a good 20 minutes before dialing the number. There followed an acute feeling of disappointment. Failure. A general sense of "what does it all mean". And a fleeting wave of relief.
This year I stopped riding at mile mark 180. I had ridden alone for nearly all of the 15 hours I was in the saddle. I chose to go singlespeed this year. The muscles surrounding both my knees, ten miles before the last checkpoint at mile 170, simply started to fatigue to the point that I couldn’t stand and pedal without a sense of impending buckling. I just couldn’t see making another 150 miles. So I called in and ended my bid for a second T.I. finish.
The importance of races of this grandeur can not be minimized. The Trans Iowa is a study in perseverance. Endurance. Cycling community. Hope. Breakdown. And a dusty stage to act out one’s own dreams of being a gravel god(ess).
Thank you, Guitar Ted, for creating and producing the Trans Iowa.Tweet Print