I've participated in a lot of rides, races and other events over the course of the year, but one event stood head and shoulders above the rest in terms of the sense of accomplishment it gave me in my completion of it. That event was TransIowa v.5, the 300+ mile, 25+ hour gravel grinder. To finish something like TransIowa is at once an empowering and a humbling experience.
You're empowered by the fact that this ride is absolutely achievable, but also humbled by the fact that it takes the right mixture of nature, preparation, luck and skill to successfully achieve the finish. If any one of those factors fails you, your TransIowa experience will be cut short, often relatively quickly. In 2008, the weather transpired to take almost the entire field out. In 2009, even in idyllic conditions, only 16 or so of the 65-plus starters finished the race. That's called attrition... When you have that kind of attrition even in ideal weather, you know you've got a tough event on your hands.
I'm going to be on the line at TransIowa v.6 in late-April, 2010. I don't know what Mother Nature has in store for us this year, but I'll do my best to be ready for whatever comes my way. What's cool is now that I've finished one, it seems imminently more achievable than it did last year at this time. So I'm looking forward to TI v.6 with optimistic confidence, but whatever happens, I know that it'll be an awesome adventure, and that regardless of the outcome, I'll have given it my best shot. Even if I never finish another one, at least I can say I've got one under my belt.
The Man, the Myth, the Legend... Guitar Ted! Photo: Guitar Ted ProductionsThanks to Guitar Ted, David Pals and all the other volunteers who make the TransIowa experience a special, memorable one for all of us. It was definitely my #1 event of 2009... and considering the events I've participated in this year, that's saying a lot!