Sunday, December 27, 2009

MG's Best of 2009, Part 1 - The Best Ride...

The TI v.5 finish -- Success feels good...

As I sit here at the end of probably the strangest Christmas weekend ever, at least being snowed in has given me plenty of time to reflect on 2009. It was a darn good year...

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.
TransIowa Checkpoint #1 -- Matt Gersib, Ben Shockey, Matt Wills and Jeff Bonsall

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 Productions

Thanks 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!


paxtoncoyote said...

to finish the TIv5 AND call it your best ride of '09 is indeed a GREAT year! It was good to finally meet up with you & work on the Ballyhoo together, even if the results for it were less than ideal, here's to a great year in 2010 & hope you rock TIv6 as well! (here's where you tip the bottle of Bulleit!)

MG said...

Thanks MB,

Cheers, my Brother! I appreciate your friendship and support this year, and I'm looking forward to lots more miles and smiles with ya' in 2010! You, Chad and Kyle hold the keys to a potential singletrack empire out at Potter's Pasture and I'm excited at the potential we have to make it a destination that mountain bikers from everywhere can recognize for its unique beauty and awesome riding.

Happy New Year, Matt.


Guitar Ted said...

MG: Wow! I am definitely humbled, especially since I know, (and was on) a lot of your rides in 2009. To have you pick out T.I.V5 as you #1 ride of 2009......incredibly humbling for me. Thanks.

I am glad I can be just a small part of the awesome accomplishments you and the other participants in T.I. events have achieved over the years. Whether you go a mile, or all 320 something, I am always humbled and honored to have you and those like you partake of this crazy event.

Here's to a wonderful 2010 for you MG, and also to Laura.

MG said...

Thanks Mark,

You're a huge part of why TransIowa is such a special event for me, and I suspect for a lot of others like myself who worship at the altar of two wheeled adventure. We may live in different states, but we share a common love. Thanks for being an awesome ambassador for the sport of cycling and pioneer in the gravel/adventure cycling and 29-inch movements. Through your writing and relationships in the industry, you do a lot to make our sport more enjoyable and accessible, and I admire you a ton for the perspective you keep, the views you carry and the impact you have on the 29-inch bikes and components we're riding today.

Thank you! You're not only a great person, but you're also a very valued friend.