Wednesday, April 30, 2008

2nd Runner-up in a rather ragged ending to the Trans-Iowa

The aptly named Mr. Gorilla was named Mr. Trans-Iowa IV after an abridged and ragged finish around the 20 hour mark (due to impassable roads)... While the call was very close and somewhat subjective and arbitrary; given the powerful youth's propensity for riding at the front and dominating climbing skills, his right to the victory simply cannot be argued. Of course, the aging author cannot help but to surmise "what might have been" had the event not been cut short by some 80+ miles. But alas, only retirees look back... and so it goes...Expect a fully embellished race report in a few days...

Many thanks to Guitar Ted and his band of merry Iowans that made this such a great event for all involved...It is people like Guitar Ted and his trusty companions that are truly giving back to the sport of cycling. Many of them worked harder and were more sleep deprived than the riders. I hope they have it in them to put one on again next year!!!! It requires a massive amount of labor and money to put on an event like the Trans-Iowa...Therefore I want to again publicly thank all involved...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

The sickness.......................

"Leaving On A Jet Plane"

or, in my twisted world,

"Leaving for the Iowa Plain”

All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go...I'm standin' here outside your door...I hate to wake you up to say goodbye....But the dawn is breakin', it's early morn...The demon’s waitin', he's blowin' his horn....Already I'm so lonesome I could die...So kiss me and smile for me...Tell me that you'll wait for me...Hold me like you'll never let me go....'Cause I'm leaving for the Iowa plain...I don't know when I'll be back again...Oh, babe, I hate to go...I'm leaving...

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A March to Folly awaits in Iowa..........

Tormented by the demons of the night…Any adequately caffeinated cheerful soul can ride a bike for a long time during the day. Yet, the same cannot be said of the hours of darkness. For the darkness of night forces latent, albeit forceful, dramatic, and even desperate uncertainties to the fore; even the most gregarious of us are not immune to its sinister forces. Inconsequential aches and pains, trivial pet-peeves, and minor rubs all are a thousand times magnified as one rides into the night. Questions of motivation, misapprehensions about life’s meaning, trepidations stemming thinking about one’s past and future all weight heavy and burdensome upon the NIGHT RIDER's tenuous mind…Such will be the case on this coming Saturday night...somewhere along the back-roads of Iowa strong, solid men, will break down and weep and shake their hands upward to the unforgiving blackness of night!………As you slip into your comfortable little abode this Saturday night, if for just an instant, think of those weary tormented souls astride their wheeled steeds of doom and count yourself LUCKY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Okay, I admit it...the sickness is back...The Rat LIVES!!!!!!

From the race director:
Let it be written, let it be told on Wednesday, April 23, 2008 by Guitar Ted.
Whelp, it's down to it, and this event is about to get cranked up. Trans-Iowa 4 is about to take off on Saturday morning in the darkness of the north east Iowa town of Decorah, Iowa. These are my thoughts going into this event from the seat of a promoter.With last years unprecedented fine weather, we had a record number of finishers. That record will remain untouched, I assure you. There are several reasons why. One, the course is about 20 miles longer. It has more climbing, that I am reasonably sure of. It also has more "B" maintenance roads than last year.We also will not see as many finish because the conditions will not be as favorable. Recent conditions bear this out. Wet weather forecasted for the next two overnights would seal that in stone. There was nary any mud/soft gravel to be found at last years T.I. That won't be the case this year. Winds were a slight factor last year, but mostly were favorable. This year that is not likely.The roster is still in flux. I'm still getting a drop per day on average. That will likely be the case right up till Friday and we will get no shows. I'm figuring on seeing approximately the same figure for the start as last year, perhaps a few more, (which would be a record if that happens) Given the rain scenario, I think we'll see even less than last year. My guess? 65 folks will toe the line on Saturday.Finishers? Given current conditions and knowing the course, I'd say less than half the number from last year. Worst case scenario it could be that no one will finish, depending upon winds. Without a serious wind factor I'd guess 12 will see the finish line. Those who do see Decorah on their bikes on Sunday will have earned much respect.I am perhaps sounding a bit harsh here, but I'm trying to be realistic. I know that this Trans Iowa will be the toughest one to complete, ( that is possible to complete, outside of T.I.V2) and will most likely be the most difficult event of the year for all involved. It will require smart decision making, mental toughness, and physical stamina. It will be an event that will perhaps be harshly criticized by some because of these things. It will be highly praised by some for the same reasons. I just know that all the work and preparations are about to come to an end, and I can't wait to see it through and be finished for another year.Here's to a safe event, a fun event, friends, and good times. I'll see you all on Friday night.

Okay the golf thing was all a ploy...Having struck a deal with the DEVIL, I am going to Iowa and be honest--
I'm as giddy as a little school girl prepping for her first junior high dance...I don't know what to wear, I don't want my parents to be seen with me, I can't hide that zit on my nose, I am too fat, I am too short, my dress is all wrong, my date likes my best friend, my feet hurt when I wear those high heels, I don't know how to dance, the other girls hate me, and I hate them, especially the ones that are prettier than me, ...and with only two dayz to go...
I am a complete and utter WRECK !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Getting pumped about bullying some caddies....

I just got me a subscription to Golf Digest and I am pumped to get me a caddy that I can push around a little...I am thinking that I might snub my first know, work 'em real hard and then throw 'em a quarter and tell him to invest it in Haliburton...I got me some anger issues to work through, but with time I should be a pretty darn good golfer...I love the whole handicap thing...there should be a handicap thing in cycling...Good luck to all going to Iowa for that silly bike race...

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Clarity through suffering is an endeavor for the youthful ones… I am done, No Mas!

With just six days (really five days), until the 345 mile race across the back roads of Iowa begins, perhaps some reflective, albeit random discourse is in order. I feel great physically as I am well hydrated and fully rested, my faithful U.S. Steel steeds are both dialed in, and I got my parents fired up to assist with offspring. Yet, the old fire is just not there anymore. Itz like when Rocky Balboa lost the eye of the tiger when that mean Soviet Commie put that real bad beatin’ on old Rocky or itz like when the boyz gave Napoleon the big call-up after all them successful battles and Napoleon just didn’t have the fight in him no more and he just wanted to chill out with Josephine, or when old worn-out Roberto Duran couldn’t respond to Sugar Ray Leonard’s punches except to say, “No mas, no mas.”

…To be honest, I am going to have to watch this one from the sidelines. I am bowing out, I am too old, the fights gone…I’m played out…Just the other day as I was riding my bike alone on the West Side trying to get in a decent training run, I took a look around my surroundings and had a kind of epiphany; a nice looking young fella at the gas station was up the ladder making the daily upward adjustment to the big sign that displays the price of gas, as I went by he flipped me off…A hard working guy in a big pickup truck with the dual exhaust pipes made a half-hearted effort at sideswiping me and therefore putting me into purgatory. And a posse of youngsters in a black-tinted low-rider sedan with a resounding bass beat passed by me screaming it goes...And... While, of course I never take any of it personal, the thought occurred to me at that moment that I should take up golf. That was the first time I ever considered golf. But golf seems so attractive to me now, I am gonna play golf… Rocky plays golf and so does Roberto Duran and Michael Jordan and even Lance and Tyler, I bet even Napoleon played a mean game of golf back in the day… Good luck in Iowa, but count me out!!!…I’ll be on the links, traveling among the refined in an electric cart!!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Beware for they come....

“There is a bad moon arising over Iowa”If you live in upper Midwest farm country, don’t go out at night for the seeable future. The migration to the farmlands of Iowa has begun. Visigoths, Huns, Vikings, Khazars, Xionites, Chionites, Ephthalites, and other fierce barbarians of antiquity are flocking to the saturated rich loam of rural Iowa in anticipation of an old school rendezvous complete with frenzied plundering and pillaging. These guyz are not known for respecting borders or even possessing anything other than a very rudimentary knowledge of modern geography, so no-one in the rural Midwest is going to be safe. The impetus stems from rumors of a large group of lycra-clad miscreants riding flimsy steeds at night across sparely populated aspects of Iowa; traditionally a favorite victim of the barbarian community. The pictures of such spoils conjured in the minds of these hardy albeit merciless hordes are such a draw that the even the harried spirits of such notorious figures as Attila the Hun and Genghis Khan are stirred to action and are thus leading throngs of evil spirits for IOWA… There is a bad moon arising……..

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Trans-Iowa Study Group

CP Farrow’s Strategy for Victory @ The Trans-Iowa IV Race

Working draft [April 14th, 2008]:
Classified Document

Trans-Iowa Race: XXXXXX
345 mile loop on gravel and dirt roads…
Charlie Farrow

Theory: When one approaches a 24+ hour road race alone, he or she is essentially forced into XXXXX XXXX, any XXXX XXXXX of whom are XXXX into XXXXX to the whims of the XXXX consensus. For example, if the XXXXXX decides to XXXXXXXXX to XXXXX, one is essentially XXXX to XXXX. We can XXXXX dare to XXXX the XXXX and yet still benefit for XXXXXX. XXXXX committed guyz whether, not weather, XXXXXX together XXXXX, but even with XXXXXX working in XXXX can XXX , XXX wet gravel, tires, XXXXX, significant XXXXX. For example, by XXXXX, even if can only XXXXX by just XXXXXX could very well be the difference between XXXXX the race and XXXXXXX. In summary: XXXXX into the waiting arms of the grim demons that await all during the agony of the long harsh Iowa night…

Commentary (assumptions and limitations): Experience has taught me that in these super long events if XXXXXX. Of course, experience has also shown that XXXXX are unpredictable…I will be surprised if XXXXX first XXXXX. It is an appropriate assumption XXXXX will XXXXX for the weather, I do not think that XXX from Wisconsin has a XXX (s) to XXX him so he will XXX and therefore XXXX, I suppose XXXX (the guy that has XXXXX in the past and that was in the lead XXXXX XXXXXX Seattle? could potentially XXXX with his strength. XXXX will need to assess his strength XXXXX. Of course, surely there will be someone else in the mix (XXXXX, but talented and motivated rider) that will play a significant role in the unfolding drama but at this point it’s all speculation on who that might be. XXXX himself during the long forlorn night… sore knee, XXXXX, XXXXX, lots of cream, XXXXX!
1.) My ultimate goal XXXX among the racers…Yet, if the XXXXXX presents itself, at the later stages in the race, I am committed XXXXXXXX This XXXX should the opportunity present itself is based on the XXXXXX that if I am lucky and other more capable riders are unlucky, then XXX could XXXX this XXXX…stranger things have happened!!! A band of brothers, XXXX, XXX, XXX, XXXXX.

2.) As stated above, at Mile 207.25 (aka Check Point #2) when one receives the last cue sheet with the directions to the finish some 138 miles down the road, my goal XXXXX. XXXXX being in the XXXXX Again, the hope is that XXXX get to Check Point #2. In any event, I am therefore committed to XXXXX, unless it is obvious XXXX too fast and/or wet. XXXX XXXX tires.

3.) Another goal is to maintain XXXXX those moments of despair and agony (XXXX Capote referred to so elegantly as the “mean reds” that come with the setting of the sun).

4.) Another goal XXXXXXXXX is forced to sell his soul for the XXXX of the XXXXX.

5.) If things do not go well for me, I still want to be in a position XXXX as possible…

Note: the scenarios below are based on the idea XXXX for purposes of crafting a plan-of-action are essentially essential XXXXX… (A) The start to the 109 mile mark, or Check point #1; (B) 109 mile mark to the 200 mile mark, or Check Point #2; (C) From Check Point #2 to the Finish Line in Decorah


XXXX case scenario: XXXXXXXX

Note: Sorry, but as you can see much of what has been written above has fallen victim to is my sincere hope that someday, a day when the world is a safer place, we will be able to present an unabridged version of this important policy statement.

Friday, April 11, 2008

The weather lifts in the Twin Ports and there is rejoicing!!!!

Bringing religion to the Rat in anticpation of the Trans-Iowa:

Gambrinus is a legendary king of Flanders, and an unofficial patron saint of beer or beer brewing. I am really good at the rest & recovery phase of my training!!!!

Full-on blizzard condition....

Full-on blizzard condition here in Duluth: Perfect for the R&R BIG TAPER and the total hydration-fest....IN two weeks; Iowa here I come!!!!

Reading to the Rat while Resting my bones: Just finished the classic, "Canoeing with the Cree" by Eric Saverie (spelling?). It is an adventure narrative of the highest order. Six stars out of six stars...highly highly recommended...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

C. Heston would have won the Trans-Iowa!!!!

Charleston Heston recently passed on...That dude was tough!!! I love the way he used to race that bad boy chariot against all them bad guyz on black horses...
"He raced his chariot 90 per they still ask; What happened to Ben Hur?"
Hydrating the Rat: Leading up to a long race, I take my hydration very very seriously; combining a cutting edge scientific approach with a conscise committment to hypo-saturating my body (at the cellular level) with as much liquid carbohydrate as possible. Under the direction of local adult-beverage experts, with just a few weeks to go, I am in full-on R&R taper mode w/ an emphasis on extreme"ultraCarbo-loading"; utilizing a wonderful, albeit ancient recuperative energizing elixir comprised of naturally fermented barley, hops, malts,and other vigorous & purely natural ingredients...Itz all "organic." This is serious business and I am committed to arriving in Iowa fully carbo-loaded...Nope, I wont be able to claim lack of carbo-loading for a poor effort in Iowa, which is a comforting thought... :)

Saturday, April 5, 2008

The numbers on the upcoming Trans-Iowa are out...when I heard them it reminded me of Tennyson's classic poem...

The Trans-Iowa IV: 345 miles on gravel and dirt roads across the backroads of Iowa..."Forward, the Light Brigade! Charge for the guns!"

The Charge of the Light Brigade
by Alfred, Lord Tennyson

Half a league, half a league, Half a league onward, All in the valley of Death Rode the six hundred."Forward, the Light Brigade!"Charge for the guns!" he said: Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
"Forward, the Light Brigade!"Was there a man dismay'd? Not tho' the soldier knew Someone had blunder'd: Their's not to make reply,Their's not to reason why,Their's but to do and die:Into the valley of Death Rode the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon in front of them Volley'd and thunder'd;Storm'd at with shot and shell,Boldly they rode and well, Into the jaws of Death, Into the mouth of Hell Rode the six hundred.
Flash'd all their sabres bare, Flash'd as they turn'd in air, Sabring the gunners there, Charging an army, while All the world wonder'd: Plunged in the battery-smoke. Right thro' the line they broke; Cossack and Russian Reel'd from the sabre stroke. Shatter'd and sunder'd. Then they rode back, but not Not the six hundred.
Cannon to right of them, Cannon to left of them, Cannon behind them Volley'd and thunder'd; Storm'd at with shot and shell, While horse and hero fell, They that had fought so well. Came thro' the jaws of Death. Back from the mouth of Hell,All that was left of them, Left of six hundred.
When can their glory fade? O the wild charge they made! All the world wondered. Honor the charge they made, Honor the Light Brigade, Noble six hundred.

Copied from Poems of Alfred Tennyson,J. E. Tilton and Company, Boston, 1870

Thursday, April 3, 2008

What to do???

Second guessing, no third guessing, no fourth guessing…

I am obsessed right now with the following BIG TIME questions:
1.) Whatz the best bike to bring to Iowa?
2.) What are the best tires to ride on in Iowa?
3.) What beer (which could be my last) to drink on the night before I leave for 300+ miles across rural Iowa?
4.) What to have done with my bones if I
don't get out of Iowa alive...

Note: I am not worried about wheels because being a committed aficionado to the 29 inch wheel movement; all my wheel-sets are interchangeable with both my Gunnar & Kelly. But I certainly appreciate the power of the tire…at the Arrowhead 135, the boyz left me partly cuz I had the wrong tires…so it goes