|Note: The actual start date and time of |
this year's Vapor is Sept. 8th @ 10 PM.
Last spring I was unable to attend my beloved Trans Iowa. It was for a good reason, I was getting a new brother-in-law and he's a super good guy. So, really I had no reason to feel bad, but still I knew I'd find a way to listen in on the race even if it was during the wedding reception. I hid out in the coat room listening to Guitar Ted (race director) tell how the race was unfolding in "real time". I needed to know how my boys, Farrow and Kershaw were doing. No matter what happened I knew they'd make me proud. My heart soared as I'd hear their names in the reports. I wondered where I would have been had I been in the fight.
In an attempt to come to terms with "sitting this one out" I began to think about something bigger or at least something as big, but maybe different. I needed to find a race that would nibble away at my core, like the Trans Iowa did when I first decided to sign up long ago. I recall not wanting to tell anyone about being on the roster for I feared that somehow I would upset the being that was the race. It was as if I had not yet earned the right to talk about my involvement with something that big. I needed a new race now that would get me nervous.
I'd been eye balling a little event out in Colorado for a couple of years called the Vapor Trail 125. The pictures were spectacular, the stories were mind bending, but it was all beyond my scope and skill set. I enjoyed watching from Minnesota. Yet, I couldn't stop thinking about that race and what it would be like to ride in those mountains. My "long" commutes to work afforded me 3 hours a day to think about the challenge, all from the saddle of my bike. As I rode to work in the dark with a below zero windchill in my face I thought, "if you can do this...you can do that!"
I would step off that cliff and make contact with Tom Purvis, the race director. I knew that once I was in correspondence with him I would not turn back. The next thing I knew I was putting together a race resume for him in an effort to convince him and myself that I could do this thing. When I looked over that final list of bicycling accomplishments before sealing the envelope I paused and thought, "You know what, you can do this thing".
Tom and I seemed to hit it off immediately over email. I was in, I made the roster! Now, my thinking switched from "what if?" to "when you..." I began the always exciting process of choosing gear. What bike would work best? How will I carry all the clothing that I'll need? Is there any way I can stave off the effects of the altitude on my flat lander body? Tire choice? The questions went on and on. I diligently researched each and everyone of them. I even went right to the source and received an excellent description of the race from Tom himself. I made contact with my sponsors in an effort to ensure all that I could control would be controlled. Salsa Cycles and Schwalbe Tires were instrumental in making sure I will be the best that I can be. Thank you Mike Riemer (who immediately asked what I would need to be successful) and Jeff Clarkson (who plans to overnight a set of tires to me in Omaha Nebraska two days before the race - awesome!).
Slowly things are coming together and I'm thinking about things like ZipLock bags that I'll need to store small items. In other words, I'm down to the smallest of details. Pretty soon the planning will be done and it will just be the riding that's left. I know how to pedal my bike and I know how to push it - I should be good to go...right?
I leave Duluth to chase another dream mid week, next. I can't wait to see the mountains in a personal kind of way as I climb a total of 20,000 feet by bike and foot. I have no idea what the race has in store for this boy from northern Minnesota, but I'm anxious to find out.
You can track me through the race via my Spot Tracker. The 'Vapor' starts on Sept. 8th at 10:00 p.m. I will be finishing sometime in the afternoon of Sept. 9th.
Wish me luck as I chase after one more dream. See you on the other side.