February 24th was the scheduled start date for the 10th edition of CIRREM. The week leading up to race day, meteorological forecasts of driving rain turning into snow and ice falling from the skies had the social media feeds lit up with pictures of mud encrusted drive trains and ice covered bodies fanning fear among newbies and veterans alike. You could hear a big collective sigh when the race was postponed a week.
There's this trend that's starting to appear. For the first seven years of CIRREM, the mercury had a hard time climbing into the 30's, and usually hung out in the 20's, half the time with wet sloppy gravel being dished up. Including this year makes three years where it's been almost shorts weather.
Here's the story I saw unfold out on the gravel roads of Madison county.
Clear blue skies in early March in Iowa usually means wind, blustery and relentless wind. Fourteen miles into the race, Brenden Hardy, Jonathon Wait, Mark Savory, Randy Reichardt, Adam Ventling, Brian West and Bryan Wenzel had a gap of a minute up on the chase group. While the winds were favorable in the first westward leg of the race, your early season fitness and a high tempo starts to shred the field.
The sign on the side of the old weather beaten Ford pickup truck that TJ Fort and Keven Betters ride past says "Lloyd McDonald Winterset", Iowa". A little searching shows that presumably Lloyd McDonald and his wife Wilma lived on this farmstead up until 1986 when Lloyd died and was buried up the road in the North McDonald cemetery. Bruce Reese rides past the abandoned farm house, which might just be a remnant of Iowa's 1980 farm crisis.
Mark Child makes a right onto Old Portland on this near 40 mph descent.
Twenty five miles the same group of nine continues to put time on the chasers.
Forty miles into the race and it's long slog, much of it straight into the wind.
Turning east onto 220th Trail right after the check point is an old dilapidated house. I'm not a betting person, but I'm guessing at least one person today thought the writing on the old truck body describes todays last 20k home.
Lisa Vetterlein almost packed it in a the check point. Lisa and
Dee Mable finish one and two for the women.