Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational: The Images

As of this writing, there have been eleven runnings of the GTDRI going back to 2006 when I put on the first "official" gravel based "death ride". It was also the longest at 152 miles. Since then there have been a lot of interesting images from the ride, which I wanted to share with those folks who have participated in the GTDRI and those curious onlookers. So, with that, here are some images from past Death Rides and some commentary......
The foggy start to the first GTDRI in '06 (Image by MW)
The first GTDRI was based out of Cedar Falls, IA and went south into Tama County, into Grundy County, Hardin County, and finally back to Black Hawk County taking in 152 miles. I think we finished around 9pm!

Corey Heintz and I enjoy a Stop at Steamboat Rock (Image by MW)

We started out being accompanied by several local racers who peeled off after a few miles. We ended up with six of us attempting the whole ride. Four finished. Riders included Mark and David Pals, Jeremy Bidwell, Corey Heintz, Matt Wills, and myself.

Marchin' Down A B Road In The Rain (Image by Corey Heintz)
The enduring image for me from 2007 is this one, taken by Corey Heintz. We rode out of David Pals town of Marengo, Iowa, and were soon caught up in some nasty thunderstorms. The downpour cut our route short, but we endured to ride approximately 80 plus miles this time out.
Waiting Out The Storm (Image by Corey Heintz)
It turned out to be a fun time. Riders included David Pals, (who hosted the group for pizza and beers afterward), Corey Heintz, Matt Maxwell, Emily Broderson, Paul Meyermann, and myself. (Note in the image above- You can see Corey's 1X1 with Large Marge rims shod with Gazzolodi's. This was the best rig after the image here for the soft, peanut buttery gravel we had most of the rest of the ride.
A Great Day On A Bike
2008 saw me move the ride to Hickory Hills. We had a great day of 100 miles planned and some new faces to the ride. Most of the route was in Tama County once again.

Goofy Goobers With Cameras!
Riders on the day included David Pals, Matt Wills, Jeffery Bonsall, Matt Gersib, Jason Boucher, Matt Beck, and myself.

Giant Grades
Another iconic GTDRI image for me from 2009. I moved the ride to Northeast Iowa and based it out of Echo Valley Park near West Union. Possibly the toughest ride in terms of hills I have ever attempted on gravel. 118 miles of which the first 25-27 were pretty tame to flat. One rider recorded 6ft shy of 10,000 feet of climbing, while others reported multiple grades climbed in the 12-18% range. Yeah....this one hurt, alot! We wouldn't have accomplished the rouite without the picture perfect lower temps and humidity that occurred that day.

Spectacular Views
This was also by far the most scenic route I've thrown together. Riders who got to enjoy the scenery included Jeremy Fry, Doug Eilderts, Steve Fuller, David Pals, Craig Severson, and myself.

Hot Day Ahead!
2010 saw the exact same route plan from 2009 upon riders request. Funny thing was that only myself and Jeremy Fry showed up from the previous years running of the event. Jason Boucher came back to make it a grand total of three riders. The lowest attendance ever.

The "Money Shot" (Rider is Jeremy Fry)
This was the second GTDRI to get chopped short. The hills, heat, and humidity combined to strike me nearly dead, and the others decided they'd had enough. While they got about a 100 in anyway, I ended up with a paltry 80, but my life was still mine as well! It was truly beastly out that day.

Into The Sun
2011 was the year I decided to do the event out of Hickory Hills once again. Tama County has plenty of fantastic sights and roads on offer, and it proved it by sending us down some great roads I hadn't been on before.

Hot Air, Beautiful Skies, And Chunky Gravel Roads
This was a complete turn about from last year as far as riders was concerned. Jeremy Fry returned again, and was joined by Stephen Hill, Scott Ronken, Ken Yokanovich, Tim Bauer, Matt Ruiter, Adam Lorenz, Mike Johnson, Doug Eilderts, Courtney Hilton, Matt Maxwell, Robert Fry, and myself.

We got in a foggy, drippy start, then a pleasant middle, into a fiery ending of a day that landed us right at 100 miles. We had two guys drop out and two guys for parts of the course. One guy did the "original course, while the rest did a "modified version". It was quite a day!

Awesome B Roads on the 2012 version
A GTDRI First: A "C Maintenance" Road!
Six riders, big hills. Image by C. Matthias
 Nine riders for the 2012 version run in and out of Grinnell, IA. 120 miles, brutal heat, (high of 104°), and lots of fun. Riders included Jeremy Fry, Matt Wills, (who drove all night to get there from Lincoln, NE for the start), Courtney Hilton, Craig Irving, John and Cody Matthias, (John's wife, Celeste, took many awesome images!), Mike Johnson, and Dennis, a lawyer from Grinnell. Oddly enough, we had four Salsa Fargos out of 9 riders!

Jeff Kerkove design for the 2007 GTDRI site
2013 was the best attended, craziest GTDRI ever.
2013 saw the Slender Fungus Cycling Association take over the reins for the planning. Ari Andonopoulous and crew came up with a crazy 150 mile route in Jackson County, primarily, that proved to be far too brutal for me. 23 folks on this ride, waaaay too many to get all the names. I bailed out with another rider at about 80-ish miles for the day. Another hot, brutal, sweaty day that didn't end for many until long after dark.

My view from the ditch after I was hit during the 2014 GTDRI
The 2014 version will go down in history as the GTDRI that ended on a bizarre, sour note. Riders included Tony McGrane, Jeremy Fry, Aaron Schnee, Michael Lembereger, Dan Buettner, Mike Johnson, and myself. We did the same route that we had done in '09 and '10, but we were halted by a drunk driver who hit Dan Buettner and myself as we were walking our bikes alongside Fantail Road. I ended up visiting the ER in Monticello and was treated and released. All good now, but it was quite the scare then!

Jeremy Fry photo bombs the 2015 GTDRI
The 2015 version of the ride went back to take care of "unfinished business" with the previous year's event. Same course, different people. Derek Henry, Traci, Josie, and Lance Andre, the latter two on a tandem, Martin Bunge, Tony McGrane, Jeremy Fry, the Frey brothers from Cedar Rapids, Joe Palen, and myself for a total of eleven riders on ten bicycles. It was another brutal day, hot, humid, and we all nearly bailed out, but we got our century plus rides in and were satisfied to get it done.

The 2016 GTDRI was the route that generally took in the first GTDRI route ever. It was a 145 mile monster on a day that was temperate, but foggy for the first half an uncharacteristically gloomy. 8 riders attempted the route with all but myself making the full 145. I ended up dropping out at 109 miles with gut issues. Here Scott Sumpter captures our mud scraping stop after a muddy traverse of the infamous 270th Street Level B Road in Tama County. Riders included Scott Sumpter, Tony McGrane, Jon Duke, Josh Lederman, Dave Schneider, Rick Chalfant, and Brian Terhark.
Brian Terhark smiles as he walks his bike on the 270th St Level B during the '16 GTDRI Dave Schneider follows him. Image By Josh Lederman