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It started out with a little bike ride. I had a short tour planned to test out the rig I was riding. I had it loaded up with gear and food. I had planned on camping with some guys on day one, ride the GTDRI and then my wife was driving down with our young twins and we’d stay in a hotel and go swimming in the swimming pool.  Little did I know how this would play out. I knew we’d have fun at camp. I knew we’d all love the death ride through Iowa’s beautiful country roads. I did not know how it would impact me with lifelong friendships, common bonds of a shared experience and personal path in my profession.   Little did I know that a vehicle, a common bicycle, could become the central cog in my wheel of life.


One of the folks that will be a common thread in my Fargo story is my friend Mark. He wrote about the Fargo and some of his, and our, experiences today on his blog. Check it out here. For some time, this yet to be publicly named bike was dubbed the black electrical tape bike (story on his blog). Little did he know that I stopped just moments before meeting up with him to put the tape on and cover the Fargo name.  Hee, hee, hee!

gnat_Fargo_GTDRI_2008_4 gnat_Fargo_GTDRI_2008_3

The ride out to camp was beautiful and this is one of the first of countless sunsets that I would experience on this bike. It quickly became dark though and we we may have had one too many beers for the long death ride that would come all too early.  Thankfully, I learned that the second of the two things mentioned here did not help my bike rides.

What some of my friends know leading up to that weekend was that it had been many years since I had ridden 100 miles. My twins were born several years earlier. I worked hard training long miles in secrecy with this bike. For me this weekend was as much about the bike as it was about myself re entering cycling as a true enthusiast.  This bike was part of that personal journey and I was so focused on killing the death ride. Even the late night and beers would not stop me!

The crew - David Pals is just coming over the hill and the horizon line. Look closely!  What a group!

The crew – David Pals is just coming over the hill and the horizon line. Look closely! What a group!

Our morning roll out went well. Here is my favorite image from the weekend. I should also mention that this was also the start for me to enter the photography world as well. I was shooting this little tiny point and shoot I got a few years earlier.  Just another small start to something that would become very important to me. Dang, so much related to this bike and this time in my life. Hard to believe it was several years ago.  But….Onto the ride.

Here are just a few amazing moments of our roughly 120 miles day in the sweltering heat.

The crew rolling forward.

The crew rolling forward.

Rest stop under the water tower in Tama County

Rest stop under the water tower in Tama County

Some people know I love barns. Some don't know that love started on GTDRI 2008

Some people know I love barns. Some don’t know that love started on GTDRI 2008

We saw more than one of these. I grew to love them immediately.

We saw more than one of these. I grew to love them immediately.

Is this a B or C road?

Is this a B or C road?

We rocked it. It did not end.

We rocked it. It did not end.

We had truly an incredible day. Looking back now and imagining this trip, I would have one regret. That being not getting a picture of the elderly woman in her night gown and walker that came out to get the mail. We stopped and talked to her. Mighty strong woman that lived, and worked, here in the midwest. That would have made my photo memories complete.

For me personally, I finished the ride feeling really strong. I had made it. My bike was perfect. My new friends made the experience better. I was back and I was hooked.

6 comments on “The Introduction – GTDRI 2008

    1. Gnat says:

      Doug that is a great photo. I remember many of your rides and photos from that time period. I miss that third mount too!!

  1. Paul Schmid says:

    Jason, looking for Fargo info is how I found your blog about 4 years ago I think. I remember you writing about turning 40 at the time. Glad to see you back in this format.

  2. Zack F says:

    Very inspiring story, especially as a father of twins myself. It sounds like you were in the same spot I am currently in before this ride: trying to fit time on the bike between being a good father to two children and having some sort of career. Good to know it can be done! Thanks for this!

    1. Gnat says:

      Thanks Zach! Congrats on the twins. Its a crazy awesome journey. It can be done and then one day you can ride with them!

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