Pig Farms & Little Debbies

It was about 3:30 in the afternoon and for the second time that day I found myself alone. Well alone, as in no humans, because if you counted the pig farm 200 yards from me I guess I wasn’t technically alone.

I looked around. The rain had just started, the pigs wouldn’t shut up, it was a foggy, cloudy mix that just looked cold, and I had broken off a second stick in my mud packed fork.

I was trying to get the mud out because I knew if I couldn’t I would end up with the second tire sidewall rip of the day. I looked around, no luck on other sticks; plus they were probably all water soaked anyway. I didn’t know it at the time but it already rained almost 2 inches and it was about to rain a lot more.

I finally hopped back on the bike, trying to make sure I sat softly so as to be careful with my already sore butt. I began pedaling and finishing off my second Cosmic Brownie by Little Debbie. I was glad I brought those things. Who knew you could pack so many calories and fat grams into two little squares? But it seems the experts at Little Debbie do the impossible everyday.

I got back into my cadence but dreaded the already rain-soaked gravel roads as the rain was just pouring on now. I had been riding with Matt Brown but he was now ahead of me and I didn’t see anybody behind me. I had ridden most of the day with a great and very strong group of riders – Charlie Tri, Charlie Farrow, Jason Buffington, and Tim Ek. Joe Meiser and John Gorilla had also ridden with us for awhile but at a B road made their breakaway. Those two guys were riding with the strength of many men. I believe in the winter they go to Siberia and bike up mountains very similar to Rocky Balboa in Rocky IV.

I'd been lucky enough to ride with this select, strong group of veterans for awhile until my first flat. I then borrowed some duct table from Cory “Cornbread” Godfrey and kept moving till this latest B road. Where, once again, my fork clogged up again and put me next to the pig farm poking out the miniature adobe house from under my fork crown.

So maybe you’re asking 'What were you doing?'  Well I would answer in the best old Western movie voice I have, “The Trans Iowa lad.”

If you have heard of the Trans-Iowa well then you know just what I’m talking about, but if not...then it’s just 315 miles of what I just described. Bring a whole box of Little Debbies.

Trans Iowa v.6

Salsa Sponsored Rider Tim Ek's Account of TI 6

Salsa Sponsored Rider Matt Gersib's Account of TI 6

Salsa Product Designer Joe Meiser's Account of TI 6

This post filed under topics: Sean Mailen Trans Iowa

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Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

Sean 'Mailman' Mailen

I was born and raised in the hills of Tennessee. I decided in high school I wanted to design the best bikes and parts possible; I’ve been following my dream ever since. I love about every possible mode of cycling, mountain biking is the most fun, but if I’m on two wheels I’m happy.


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grannygear | April 29th, 2010

Too fun.  Next time, I suggest you bring your own sticks along with Lil’Deb.  Let the pigs get their own, they don’t share easily anyway.


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Guitar Ted | April 29th, 2010

Awesome report there “Tennessee”! I was wondering where you were, and it seems so do a lot of other folks.

It was great to see you hammering away after checkpoint#1 with the leaders. you looked strong, and you deserved to be there.

Hope to see ya again soon, Sean!

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MG | April 29th, 2010

LOL… great post Sean.  You were riding really strong.  That’s a bummer you were having sidewall issues on such a crappy day to have to work on tires.  But at least you got ‘em sorted.

I’m looking forward to riding with you again soon.


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Tim Ek | April 30th, 2010

Sean, I look forward to more rides with you.  I too looked to the heavens on more than one occasion with arms spread wide asking at the top of my lungs, “ARE THERE ANY STICKS IN THIS STATE?!!!”


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Joe Mann | May 5th, 2010

Great to meet you on the ride back to Grinnell.  I sure wish we would have pushed on to CP#3 I think it would have been quicker then riding back to Grinnell.

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Damon Hairston | June 4th, 2010

Great to see a southern boy up there. I love Salsa bikes. I love the cosmic brownies too. When you lived here, did you ever ride through Collegedale and smell the sugar in the air when the Little Debbies were being made?

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