There has been an issue bubbling underneath the surface pertaining to Trans Iowa and certain participants in this little event. While it may not be a wise thing to comment here on this, I write without fear, and if you are offended, well, then leave a comment and I'll address that later.
This has to do with the perception that some of the people filling the roster are, how shall I put this, in way above their heads. Some people are hinting, or outright saying that some of these folks have no business being in this event, and are taking up a spot that a more "qualified" individual should have. Here is my take on that.
First, the way the roster is filled is not conducive to any kind of a "weeding out" process. Jeff and I try to stress that you shouldn't even attempt Trans Iowa if you haven't been in an endurance event like a solo 24hr, brevet, or like challenge. That doesn't stop "Joe Average" from plunking down his thirty bones and taking up a spot, only to drop out a quarter of the way to the checkpoint. Well, that's the way it is. It's not perfect by a long shot, but it's an easy way for us to run things. First come, first served. Because the roster was increased in size, and also due to the early season date of this event, I doubt that there are 70 "qualified" entrants available, anyway. Maybe I'm wrong about that, but it's not like we are getting requests from known, talented, endurance athletes to be included into Trans Iowa.
Secondly, I'd like to put in a plug for the "unheralded" athletes in T.I.V2 this year. Yes, it's true that some- maybe most- of them will not finish. Well, I don't know for sure until April 30th, 2006. And....neither will they or anybody else. Maybe they just "think they can", and that might be all it takes. Who knows? Ya gotta start somewhere, right? So, for those that have never done anything quite like this, but are serious about finding out if you can, I say "Go for it!"
Now, for those of you who are questioning yourself, the rules of the event, and the way it is run, I have a question for you. Are you serious? Are you willing to put in a painfull night/day/night/day of riding? Do you have what it takes to "just shut up and ride"? I mean that in a challenging way, not a punitive one. You know, the guys that finished last year didn't necessarily like everything we did as organizers of this challenge. They got their wires crossed with directions, they didn't always agree with the rules for equipment, or support. They did; however, just grind out the miles in a gutty, grim, and determined manner, finishing the course with their heads held high. They didn't complain, but they made some strong suggestions. They thought there might be a better way to go about things, but they didn't force the issue beforehand, or even mention it at all. They accepted it for what it was, overcame, and commented afterwards. Their opinions are held in high regard by myself. We even implemented some of these suggestions for this go around.
I guess what I'm trying to say is that if you question the event, or your ability to do this event as it's set up, then do everyone a favor and just give up your spot. Otherwise, suck it up, and be prepared to throw down on April 29th, 2006. There will be 69 other people there of like mind, so you won't be alone!
At least, I hope not!
There! Rant mode off!