Whelp, it's down to it, and this event is about to get cranked up. T.I.V4 is about to take off on Saturday morning in the darkness of the north east Iowa town of Decorah, Iowa. These are my thoughts going into this event from the seat of a promoter.
With last years unprecedented fine weather, we had a record number of finishers. That record will remain untouched, I assure you. There are several reasons why. One, the course is about 20 miles longer. It has more climbing, that I am reasonably sure of. It also has more "B" maintenance roads than last year.
We also will not see as many finish because the conditions will not be as favorable. Recent conditions bear this out. Wet weather forecasted for the next two overnights would seal that in stone. There was nary any mud/soft gravel to be found at last years T.I. That won't be the case this year. Winds were a slight factor last year, but mostly were favorable. This year that is not likely.
The roster is still in flux. I'm still getting a drop per day on average. That will likely be the case right up till Friday and we will get no shows. I'm figuring on seeing approximately the same figure for the start as last year, perhaps a few more, (which would be a record if that happens) Given the rain scenario, I think we'll see even less than last year. My guess? 65 folks will toe the line on Saturday.
Finishers? Given current conditions and knowing the course, I'd say less than half the number from last year. Worst case scenario it could be that no one will finish, depending upon winds. Without a serious wind factor I'd guess 12 will see the finish line. Those who do see Decorah on their bikes on Sunday will have earned much respect.
I am perhaps sounding a bit harsh here, but I'm trying to be realistic. I know that this Trans Iowa will be the toughest one to complete, ( that is possible to complete, outside of T.I.V2) and will most likely be the most difficult event of the year for all involved. It will require smart decision making, mental toughness, and physical stamina. It will be an event that will perhaps be harshly criticized by some because of these things. It will be highly praised by some for the same reasons. I just know that all the work and preparations are about to come to an end, and I can't wait to see it through and be finished for another year.
Here's to a safe event, a fun event, friends, and good times. I'll see you all on Friday night.