Sometimes I see something posted or e-mailed to me that makes my eyes open a bit wider. A newer person to an "under the radar" event comes in, (generally), and writes the types of comments that make me think....
"It's time for a reset of the playing field here!"
I can't really blame these folks. I mean, these sorts of events and their "rules and regulations" are more about unspoken things and having the correct attitude than what you will find from the rules for the typical "hamster circuit" events that are most popular in the mountain bike world.
Those events generally do not have a sort of loose, "suggestion-type" list as to what to do, wear, and bring to an event. They do not expect you will do the entire event unsupported and either provide all sorts of infrustructure or the actual support itself, or both. They "provide services" and charge a fee for it. In return you are expected to play by all sorts of rules, and the riders expect a lot in return from the promoters for following all of these rules for a fee to race. Like a closed course, ammenities, maybe a t-shirt.
And please- Don't take offense. It is okay to provide that sort of product and for bicyclists to buy into it. (Pun intended)
Well, at Trans Iowa, and a lot of other gravel grinders, you are not going to get that. You won't even have to pay a fee at all for many of these events. What you will get is simply this: A chance to challenge yourself mentally and physically against the clock on public roads while riding a bicycle. Like a big group ride challenge in the middle of the country. In return for pointing ya'all in the right direction, and for keeping tabs on ya'all for the purpose of bragging rights at the end, we expect you, the participant, to be of a reasonable mind and consider the following:
We are informing you all that are in the event that if you don't agree that you are on your own, that you are responsible for yourself, and that this is being undertaken of your own volition, then don't take the start.
The bottom line is this: Do not burden the event staff, promoter, or other racers with possibly having to extricate you from the course for any reason. This is a cardinal rule for all of the self supported, unsanctioned, "under the radar" events out there that drew their origins from "Curiak Rules"
Consider the statements highlighted here carefully. Most of you guys and gals "get it", but please- still give this some thought. It is important to really understand it.
The "Self Supported" ethos is what makes these events work. It is all about you. How you deal with a challenge, and if you overcome it, you get all the kudos. You did it. It wasn't by support of a crew. It wasn't by support by an event that had "aid stations". Nope......you and you alone did it.
And that's pretty dang cool if you ask me.