Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Field Research: I get to ride in some pretty challenging, sometimes laid back, and fun events throughout the year. Sometimes these events I do are more than just fun rides, or challenges for me. It seems I always am thinking about Trans Iowa in the back of my mind while I am grinding away on some long, lonely gravel road event in "Rural Somewhere, USA". These times give me pause to consider what I am experiencing, the "flavor" of the event I am in, and how Trans Iowa could benefit from being similar, or different than what ever it is I am doing at that time. This post has something to do with those thoughts I have had, along with d.p. and his thoughts, which stem from doing similar things throughout the year.
This is also a jumping off point from my last update where I alluded to the "DNA" make up of Trans Iowa and how we are steering things back in that direction this go round. I have noticed a few things going on with the events I have partaken in, which I wanted to touch on in regards to the "DNA" we want to steer away from.
First of all, this isn't personal, and I don't want to take anything away from what the promoters and supporters of these other events have done, are doing, and will continue to do into the future. No, they are certainly free to carve out their own identity, as they see fit. I just offer these thoughts up as what I feel is the antithesis of one particular event: Trans Iowa. Okay? I hope ya'all get that part before we go on.....
Support: Basically, it boils down to one word: "support", and whether or not you, as a rider, are going to get any, and how you get it. This is interpreted in many different ways at many different events. Sometimes it seems very appropriate: say when conditions are extreme, and it is easy to get in over your head very quickly due to those conditions. Event promoters have been known to scour the course, looking for trouble spots, or setting up volunteer "aid stations" at various points along courses. Sometimes it is intentional, as when the aid stations, or drop bag sites are set up well in advance and understood to be an integral part of the event, which riders then strategize around. Sometimes it happens by default, when event promoters are not clear as to what is and isn't acceptable, and generally then the riders will choose for you what support is!
In all of the above scenarios, generally it is a "support" that is either granted by, or provided by, or both, by the promoters/organizers of these events. Heck, it's the "hospitable thing" to do, right? I think just about every event promoter, or grass roots gravel road event organizer has had this cross their mind while conjuring up a course and rules of competition at some point. That's where we, as organizers of this ride, differ. It's where we don't agree with, (in as far as "how" we do things), most every other gravel road event out there. We tell you to get yer own stuff! And we mean it.
I have been in events that require some level of this sort of "DIY" aspect of re-supply for making it around the course. I understand it from a riding perspective, and it is difficult. It makes events like this harder to plan for and harder to ride in. Yes- I've been there folks. I've made a lot of the same mistakes and fallen into a lot of the same pitfalls as a lot of Trans Iowa riders. I may sound heartless when I harp on the "You are on your own, we are not responsible for your well being" line. But trust me. It isn't like I haven't done it that way myself. It isn't like d.p. and I don't know what it is like. We do.
So, You are responsible for yourself. We will not support you. You are on this ride of your own volition, and are responsible for yourself and your actions. If you can not get your head wrapped around that, then do not even try to get into Trans Iowa V7. Thanks!
Speaking of getting into Trans Iowa V7.... This Sunday marks the last day Finishers of any Trans Iowa can claim their spot on the roster. Look for when and how you can get in if you are a Rookie, or a past participant, "aka Veteran", of a Trans Iowa, later next week.