I titled my first post after T.I.V9 "Another One In The Books", but it never really is until after I've processed the experiences and emotions through writing a weeks worth of entries on the event just completed. I guess it is my way of dealing with everything that happened and sort of cleansing myself of the T.I. just completed.
Personally this Trans Iowa was an emotional roller coaster for me. I can not really say why that is either. I mean- nothing really terrible happened with regard to putting it on. Quite the contrary- it was about as good as it can get. Near perfect weather, everyone that commented on the cues said they were perfect, and the volunteers were all great and very much appreciated. The event had a very successful amount of finishers, first time accomplishments, and the drama, joy, and sorrow one would expect with an event so long and arduous.
So- why all the feelings? I still can not say, but all week I have been not only recovering physically from a full weekend of putting the thing on, 37 hours straight of being awake, and nearly 600 miles, (mostly gravel), in the truck, but dealing with being an emotional wreck at times. I guess I have not ever noted feeling quite so out of sorts post-Trans Iowa before.
Well, I suppose this too shall pass, but I just found it rather odd. I suppose getting slammed the minute I walked into work Monday and then with no let up all week long isn't helping much, but it is what it is.
The event itself was jammed with emotions on several fronts, what with 91 folks out riding, that's going to happen. It was good to see so many friends, acquaintances, and new folks at Trans Iowa. Although the "grizzled veterans" were fewer than in years past, the new folks jumped right in and animated the event in many ways. New friendships were formed, undoubtedly, and old ones were strengthened for sure.
I suppose this one will be remembered by most in years to come for the weather and amount of finishers. Both go hand in hand, really. It has become apparent after doing this for 9 straight years that good weather brings out more finishers and more starters. Had the weather been what it is at the time of writing this, (Upper 30's, windy, raining), there would have been far less than 91 starters and far less than 36 finishers, if there were any finishers at all. The weather is, and always has been, the biggest potential obstacle in any Trans Iowa year. This year it was minimized to almost no influence, excepting maybe that it was too sunny and nice, which maybe played into dehydration issues for some folks. I'm going to say it was the nicest weather we've ever had at a Trans Iowa.
Then there were the roads. Fresh gravel was the rule of the day, especially after Checkpoint #2. Tama County, (where most of the course ran after the checkpoint), has notoriously been offensive when it comes to fresh gravel over the years, but this year was definitely exceptional in that regard. To those unfamiliar with Iowa that rode T.I.V9- that was not at all normal!
The roads going out of Checkpoint #1 to #2- those were more typical Iowa gravel roads. If you can remember that at all! But overall, the fact that it was dry, the B Roads were actually fun, and that the cue sheets made sense all contributed to an easier Trans Iowa than some I've been involved with in years past.
I've read a lot of reports and comments on Facebook and Twitter about the event that have made me think. There are some that have felt T.I.V9 was a fun event, a challenging event. Some said it was a big deal to them to have been in it for several reasons. There are those for whom it was just another bicycle ride. All are valid takes on Trans Iowa. Again- with 91 different folks you'll have 91 different reactions. What do you make of all that then? I think you have to let it be what it is to those who have ridden it. If some folks say it "changed their life", then it probably did. I know of a few examples I could offer you.
So, that's it. Trans Iowa V9 is in the rear view mirror and it is time to move on. Time to pack all the T.I. crap away and not look at it for a bit. Time to post my data to the Trans Iowa History site and get that behind me. Time to go ride a bicycle again!
But first.........I would be remiss not to acknowledge several people and entities that helped put T.I.V9 on. Without anyone of these, it wouldn't have been the event it was......
Volunteers: Checkpoint #1: Darryl Pals, Chad and Merrie Quigley, Mike Baggio, Ryan Clutter, Corey Matthias, "Gumby", and Brent Irish. (I may have forgotten a couple here, my apologies!)
Checkpoint#2: Jeremy Fry, Robert Fry
The Barn: Rob Versteegh, Kyle Sedore, Jared Morford.
Photography: Wally Kilburg, Jason Boucher, George Keslin. (Link to Wally's photos is here)
Special Mention goes out to the Slender Fungus Cycling Association for helping ferry a couple of riders back to Grinnell from Checkpoint #1.
Sponsors:Oakley/ Rob Versteegh, HED Wheels/Andy Tetmeyer, Retroshift, Gu Energy, Wheel Werx/ Jay Barre, North Central Cyclery/ Chad Ament. Europa Cycle and Ski.
Support: The Grinnell Steakhouse, The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce/ Rachael Kinnick, The City of Grinnell, Bikes To You/ Craig Cooper, Europa Cycle and Ski/ Russ Clarke, Grinnell Police Department, Jeremy Fry, Wally Kilburg, George Keslin, Rob Versteegh, My Family: Phyllis, Izabel, and Jacob.
Thank You: To all the riders, the support people, and anyone that came to enjoy Trans Iowa. Without all of you, there would be no event at all.