Thursday, November 28, 2013

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #Special Edition

In mid-November, the idea of Trans Iowa was hatched. The year was 2004. In the ten years since then there have been many stories and memories. These posts will tell of the most prominent ones to my mind. Maybe I'll even spill the beans on some things you never knew....

Making a Trans Iowa Radio post during T.I.v6
 This particular "tale" will be all about the "Trans Iowa Radio", a "feature" I have been doing during Trans Iowa events since v2. A lot of folks have found the posts I made on different audio-blog services interesting, so I figured that maybe a segment of this "Tales" series should be dedicated especially to that.

The whole idea of doing an audio-blog during Trans Iowa was mine. I basically was looking at it as a way to have some fun during the event. A way to keep my mind engaged, and also a way to express my "goofy, creative" side, which many folks probably don't realize I have. So, anyway- During T.I.v2 I would call in a post, make up fake sponsors, fake ads, and maybe add in something about the actual event as an aside. These typically appeared as a link you could click on and listen to on this blog. It was all just a farce, as far as I was concerned, and I had a blast doing it, for as long as the event actually lasted!

Post T.I.v2 I found out that folks were actually listening, and what's more- they wanted more detail and seriousness than I provided and some went as far as to chide me for "not doing my job" correctly. Wow! They just didn't get it! Even though I didn't pre-plan the Trans Iowa Radio thing, or make a big deal out of promoting it, folks still thought I should not have been goofing around, but giving detailed reports on where each person  was. (Namely the ones they knew, but whatever..), They seemed to want to know where everybody was during every second of Trans Iowa. I counted it up as a misunderstanding, but I found the reaction rather bizarre.

Getting social. (Image by J Fry)
This was all happening pre-social media as well, so I guess you could say Trans Iowa Radio was a bit ahead of its time, and folks didn't quite know what to make of it yet. I was insisting that it was purely an "extra", a way for me to be "social", and share what I was seeing. I never, ever intended for the audio-blog part of Trans Iowa to be a "race tracker", or a blow-by-blow accounting of everybody's experience in the event. Nor would I ever want that. Trans Iowa, as far as I am concerned, is a personal journey/experience. Hey- if the racers want to write a tell-all after the fact, well, that's their business. While they are in the event, they are (mostly) out there on their own, and that is one of the main reasons for the event in the first place. I was just wanting to tell about what I was seeing and that was that.

It probably didn't help matters any when during Trans Iowa v3 I allowed the audio to be broadcast over "Ride424", a now defunct endurance racing site/calendar. But I did that, and the same hue and cry afterward was seen. Although I did get a lot of nice compliments, and found out that Team Polska's relatives in Poland were listening in!

Trans Iowa Radio continued for T.I.v4 and at that time it was hosted by an audio-blogging service available here on this blog and not on any other site. During this time, it was not uncommon for me to have a little kids toy that made some music or unusual noise which I would use as "bumper music" for my posts. A funny thing about what folks were expecting from Trans Iowa Radio can be told by example of an incident from v5.

It was pretty late Saturday evening when we found ourselves near the town of Marengo and David Pals' then residence. It was decided that things were running smoothly enough that we could catch a few "z's" at David's place, then wake up and finish the event. There was a phone call, (which I will relate to you all later in a Trans Iowa Tales post), and I figured, "okay....NOW I can get to sleep!" But the phone rang again, and it was a worried woman, asking if I knew where her man was, and that she hadn't heard anything about him on Trans Iowa Radio, so could I tell her anything? Well, I did, and that was cool, but again, I could see that the audio-blog thing was a bit misunderstood yet.

The pre-start of T.I.v7: Image by W. Kilburg
By the time Trans Iowa reached its Grinnell phase, the audio-blog was better explained by me and folks finally took it for what I had intended for it to be all along. Of course, social media, instant connectedness, and what not also allowed racers to be sending/receiving messages without any reliance on Trans Iowa Radio, so I suppose that helped with regard to the current understanding.

The pinnacle of the whole Trans Iowa Radio experience was when Jeff Frings used a bunch of the audio-blog soundtrack for his documentary, "300 Miles of Gravel". For the record, I had absolutely no idea at all that Mr. Frings would use that stuff ahead of the event, so it comes off as a true rendering of what the audio-blog portion of Trans Iowa has become over the past few years or so. 

Last year a new feature was added where riders could call in their own "Trans Iowa Radio" posts along with mine. This was graciously hosted by Mountain Bike Radio and was well done and well received by listeners. It is just one more step in the evolution of this crazy feature I dreamed up on my own back in 2005.

Next: Back to the regular posts on Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales.....

1 comment:

john said...

I love the "Race Tracker"