So the space was rustic and I felt fit the vibe of Trans Iowa perfectly. I couldn't have asked for a better place to do this clinic. Besides that, Sam saw to it that we had chairs, That the Christmas tree was decorated, and that the place was swept and in order, and also that he had staff on hand to run his restaurant so he could attend!
I left town before noon with Mrs. Guitar Ted loaded up with my Singular Gryphon set up for a long gravel ride and my materials I needed to put on the show. Likewise, Steve Fuller, who has ridden in a few Trans Iowas, photographed a few, and also finished T.I.v9, was there early to set up a ginormous screen, projector, lap top with power point presentation, and he brought a P.A along with his Salsa La Cruz steel bike set up for T.I.
|Looking toward the entrance- R-L: Mrs Guitar Ted, Steve, and Mike|
Steve and Sam, along with his staff, had most of the work done by the time the rest of us had arrived, but we took our time getting things arranged correctly and talked a bit about how we were going to run the show. We all ate at various times from Sam's fantastic restaurant, Tacopocalypse throughout the day. Again- I highly recommend the place if you ever get to Des Moines!
So things were running smoothly and by 4:00pm we were pretty much set to go and receive our guests. There were three tables full of gear, Steve's, Mike's, and my bicycles along with the bicycles of Dan Buettner and last Trans Iowa winner, Dick Wince's bike. All represented different ways to set up a Trans Iowa bike and I think these really were an influence on visitors to the Clinic.
|Mid-set up: Tables with Trans Iowa type tires, gear, and later, some bags riders use.|
|Two of the five bicycles we had on display, all set up, ready to ride a Trans Iowa.|
|Mike and Steve during the Q&A session|
Then it was time to start the show. I made a few announcements and then we rolled the documentary "300 Miles of Gravel", which I think we found out everyone there had seen before, so obviously folks are researching Trans Iowa!
After this, I invited Steve and Mike up and we dove into the "meat" of what went on for the evening. I basically was the "moderator/MC", and kind of just helped flow things along while Steve and Mike began to share their experiences and thoughts on everything from bikes, to gear, to strategy, and more. While the audience didn't have a lot of questions, it was obvious that they were engaged in what was being shared. I saw a LOT of note taking going on!
|Steve making a point on his bike set up while Mike assists with steadying his steed.|
The next section was mostly about gear: Tires, lights and bags were discussed and why things were chosen were shared by Mike and Steve. It was about this time when we enjoyed additional commentary coming from Trans Iowa V9 winner, Dick Wince, (aka "Mr. Charming") , Matt Maxwell, and Dan Buettner. With all of this vast Trans Iowa experience on hand, it really made for a well rounded showcase of what works and what doesn't to cover 300+ miles of gravel in one sitting.
We also appreciated the additional content provided by Matt Gersib via images of his T.I.v10 bike set up which we dissected and discussed, so all in all it was really information packed and I think it didn't really focus too much on any single aspect of set up, but showed that riders need to devise and "thinker through" their own set up and make changes based upon what works best for them. This also applied to lights, but I found it interesting that a very underscored point was to get a good light to see signage with mounted on your helmet for night riding navigational purposes. All were in agreement with that one!
|Post event hanging out and questions abounded!|
Of course, eventually everything came to an end. So, how well did this go? All I can say is that we received many thank yous, many compliments, and no criticisms at all, (although even I know we could have tweaked it out to be better). I would say yes- it was a big success in my opinion. It came together seamlessly mostly due to the excellent quality of folks involved: Steve Fuller, Mike Johnson, Sam Auen, Dick Wince, Matt Maxwell, and Dan Beuttner were all instrumental in making this clinic a well rounded, information rich experience.
Afterward, we broke everything down, packed up our belongings, and went to Zombie Burger in Des Moines for a late supper. It was super fun to celebrate a great collaboration amongst friends. Well done and thank you to everyone involved! After all of the festivities, Mrs. Guitar Ted and I had a two hour drive home, and we didn't get back until 3am! Let me tell you, my Sunday started at 6am, and it was a rough day! But that said, I had a ton of fun sharing with everyone our passion for gravel riding and what it takes to do that comfortably for a long distance.
Now, I have to address all of you who are going to "wish that you were there", and all of you who will wonder if all this knowledge and what not will be shared, repeated in another event, or what have you. Unfortunately I have to say without any reservations that "no- it won't", at least not by our crew. Not anytime soon, at any rate. We do encourage all who have the will to get up and take action to do so locally. I think it would be a great idea for this to happen with local knowledge on a small scale all over the country.
That said, without spilling the beans, I do know of a "major event promoter's" plans to do a multi-day gravel clinic. You'll hear about it soon and see it linked here. Stay tuned.....
As for the Trans Iowa Clinic, that;'s a wrap.