Sunday, December 01, 2013

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #15

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....

A shirt made for me by T.I.v3 Vet, Gary Cale
 Trans Iowa v3 was over, but I had to get home. After seeing Mike Denehy finish, I don't remember anything else about the awards ceremony, packing up, or leaving Decorah at all. I don't remember anything until being on the road home West of Decorah in my Honda with the windows down. There was a thunderstorm near by and it had gusty winds, which caught up the paperwork I had strewn about the car and made it fly all over the place, almost causing a crash.

I remember nearly crashing due to fatigue and overwhelming sleepiness several times on the way home. When I did get there, I'd been up for 40 hours straight, it was time to eat, and I couldn't function. I couldn't even lift the fork to my mouth. What is more, my wife had something wrong with her, needed to go to the hospital, and I couldn't drive her there. It was a miserable, humiliating end to a long weekend.

It is hard to explain how low I felt after all of that. Sure, there were great results from the event. We had 24 finishers, a record that stood until this year's v9. But the stress before the event, the last minute issues, Ira Ryan's negativity, my stupid decision to drive home, and then to top that all off, what happened when I got there- well, I swore I wouldn't ever put on another Trans Iowa again right then and there. It only made sense too. The guy that instigated it all, (to my mind), was gone and was not going to be a part of it anymore anyway. Who was I to continue this endeavor? Why should I do it when it darn near killed me and caused an uproar with my home life?

Here's an excerpt from my blog not long after T.I.v3 ended:

I went over some final details on Trans Iowa for this year. I am pretty happy about how it all went down. The number one goal was to have a great event where lots of folks could finish. The weather co-operated and the mission was accomplished. 24 finishers out of 64. Then the other goal was to account for all riders. With the great co-operation of the folks involved, that mission was also accomplished. Huzzah! The accolades and thanks were tremendous. Everyone involved, with one notable exception, was extremely thankful and gracious this year. That made all my hard work that much easier to take. Thanks to all of you who took the time out to make an effort to say thanks. I appreciate that more than you know.
The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo '07
So, I accomplished all my goals and that was another reason not to pursue this again. What more could I do? Plus, I'd be leaving it on a high note.

 I was busier than a pet coon in a corn crib anyway. I was drug into a idea for a 29"er gathering that the guy I was working for at Twenty Nine Inches was bent on turning into the "next big bike festival". I was doing reviews for TNI. I went to Trek World, and was doing the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational, all that Summer. I didn't have time to think about another Trans Iowa, and I didn't really want to. I was wishing it would all just fade away. I could forget all about it, people would find other events, and they would all just forget about Trans Iowa as well.

Well, the trouble was that Trans Iowa had infected a few people out there and they were seeing things a bit differently than I was. One of those folks was David Pals, who had been my traveling companion to the first Dirty Kanza 200 the year before. He wanted to help me with the second GTDRI ride. We ended up talking some about Trans Iowa during the planning for that ride. He was pretty stoked about trying to ride in another one, since his T.I.v3 bid fell short. Well, of course, he heard all about why I wasn't really thinking about doing another. Then he offered to help me if I decided to put on another one. The fact that he was willing to sacrifice riding in a T.I. to help put on another one made a big impact on me.

If you've ever seen the documentary,"300 Miles Of Gravel", you know about the scene at the end of it where I get a bit emotional. If you haven't seen that, I relate how I received an e-mail from a friend who was in the cycling industry, but had never been to a Trans Iowa. He had just noticed how it had affected some co-workers who had been to it. He basically said that I should reconsider putting Trans Iowa to bed because it was a "life changing opportunity" that I was giving people. A "gift" of sorts. That hit me right between the eyes. I thought long and hard about that after he sent me that e-mail.

The third nail in the coffin was when Jeff Kerkove made a rare appearance after a long absence to the shop. He was showing off some Ergon stuff and I posed the question about putting on another T.I. Would he be okay with that, if I brought on David, and we did another? Jeff gave his blessing. The day after that, I posted the following on my blog dated August 18th, 2007:

Well, after much deliberation, negotiation, and aggrivation, I have come to a decision regarding putting on that crazy gravel suffer fest in April.....
There  would be a v4 after all.

Next week: The planning for another Trans Iowa gets bogged down....

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