Saturday, February 01, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #33

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....

The first year for both of us: Image by Ari Andonopoulous
 Many things about Trans Iowa v6 were so, soooo easy. Like the place to have the pre race meeting. I actually had the choice of two places, but one of them was intriguing to me from the factor of the way the restaurant was set up. It was a "grill your own" meat place. I had been to several of these types of places throughout my lifetime, and I knew the drill. I thought it would be a great way to kind of stimulate mingling amongst the riders before the event. It might be a good way to let those folks get to know each other a wee bit better. Looking back on it, I would say I had the correct hunch there. Interestingly enough, the Grinnell Steakhouse had just recently opened up as well, so it was as new to Grinnell as Trans Iowa was.

It was just amazing to me that this detail had been squared away so easily and so soon. What a complete departure from Williamsburg! The start line was also another cool deal, and one I had wanted to try. A downtown start. No more starting at the edge of towns, in weird, out of the way places. Now we could engage the city, albeit in the dead of the night, but still. I was liking this better.

Another thing we decided to do with the new venue was to redirect the event even more toward a self-supported nature. David was actually the instigator on this front. He was a bit turned off by how some other events had "softened" their approach to this and I was in complete agreement. To that end, I decided to do two things: One was to not let anyone know but the checkpoint volunteers for their respective spots where the checkpoints were at. This would eliminate the "followers" and hopefully the support of which we had seen and heard of during v5.

The start has been in front of Bikes To You since v6: Image by J. Boucher
Secondly, I made the announcement that Trans Iowa Radio would never happen again. Too many folks were just not getting it. No matter how much I made a fuss about that feature not being a report on any individuals in particular, I still was being roundly criticized for not providing detailed coverage. As if running Trans Iowa during all of that wasn't enough. So, the dirty little secret there was that I actually had planned on doing T.I. Radio all along. But I figured if folks didn't think they would have that "resource", they wouldn't get their hopes up, and the criticisms wouldn't happen. Turns out I was right about these things as well. Happily, I can report that Trans Iowa Radio has finally found its rightful place amongst the listeners, and the criticisms have fallen off since v6.

So, the infrastructure for the event was in place, our tweaks were thought through and we were excited about them. We needed a course though. The three checkpoint idea was retained, and David and I got in about 1/4 of the distance looked at before a big snowfall in early December wiped out any hopes of doing recon for awhile. Hey, maybe Spring would come early and we'd get it done.

Next: Our backs against the wall.......


David Swanson said...

These posts are awesome.

Guitar Ted said...

@David Swanson: Thank you! I am really enjoying writing them up.I am glad some folks are finding them fun to read through.