Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #39

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 bit of unfinished business from V6: The spectator that I had the run in with at Checkpoint #1 at T.I.V6 was admonished on my blog following the event. Here's what I wrote:

"Last year I voiced concerns over spectating/support and I mentioned that I had a plan in mind to deal with that. Well, I implemented my plan, much to the chagrin of one individual who not only gave me plenty of"gas" about it twice during the event, but was bothering racers and also was phoning my residence and pestering my close friend who was watching my children for the weekend. Look- Trans Iowa is not a spectator sport! Never was intended as such. I make no bones about that every year I run it and to everyone who asks me about this.

I was extremely disappointed in this certain individuals actions and I have a personal challenge to this individual. I happen to know that you are quite capable as a cyclist. If you want to "cheer on" and support your rider, how about you sign up for T.I.V7 and ride with him? Otherwise, I hope not to see you again at a Trans Iowa. Nuff said......."

And that person was never heard from again!

T.I.v7 recon by bicycle in May
 Post T.I.V6, I was due to start training for my next, (and what has turned out to be my last), Dirty Kanza 200 attempt. David invited me to go on a longer ride and he suggested Jasper County. It could stand as a reason to be on T.I.V7 recon as well. I thought it sounded like a great idea, so we met on a warm, windy May day in Grinnell to pedal North and West on Jasper County gravel roads.

One of the main reasons for getting out was to start recon far earlier than we ever had, so we wouldn't have to be running up against Winter and waiting, waiting, waiting...... Like the Spring that had just sprung in 2010, which was over late and put us in arrears in getting T.I.V6 put together. In fact, we talked about doing several Summertime night rides together and most of all, these ended up being fun, social rides, but a few of these actually were serious recon rides. The first one was a doozy though!

A Big Sky Day Over Jasper County, May 2010

 David and I had no real ride plan, but he did know he wanted to head over to Baxter Iowa to check out Phil Wood's old residence. (Yes- THAT Phil Wood.) So we headed out on a bright, sunny, and windy day riding over many hills and chatting up each other along the way. We were stymied at a truncated B Road, jumped the barriers and walked across the breach in the open section of the road. Carrying on, we noted that the wind was really picking up. Finally, we made it to Baxter and found Phil Wood's old residence and a place to eat.

The section we had just ridden largely ended up being used in the opposite direction for T.I.v7. Of course, we had to re-route around the truncated B Road. Then after our lunch we meandered a bit down the paved bike trail, exiting that at Ira, Iowa. I remarked to David then that we should use that village in a Trans Iowa to make a small tip of the cycling cap toward T.I.V1 and V3 winner, Ira Ryan. (Of course, that did happen, but not for two more years.)

Night time gravel in Tama County. David holds up my rig for a pic.
We made our way out of town there up and ended up doing some other roads coming back into Grinnell that also ended up on T.I.v7's route. It was a brutal, rough day in super windy conditions, but we were stoked about the parts of the route we had looked at. Plus it was great for my DK 200 prep!

And the night rides continued all throughout the Summer off and on. During these times David and I would discuss many things, but obviously Trans Iowa came up a fair amount. By the end of the Summer, David had convinced me that we had been letting Trans Iowa get too soft. It needed the reins jerked back a bit and the "horse" had to go back into the trail Jeff, myself, and David had set for Trans Iowa earlier on. David thought the event had become "three mini-events", in that it was just getting from one checkpoint to another now. We wanted to break the checkpoints away from convenience store sites as well, due to the past three Trans Iowa experiences with employees, cheerleaders, and just the mental aspect of what the convenience store tied to a checkpoint presented to the riders.
The header for the site designed by Jeff Kerkove from an idea I had.

So we took out the third checkpoint idea and replaced it with the idea of having the second checkpoint be about as far away as you could get from Grinnell and then in an inhospitable place where you wouldn't want to hang out. A suitable spot was found and we were pretty high on having made some tweaks that would hopefully put Trans Iowa back on track as being "self-supported" in reality, not just in name.

Trans Iowa recon was bagged at the very end of October. Notes were in David's hands and all looked to be on track for a no-stress cue sheet production. I was pretty pleased by that prospect as well. The new rule was instigated letting Finishers into Trans Iowa first, and the left over spots would be evenly split between Vets and new folks. Finally, a sort of "side bar" to all the Trans Iowa V7 prep stuff happened that I figured would amount to nothing in the end.

A fellow e-mailed me about the possibility of filming the event. Visions of some crackpot in a Ford Pinto with a Super 8 camera danced in my head, which I found rather disgusting, actually, and I wasn't very open to the idea. However; the fellow was persistent, and finally, intuitively realizing I might be thinking he was some nut job, he wrote me a long e-mail explaining in more detail who he was and what he wanted to try to accomplish. That e-mail convinced me he may be legit. We had further communications, and arrangements were made to accommodate him to enable him to film T.I.v7. Trans Iowa Vet, Steve Fuller also volunteered to photograph the event, so we had the documentation thing all sewn up! Well, really- at this time I figured the film thing was a long shot.

 Next: A few more details about T.I.V7's preparations...

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