Saturday, February 15, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #40

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....

Fresh gravel in Tama County pre-TIV7
 So the whole media thing surrounding Trans Iowa had always been a fringe deal. We had two photographers at T.I. v4, nothing at all lined up for V5 or V6, and now all of a sudden here we have a guy wanting to film it, a guy wanting to shoot it, and "Dirt Rag" asked me to write a feature story about it! Okay, write for my favorite mtb publication of all time? Twist my arm! Of course, I said "yes", and then found out the story was due one week after Trans Iowa was over! Doh! Nothing like extra pressure......

Oh, and speaking of "extra pressure", that happened in another way. All Spring I was trying to see if I could get an advance copy of the cue sheets to review. Oddly enough, I hadn't heard from David since around Christmas time. Time went on and communication was sparse to non-existent. What I did not know at the time was that David's job was demanding a lot from him in terms of hours on the job. He simply could not spend any extra energy on something like a gravel road race. The thing was, at the time, I did not know anything about this.

A Leaping deer seen on T.I.V7 recon
I was spending a lot of time checking and rechecking spots on my end of the course though, and still no cue sheets! Finally, about two weeks prior to the event, David shot me over his end of the cues, and they were absolutely a mess! I was besides myself with frustration and anger. (Again, not knowing anything about his struggles)  I was struck dumbfounded. Once again, as in the year before, a very stressful few days of calls and e-mails resulted in a somewhat of a coherent course. The thing was, it wasn't reconned at all on his end. It was almost all different from what we had originally looked at the previous year. But hey! We had cue sheets and we could go forward with the event. That was a small victory in itself right there. Again- it was another near miss and I was beginning to have some serious doubts about how Trans Iowa was going to work out going forward.

Reconning a bit of rail trail used in T.I.V7
So, with a near disaster averted, I kept my anger in check and we moved forward with Trans Iowa V7. The thing I remember next was meeting in Grinnell for the pre-race stuff and David and I were in our room settling in when I was contacted by Jeff Frings, the film guy, and he wondered if either of us had any time for a brief interview on camera. I offered David the chance to be on camera with me, but he deferred to me. Well, I am not shy about getting in front of a camera and just flying by the seat of my pants, so I was in my element.

It's kind of an odd thing, having the asset of being able to look at "300 Miles Of Gravel" now, but all those shots of me sitting there with my orange cap on were all from this half hour to 45 minute interview I gave at the time. Everything was completely unrehearsed and straight off the top of my head. I guess it didn't come out too badly! Well, that was a one take deal that Jeff Frings seemed oddly, (at the time, so it seemed to me), rather pleased with. Then it was on to the Pre-Race Meat-Up, which was held once again at the Grinnell Steakhouse where we were to have the grill yer own style meal, then the meeting proper.

Basically, it was anew course with everything about the set up in Grinnell being the same except the finish line. It didn't work out to get the barn again, because in an epic oversight of mine, I picked Easter weekend to have Trans Iowa v7 on. The family who own the barn and the land were going to be gone, and they weren't about to allow some vagabonds access if they weren't going to be there. Can't say as I hardly blame them!

Next: A big snafu early on......

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