Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #46

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....

This will be the final installment of this series. Thanks for all the kind compliments about it and for reading them.

Trans Iowa gets an award from the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce: Craig Cooper on my left here

 With V9, we had a lot of hoopla. Three sets of roaming photographers, an award from the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, and the Trans Iowa radio set up. We had a record 91 starters, a record Womens open field, and folks riding in the event from the U.K. The Barn thing was all set to go, and to top things off, the weather could not have been much better. Even the wind was (mostly) a non-factor in the event.

A foggy morning to start T.I.V9: Image by A Andonopoulous
The nearly full moon was riding high in the sky at the start and there was a thick blanket of fog in the vales and valleys of Jasper County which made for a scene that produced a slew of outstanding images of riders and the countryside. It was almost impossible to get a bad shot that morning!

I remember stopping high up on a hill on E. 84th Street N and just sitting there for several minutes soaking it all in. I hadn't had the luxury of being in that sort of position before, and I took full advantage of it. It was totally a result of my lessons learned over the years of doing Trans Iowa that allowed for that.

In fact, I stopped twice more. Once to chat with fellow Trans Iowa fans and photographers Wally and George, and to chat with my friend Jason Boucher, who also was there on official photography business. Then again for a good look at the Sun rising over a Jasper County hill. Trans Iowa at this point was a dreamy day out in the Truck With No Name for me, but that would change past my visit at Checkpoint #1.

The Moon and Windmill: Image by M Lemberger
We had a leader's group came in and they took the wrong direction out of the village of Ira because they did not check their cue sheets. So I went blazing outta there in the truck to head them off at a place where the bike path crossed the course West of Ira. Fortunately they realized what had happened and turned back before I saw them. I figured things would go back to being calm then, but I was wrong.

The weather was good- too good- and I figured on more attrition at Checkpoint #1 then there was. My checkpoint folks were running out of cue sheet sets to Checkpoint #2! Fortunately a few clearer heads than mine were able to sort the matter out by finding a copy machine to borrow in the tiny village. Crisis averted, but a lesson learned yet again.

Then things really did quiet down. for the most part, the rest of the event was kind of boring from my perspective as far as any "adventure" went. No silly B Road antics in the truck, no big problems at all with the event. I did have a "whiskey spill" that required some hasty clean up and drying out of the waivers, but other than that little aside, Trans Iowa V9 went off without a hitch. We had a record 35 finishers and a first time single speed women finisher and a first time for a women with two finishes in Janna Vavre.

The finish line scene for T.I.V9 was one of the most memorable and impactful for me. I suppose having twice the average finishers was one reason why. Another was that it seemed that a lot of the finishers were really emotionally charged and showed it at the finish. Steve Fuller stands out in that regard.

Well, with no co-director, it was kind of an anti-climatic deal when I piled into the truck after everyone was gone and made my way home. Trans Iowa v9 was an awesome event by all accounts. I could have walked away a happy man that day and never put on another Trans Iowa again, but....

The restored barn where T.I.v9 finished: Image by W Kilburg
Epilogue: With that I conclude the look back at ten years of tales concerning this gravel road event. Obviously there were a lot of twists and turns coming up to this time and the impending running of T.I.v10. Even more obvious is the fact that this series was just my take on things. There are other opinions, views, stories, and thoughts on Trans Iowa out there and they may vary a bit in their telling of the story.

That said, this is my experience as I remember living through it. Trans Iowa has gone from an event I was just a helper in to becoming a big part of my life that I have a lot of passion for. Trans Iowa has gone from an idea that was mostly Jeff Kerkove's in the beginning to an event that I have made into whatever ya want to call it! I hesitate to quantify what that is for anyone else!

Of course, the big question on a lot of folks minds is "how long are you going to keep doing this?" I have hinted around a lot that pretty soon there would be no more Trans Iowa events put on by me the way that they have been. I will say that I set a goal for myself back around T.I.v5 that I wanted to get to 10 and see where I stood after that. This April, that goal will have been met......

I am, on the one hand, all finished with this event. It has been a huge tax on my family life and we won't even get into the financials and what not that went along with putting on this event through the years. I want to spend time with my son and daughter before they grow up and leave the house. On the other hand, I want this event to go out on a good note, I want to keep seeing the folks that have come, and how they are changed by this event. I want to keep providing the chance for that, if I can.

It's a hard decision to make and whatever way it goes won't be easy for me. But for now, there is at least one more Trans Iowa to go........


Derek weider said...


MG said...

Thank you for all the sacrifices you and your family have made to give us a forum to have life-changing experiences!

Chad Q said...

GT Thank You for letting Merrie and I be a part of V9,we had a great time helping with sign in,check point 1 and getting to know some folks we now call friends.I totally understand the work it takes to throw down one these crazy event's now with Odin's.If it wasn't for TI and our conversations around the campfire at Potter's I'm not sure it would happen. Thank you,Thank You,Thank You !!!!