Saturday, November 22, 2014

Trans Iowa V11: On Volunteers

Okay, since Trans Iowa V11's Rookie registration has ceased, I have seen and heard from several would be riders that they would like to see about volunteering in Trans Iowa. This is all well and fine, but when I see suggestions from friends of folks that missed out that they should volunteer because they would be guaranteed entry into the next T.I.?  Well, that raised a lot of red flags with me. 

First of all, I have all the volunteers that I can use now, so there will not be anymore bodies added. All that I contact in the Spring and actually show up to volunteer will be given a free, nontransferable pass into a possible Trans Iowa V12. Realizing that isn't a guarantee, by the way, just that if it happens, these folks have that grace to utilize.

People are "hungry" to get into Trans Iowa, I get that, but the thing is, now volunteering is seen as a way to get into the event, not so much as a will to actually help with a free, grassroots event on rural roads. It used to be that I had very few actually use their "free pass". Obviously there were a lot of volunteers last year and only three are coming back to use their opportunity to ride in T.I.V11. That's typical. I bet if I didn't already have so many volunteers I could staff the event totally with a group that had their eye on being in the event next time. That, to me, would be a shame.

You see, there are folks that want to be a part of the Trans Iowa experience that would never ride in it, either due to physical issues, or they just aren't motivated that way. However; they do want to get an up-close look, or are just altruistically interested in helping. I'd like to keep the door open for those folks. So, if there is a T.I.V12, there will be a limited number of free entries into a possible next Trans Iowa event. I'm thinking that number is three. That's about the average from the past, and I think that is a fair number.


Steven Butcher said...

I've thought about offering to volunteer in 2012 though I'd most definitely not be looking for an opportunity to ride in a future Trans Iowa. As you say, just to be closer to the event's happenings. I fit more into the geezer category (wish I could have done your Geezer Ride). Anyway, if you find yourself needing another volunteer, give me a shout. I might be able to drive up for the weekend.

Brett Beebe said...

i wondered how long before the volunteer exemption would be exploited.

Thanks so much for giving us a forum in which to challenge ourselves Mark. see ya in the spring, and hopefully a few times before

Kate Geisen said...

Hmm. I guess I see things a little differently. Obviously it's your race and your choice about how to run things, and limiting volunteer e emotions makes sense in a race with such demand and such limited spots. That said, I've vikunteered at plenty of races, both ones where I've gotten a discount on a future race and ones where I got nothing beyond getting to support and be a part of an event I love. Even if someone's main motivation for volunteering is to get that entry spot, I'd think that someone willing to go to that effort -- let alone commit to attempting the TI distance -- is someone who your race means something to, and I guess I don't see that dual motivation as tainting things.

Maybe that's just the perspective of someone who didn't get in, though.

Guitar Ted said...

@Kate Geisen: Certainly, you could be absolutely correct. However; I read what I read on Facebook and saw that maybe.....just maybe it was more important to grab that volunteering spot for a freebie to a possible T.I.V12 than volunteering on its own.

I think what I have done is completely fair so far, and IF there is another T.I., the limiting of an entry for volunteering to three is more than fair given the numbers I've seen in the past. But........

None of it matters now. On to T.I.V11.....

MG said...

You can count on me not to pull this card because I don't need to. As a finisher, I just want to see my friends have an awesome, life changing ride. Nothing is expected in return.

Scott Redd said...

I'm guilty of employing this strategy, but I sincerely hope it wasn't seen as an exploit. TI is what it is, in part, because of The Rules, and volunteering one year to ride the next felt like an appropriate application of The Rules.

That being said, during TIv10, I wasn't sure there would be a TIv11, but I was still excited to participate as a volunteer. I've done enough free, grassroots events over the past few years that I wanted to give back to the community in some small way.

I slept in a tent at the barn, saw the riders off at 4am, went for a hike, and hung out at a checkpoint from mid day to well after dark (with a well stocked cooler, of course). I slept in a tent while the riders were getting stormed on, and then was there at the end to see the early finishers. This is my idea of a vacation, by the way. :)

A secondary objective of this was to get a good and closeup look at the participants as they rolled through the checkpoint, and the finish line. I wanted to look in their eyes as they prepared to ride off into the night, sum up their condition and try to get a feel for their experience, and ask myself, "Is this something I want to do?"

It took me a several months to decide. I wasn't even sure until a couple of weeks into the standard registration process before I fully committed. (The answer was, "Heck yeah!")

If for some reason, I am unable to participate using my volunteer exemption, I'll still be there, volunteering, if there's a need for me, or perhaps as someone's emergency sag so their wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend/mom/dad or whatever can stay home, or just hanging out at the starting line and at the barn, cheering everyone on.

I'm grateful for the chance to ride in TIv11, and I appreciate the opportunity.