Sunday, January 18, 2015

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 17

 Last year I did a historical overview of each Trans Iowa up to T.I.V9. This year I am going to revisit something that I feel many folks have overlooked for a long time; The "Race Rules".

Last week I posted about the self-suported factor and having a "pit crew of one" HERE.  This week I will discuss the use of cell phones for Trans Iowa. Let's look at the rule......

19: A cell phone is highly recommended. Make sure you know how to use it.

Okay, back in 2005 there were still a fair amount of "cell phone hold-outs". Smart phones weren't a big deal, the iPhone was still two years away, and if you had a nice cell phone, it probably was one of those smaller, "flip phones", like the Motorola Razor. They didn't do much beyond allowing you to talk and to listen to music files.

The intention for this rule then was to make sure that a rider could "call in the cavalry" if that should become necessary. Allowing for the prehistoric functionality of those earlier cell phones, and the spotty coverage, we were being rather optimistic here. Essentially, most early T.I. riders were likely really out there on their own back in those days.

That's me on the right calling in a Trans Iowa Radio post during T.I.V6
Slowly cell phones became more useful, and with Trans Iowa V5, I realized that maybe cell phones were becoming a big issue in a few ways. My first inkling was when one of our volunteers showed me his GPS function and maps- right on his phone. So, riders potentially could pinpoint right where they were at, and maybe use that to cheat? I didn't know for sure, but thoughts of riders getting cached supplies and meeting support in the hinterlands suddenly became very real possibilities.

The next thing that I figured out post-T.I.V5 was that some riders were being "coached", encouraged, and cajoled via relatives or friends during cell phone conversations. Suddenly, cell phones went from being a hoped for safety net to an outright way to cheat at Trans Iowa. I sweat over this for a bit, posted admonitions, and eventually had to let it go to a degree, since if someone really wanted to cheat in this manner, they are only cheating themselves. I think a bit of this has gone away since we started having Mountain Bike Radio host the Trans Iowa Radio call ins from riders. A very positive step in cell phone usage!

Next Week: Help A Brotha Out.