Sunday, January 25, 2015

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 18

 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 talked about the cell phone rule HERE, now it's on to a rule about "being in it together".

20: Racers can help other racers with mechanical support. We are not doing this event to leave someone out in the boonies of Iowa.

The "self-supported" thing was something really new for most folks coming to Trans Iowa early on. What did that mean? This was why this rule was put into the original set of rules set out by Jeff Kerkove back in 2004. It was to help define how far "self-supported" went.

We were getting a lot of early questions and many assumptions that due to the nature of the event, you as a rider could not even help another rider out in case of mechanicals. Of course, we weren't wanting it to be that way. So this rule was written to make sure anyone undertaking Trans Iowa would know that assistance, as long as it came from another rider in the event, was okay. This became different things as the event matured and riders began to interpret this rule through the years.

Rule #20 in action during T.I.V8
Of course, the original intention for the rule has persisted all along. If someone flats, your riding partner at the time is kind of expected to offer assistance. It's a "gentleman's agreement", but it is in the spirit of the event and is in the spirit of Rule #20.

However; "assistance" has grown to also include other things. The first time I recall seeing this in action was at T.I.v3 when Majiec Nowak, of "Team Polska", downloaded his remaining supplies for his mates to take on as they continued after he dropped out. I then was made aware of how small enclaves of riders were forming and helping to encourage each other through the evening hours of the event. In fact, this started happening right out of the gate at Trans Iowa V1.

Later, I would hear how certain folks would rely on a single individual to navigate by the cue sheets as the rest would simply grind out the miles and follow. However; this can be quite dangerous as we have learned. On several occasions, the designated navigator would start to become so fatigued that they would make mistakes and lead several others astray. Sometimes to the tune of several miles. Although this "assistance" is not recommended, it happens every year at T.I.

The result of Rule #20, by accident really, is that by it- and the nature of the event- riders have bonded in special ways out there as they have encountered difficulties, been broken down, and somehow still forge on to finish. The friendships and special feelings that this has resulted in may be one of Trans Iowa's greatest attributes.

Next Time: Getting off-line and back again.

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