Monday, May 04, 2015

Trans Iowa V11: Post Report Thoughts

Kevin Fox took this image of the B Road before CP#1 after everyone else had gone through.
Post Report Thoughts: Now that Trans Iowa is a "known entity", it seems that outsiders that have little knowledge and no experience in gravel events see something like V11 and Trans Iowa in general as weird, unfathomable, or a joke. The folks that do "get it" were just fine with how it was run and, while disappointed in their outcomes in the event, were all appreciative and supportive.

Trans Iowa will continue to cater to those who desire to be challenged in a unique way, and will never have licenses, "winner's jerseys", points, or be "sanctioned". Some may not see it as a race, or see its rules as being fair, but it is a race and the rules are what they are. This is what makes the Trans Iowa race unique and appealing to those who are not all about trappings and hoopla.

Trans Iowa has a history that shows that this event has not had finishers before. It has been shortened a couple of times as well. After eleven events, I think it should be pretty apparent that if Trans Iowa has crap weather, or the roads go to pot, it is going to take place, ( the original rules say as much), and it will be run as far as the roads allow it to be on any given year. I've often said that each Trans Iowa is its own, unique entity, experience, and the outcomes reflect this. That's why the course changes every year. That's why there are no set checkpoints, no "classic climbs", and nothing is the same but the start line since T.I.v6. Even the finish line has moved since we've been in Grinnell.

Many folks don't get that stuff, but that's okay. There are plenty of other events for them to attend, like, be fans of, and complain about. Trans Iowa is a square peg and it ain't gonna fit into your round holes.

In the end, it's about the people that come to T.I.
So, enough about that already....

This year, Trans Iowa took on a new shade for me. The event was so short, and time was available to many, which allowed for gatherings to happen that would not have ordinarily occurred had the event run its full 34 hour course. I ended up down at Lonski's, as previously reported, and found that the social, people side of these gravel events was something I really liked a lot.

I looked around the table and saw four people that spoke foreign languages natively. Two of them from Germany. There were four distinct cultures represented. There were folks from the Mid-West, and folks from the East Coast/New England area. In the back room was a family from middle Missouri, and over at the bar was a couple from Duluth, Minnesota. I couldn't get to know these folks without what happened at Trans Iowa V11. I may not see some of them ever again. This was a treasured moment for me. Trans Iowa may have been a roaring lion that did not allow the riders to pass, but it was also giving me a gift that night that I otherwise would never have gotten. People. Relationships.

Tim Ek told me something that night. He said it numerous times. "Trans Iowa is bigger than you. Don't forget that." I'm not sure I understand what that means. Maybe I won't ever fully understand that. All I know is that the event this year was very unique and I gained a new appreciation for what it can do this year. Next year.....?

I'm not talking about that just yet. Stay tuned............


Jim C said...

Glad to hear you are going to keep doing what you're doing. Even our two events have grown to become quite different... despite that fact that your event was the very thing that inspired me to create mine. I'm glad they aren't the same. And I'm glad people support them both. And yes... it's the PEOPLE that make all of this worthwhile. You and I are very blessed. Very blessed, indeed!!!

Love you, Man.
Jim C.

Guitar Ted said...

@Jim C: Thank you, Sir! I believe that what you have evolved the DK200 into is amazing and I agree- they should be different experiences.

I am also glad to see you are back on the bike. I look forward to seeing you very soon with my bike!

Love You Too!

Michael Lemberger said...

Speaking only for myself, I was not disappointed by the outcome. There was some disappointment in not being able to ride all day and shoot the breeze and face challenges with fellow racers, but not making the cutoff for CP1 was not disappointing. It seems to me that it's just Trans Iowa. A whole winter and spring of training down the drain you say? If you're not enjoying that part while for its own sake, I don't think you're doing it right.

I recently described TI to a friend who just moved back to town and his reaction, without hesitation, was three words long:

"That sounds horrible."

Yeah, sometimes, but the spirit behind it is wonderful. I still don't fully understand why I participate, but I do know that I like it a lot.

Thank you so much for your efforts, Mark. Unforgettable.

DAD said...


I'm happy to hear that the TI will be continuing in the future. This thing you do, and all the people involved in it (and you) are near and dear to my heart. Thank you for continuing to give your time and effort to make such a kick butt event. Those that don't get it, start your own event.

"There are no classic climbs" made me laugh. I think the whole of TI is one big, classic climb.

Much love, Mark. See you soon!


gerrireggi said...

Hi Mark,

great posts.

Trans Iowa is so much more than the 54 miles to CP#1.



Darrin H said...

Personally, I don't foresee ever participating in the Trans Iowa. The GTDRI is on my would like to try someday list. Having said that, TI absolutely fascinates me and I have followed it on Mountain Bike Radio the last two races. One of the thing that make gravel events so awesome is that each race is unique, different, with its own flavor. The TI is not a race for everybody, which is exactly as it should be. That is what sets it apart. I hope it continues for many more years.


Ari said...

As one of the Dinosaurs of Ti I just want to thank every one of you that has been part of this great event. So many friendships have occurred and solidified over the years. There are stories to last a lifetime. The Slender Fungus always looks foward to another edition. May the wind be at your back and the gravel firm!

MG said...

I'm with Ari and Eki on this one... Trans Iowa is considered by many as the granddaddy of gravel events and I feel extremely fortunate for the relationship I've enjoyed (and sometimes not enjoyed) with it. From the people I've met, to the personal boundaries it's shattered for me, Trans Iowa has truly changed my life for the better. Of that I'm 100% certain.

Thank you, my Brother. I love you, man.


Guitar Ted said...

@Michael Lemberger: Thanks for those thoughts, Michael. I really am drawn to your thoughts about the rides that are training all Winter long for a T.I. attempt. They are such great adventures in their own right, and whether T.I. is 54 miles or 331, those rides should be appreciated in their own light. That's a great thought you had on that! (And I didn't get to hang out with ya this year, dang it!)

@DAD: (sam) You're right, you know. Trans Iowa is "one big classic climb", and when I think about it, that makes a lot of sense.

See ya soon!

@gerrireggi: Miss you already, Sir! Thanks for the sacrifices you and Ralf made to get here.

@Darrin: Thanks for those comments. I hope that you can make it to the GTDRI someday. Those are great adventures!

@Ari: You are dear to me, my friend, and a true gravelist.

@MG: What can I say, my Brother? Love ya man! Glad you were with me on this strange trip!

@ALL OF YOU: Thanks for these special comments. I am humbled and deeply thankful for all of the comments and for many of your friendships.

Much Love To All Of You!
Guitar Ted