| A challenge to ride across Iowa in a day caused a media sensation in 1980|
The idea was concocted by four road cyclists who, in turn, got their inspiration for this feat from RAGBRAI, the annual crossing of Iowa by cyclists which takes place during the final full week in July every year. That event takes a full seven days to amble its way across Iowa. Using overnight towns, bicycle shop support, and various roadside food and drink vendors which hopscotch the route during the event, RAGBRAI is often seen as something of a feat in itself for many people. True, it can be quite the challenge, but for dyed in the wool, committed cyclists, RAGBRAI isn't all that difficult. If you spend days and months training to be a racer of bicycles, maybe something like this late July ramble is tantamount to an easy training day. For cyclists like these, RAGBRAI isn't seen as the pinnacle of cycling prowess like it is by many of that event's devotees. So it was for the four protagonists that undertook what became the first "trans Iowa"cycling event.
|The second bit showing the route used by the first Trans Iowans.|
Of course, not all bicycle rides go according to plan, and neither did this attempt. Carl Randall suffered cramps early in the ride which forced him off the bike, but he did re-join his comrades after 46 miles. Headwinds, which picked up in central Iowa, put the riders seriously off pace, and threatened to end the attempt. Some tension with drivers East of Waterloo, Iowa also was an issue. All that aside, their attempt was successful, and just before midnight, after 21 hours, 42 minutes, and 26 seconds, the first "trans Iowa" attempt was chiseled into the record books.
|(L-R) Russ Clarke, Danny Warrington, Carl Randall. The riders take a quick break during the their attempt at riding across Iowa in a day in August of 1980.|
|Click image to enlarge.|
In fact, had Jeff Kerkove and myself not been working together in the bicycle shop that Russ Clarke owns to this day, I would not be involved in Trans Iowa at all. I wouldn't have heard about "FBRAIIOD" and Jeff wouldn't have suggested we do something similar with mountain bikes instead. Maybe gravel road racing would look completely different had these four gentleman not tried to do what they did on that hot August day in 1980.
Yep, you just never know how things might have been had this ride not happened. But it did, and look what happened because of it...... You just never know how what you do today will influence the future. Funny how that works, isn't it?
For more on this story and Trans Iowa's history, Click Here.
To read the article posted here simply click on the image to enlarge it.
Note: Articles scans from the Des Moines Register. Images from Rick Rickman. Scans provided by John and Celeste Mathias. Back ground information provided by Carl Randall and Russ Clarke.