Friday, April 29, 2016

Trans Iowa V12: American Horse

Me with Travis (L) and Al Brunner. The first father-son combo to finish in the same T.I.
Yesterday I spoke about the heroes that are unsung in Trans Iowa, and there are more than I mentioned. However; like I said, this is about T.I.v12 stuff that has struck me as being cool, important, or noteworthy.

One of those things is the event itself. I heard from a few folks before, during, and afterward about what they feel makes Trans Iowa so special. Many have picked up on the vibe and have commented on how they appreciated me keeping the thing strict to its roots and values. It isn't an easy ship to steer in this sort of "get bigger and better" culture. Not that some events and event directors haven't been successful doing that, because clearly, they have. I guess it just is defined by what you term as "success". Success, in regards to Trans Iowa, doesn't look anything like "bigger and better" and it never could.

I won't get into the reasons why I feel Trans Iowa couldn't be bigger and better, but I will say that it remains different, and I don't think anyone can disagree on that point. My wife, Mrs Guitar Ted, and I were discussing this just the other day. You can find a lot of events that are just big time deals, or that grow every year till they are that "big time deal", and with that, certain amenities are added, features are added, and many times that starts to cost the entrant more money. Hopefully the services rendered and experiences gained are worth the cash outlay. At least, that's the hope, and the sincere desire, of the promoters.

CP#2: Nuthin' fancy, but it gets the job done.
It is rare to find the event that doesn't get bigger, better, or change all that much. It is rare to find that event which has a spirit and feel that remain true year to year, and that hasn't changed going all the way back to its inception. My point to Mrs. Guitar Ted was that this is something that resonates with a few folks. You can't bottle it and sell it. Although, people will try to do that for you. People will try to nudge you into making it "bigger and better". So far, I think I've resisted that urge.

The event known as Trans Iowa isn't the only one that is like this, by any means, and there are great events doing similar things to Trans Iowa. They are out there keeping that steady hand, not changing, and attracting those that don't want that spit shined, polished event production. Some say it is the "grassroots" American gravel grinding ethos. Maybe it is. Some say these events are not races. Some say that they aren't events at all, because they don't have timing chips, "proper" finish line areas, or prizes. Whatever.

It's maybe a unique, "horse of a different color" kind of thing that you either get or you don't get. Whatever side you find yourself on regarding that view, Trans Iowa is like an American Horse, and its spirit will never be broken as long as I am running it.

Next: Stop This Game


Doug Mayer said...

Along the lines of the idea that TI "isn't a race": a local bike shop owner commented on the topic of 'gravel bikes aren't race bikes'... well what's it called when they're optimized of a purpose and you race them? Lol.

Legitimacy is in the eye (and the heart) of the beholder. Willing to bet the guys & gals who attempt and finish TI are convinced it's real, whatever it is. BTW, congrats Kei!

Bryan Ford said...

Todays blog hits a nerve about how I've been feeling with regards to the direction some events have taken. For awhile I thought I was on an island with my thoughts.
I hope I'm fortunate enough to participate in TI before you retire it.
Thanks again.