|Dan Hughes coming across the line at T.I.v13|
I think it would be prudent to go back a bit and give you all the back story first. But before I even go there, let me make something very clear up front......
I never have, nor ever will I say that Trans Iowa is a "premier event", a "gravel classic", or "the grandfather of all gravel races". These are things which I have had other people tell me (and more) when they think about Trans Iowa. However; this sort of talk isn't coming from me or any of my Trans Iowa production efforts. Trans Iowa is "Trans Iowa". Period. Nothing more than that.
However; since the beginnings of the modern gravel road riding movement, there have been ideas bandied about. One of those was the idea that there could be a "Triple Crown" of gravel events which would help determine the best gravel racer. This idea was first presented to Jeff and I right after we had put on the first Trans Iowa, so probably sometime in 2005. Let's put that in context, shall we?
In 2005 there was no Almanzo 100, no Barry-Roubaix, and no Gravel Worlds. We had never heard about Paris-Ancaster, nor about any other long running, big mileage, classic gravel event which may have been going on before we got started. We knew about the Flint Hills Death Ride, (70 miles), and the Colesburg Classic, (40 miles), but there just were no other events like Trans Iowa, and the planned Dirty Kanza 200. The idea that any other events could even be considered for a "triple crown" just was not possible at that time.
|My shot that I took at the first DK200 of winner Dan Hughes and Doug Long, a volunteer that year.|
Some time passed and the gravel event which was going to be in Nebraska was a complete mystery to me. With time I had heard about an event planned by Skip Cronin, who was known as the "Endurosnob", which was the moniker of his blog as well. That event was a "one and done" deal, so the gap in the "Triple Crown" was still needing to be filled. That seemed to be possible when I heard about the efforts of the Pirate Cycling League to bring a long gravel event to the table.
The PCL was a loosely knit group of gravel riding enthusiasts from the Lincoln Nebraska area and one of their group, Corey "Cornbread" Godfrey, had some e-mail discussions about this Triple Crown idea. The way that I remember it being left was that we, (the DK200, the new Nebraska event which became the Good Life Gravel Adventure and eventually Gravel Worlds, and Trans Iowa), were all separate events with our own ways of doing things. This might be hard to reconcile in to a "series" which could result in a legitimate "Triple Crown" of gravel.* Plus, the whole idea of a "series" wasn't what Cornbread and I wanted. So, that was the end of that. Or so we thought.......
|At the start of the 2015 DK200- The DK200 has become a "big time event" these days.|
Trans Iowa? Not so much. It hasn't changed much in years. It isn't on the same playing field as these other events these days when it comes to the mainstream idea of an "event". It doesn't have the same cache', nor does it have the same high profile outside of the gravel community that the other two events do. I kind of scoff at the idea that it would even be considered in the same conversation as those two events when it comes to talk of a series of events worthy of a "Triple Crown". But that all didn't matter for years, since the idea was dead, or so I thought. The idea of a "Triple Crown" would not even enter most of our minds again until this year.
Dan Hughes had a specific goal coming in to the Trans Iowa v13. He wanted to be known as the winner of the Dirty Kanza (four times), Gravel Worlds, (once), and Trans Iowa. He may or may not have been aware of the whole triple crown thing back in the day, but Dan brought it back when he started talking this goal up post Trans Iowa this year. I was aware of a comment made by Rebecca Rusch concerning Dan's use of the term, but I figured that it was friendly banter that would go away after a while.
But it seems that the idea of the "Triple Crown" of gravel is gaining some steam since I have noted that the term is being used by some on social media. That has prompted me to get the story out, and straightened out, before it gets murky and twisted by anyone else who doesn't know what they are talking about. The story above is the true history behind the term in regard to Trans Iowa and is accurate as far as I can remember.
That's the story of the mythical "Gravel Triple Crown". Now you know.......
*I found a post from 2009 mentioning the "Triple Crown of Gravel" and which corroborates the story here. Click HERE to see that post.