Saturday, August 11, 2018

Minus Ten Review -32

I miss both the bike and the trail in this image.
Ten years ago on the blog I was really busy testing forks, tires, and other stuff for my gigs online. I spent a LOT of time running back and forth to Cedar Bend Park and Camp Ingawanis every Wednesday and weekend. What is odd is that while the mountain biking was excellent, hardly anyone would drive up from Waterloo or Cedar Falls to partake. 

Most times I rode up there I never saw anyone. No other bikers and no walkers. Now a day doesn't go by when someone on social media asks about riding up there. I guess that's what it took to get the ball moving with trail use. Well, things are a lot different now then they once were. While the South Side trails, now called Ingawanis Woodlands, are awesome, the old North Side/Boy Scout Camp trails were far more fun, technical, and covered a wider area of land. If you did the "big loop" on the North Side, you weren't simply folding back in on the same hill over and over again. were riding somewhere. Covering ground. It was more like trails are in Wisconsin, Minnesota, or elsewhere. Not that what we have now is bad, but the Scout Camp wasn't like anything else anywhere near here. I could go on.....

The bike,the old, battered Superior Blue El Mariachi, was the last of its kind. Salsa tuned the compliance right out of the El Mar after 2008 and it never was the bike it had been before. It was a sweet, decent little mountain bike in the old school mode where you just rode for the experience of being in the woods. Not to shred or be some bike that was "playful". It handled quickly, didn't steer like a truck, and you could go up and down within reason. The only modern day bike like it is the current Krampus. Only the Krampus is a 29+ bike. But anyway, I ruined that bike when I had it repainted and re-purposed as a single speed. That was the dumbest thing I ever did with a bike within recent memory.

A very legendary visitor from Colorado was here to see me back then....
I was graced by the visitation of a somewhat legendary individual from Colorado named Mike Curiak back then. He had gotten a hold of me and asked about stopping by for a ride. What got into this man to come and cruise some humble, ordinary wooded single track in Iowa, I'll never know.

We rode in the afternoon and went to down town Cedar Falls for a cuppa then he split town and went back to Colorado, and onward to much more exciting things.

I was very grateful for his stop, and to this day, I owe Mr. Curiak a debt of thanks for helping Jeff Kerkove and I to formulate the foundations of Trans Iowa. Mike had a heavy influence on the initial rules, format, and ethos of Trans Iowa, and on some early tweaks I made to the event. It could be said that much of what became gravel racing and riding was influenced through Mike Curiak directly and by his friends who started the Great Divide Race and other Western ultra-mtb events.

If you ever read the following here: "If you don't like that, then maybe this event isn't for you.", that is a direct quote from Mike. There's more to this, but maybe I'll get around to that another time.

Trans Iowa v5 was announced ten years ago this week. It was a big deal since we moved the event out of Decorah due to the desires of a certain irritated cycling luminary from Decorah that asked me not to consider Decorah for any future cycling events I had planned. This stemming from the failed Big Wheeled Ballyhoo. Here's a snippet from ten years ago concerning this.....

"The next thing you noticed is probably the location change. We have felt all along that Trans Iowa should be about showing folks that Iowa is something more than "flat", corn fields, and pigs. There is a lot more to Iowa than that. We have endeavored to move the event around since last year when d.p, (David Pals) and I started talking about doing T.I.V4, so this move to Williamsburg fits in with our plans and our philosophy."

 So we were already thinking about getting out of Decorah, but we weren't going to do that until v6 at the earliest. The disgruntled shot fired at us in the Summer of '08 changed all that though. While leaving Decorah as our base for TI was a bummer, it wasn't without future benefits of which we had no idea about at the time.


Tyler Loewens said...

I read this blog every single day. Just dropping a line again to say thank you Mark!

Guitar Ted said...

@Tyler Loewens- Thanks!!

Rob E said...

I agree with your take on the El Mariachi, had a 2013 myself for a bit but sold it because it never had that great ride feel that good steel bike should have.