Sunday, November 10, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories: Setting The Scene For v4

One of my all-time favorite images from a Trans Iowa, but it is because of the story behind it.
 "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

With a new lease on life, Trans Iowa would happen again for the fourth time in 2008. The stories I will tell about this one won't go into as much detail as they did for v3. The third Trans Iowa was, as I said when telling the stories of that event, a prototype for what came afterward. That is partly why I went into such detail about it. The formatting, the protagonists, and the way things played out in a general sense were very much all foretelling of the next ten Trans Iowa events. The particulars of each event were different, and specific stories were as well. This is where I will be spending my time, for the most part, here on out. I won't be going over blow-by-blow recounting of the events, as that has been done to death already. That said, I wanted to take on T.I.v3 that way due to its being "the first" of its kind.

Jeff Kerkove, the co-founder of Trans Iowa was now fully out of the picture in regard to the event. But I had gained another good friend and helper in David Pals. His enthusiasm and in particular, his ideas, were very important for the next several years of the event. So, while I rued the exit of Jeff, I gained a great partner in David who was up to the task and helped innovate and evolve Trans Iowa further than I would have ever done by myself. He was an invaluable resource for me, mostly behind the scenes. David wasn't really interested in being up front, or the "face" of the event, so that part was all on me.

This left me with the unenviable task of dealing with "problem children". The folks who were interested in Trans Iowa, but had "ideas" and criticisms which they wanted addressed/implemented so the event would be "better". In reality, what they wanted would make the event "easier", or at best, more convenient to ride in, and were not at all in the spirit of the event.

"It takes a lot of organizational willpower to keep a design simple"
 - Paul Boag

This quote from a Twitter post really resonated with me because it reminded me of the struggle to keep Trans Iowa on point. In the beginning, this task was largely Jeff Kerkove's, but by v3 I was the guy steering the ship and dealing with the folks who were a thorn in my side. A lot of this back and forth happened on the Endurance Forum on So, it was public and I had to rein in my comments somewhat. However; a lot of this dealing with the potential "dumbing down" of Trans Iowa was on emails. There I wasn't quite so "diplomatic". There was also all the questioning about why this, and why that. Long winded questions requiring long winded answers really were not only time consuming, but energy draining as well. There were plenty of times I wished I would have decided to stop at v3.

The year 2008 was also one where I had so many irons in the fire, and so many demands on my time, that  I was overwhelmed. It was just far, far too much to handle, looking back, but in the moment, I was thinking I was fine. Had I stopped Trans Iowa in 2007, it would have been a lot easier, but that was, maybe unbelievably so, one of the easier things I did in 2008! That should tell you what a cracker of a year it was. I definitely do not want to repeat that again in my lifetime.

Next: Meeting New Friends


Skidmark said...

Greets GT, Was the Ti v4 🛑<— from a mid-race reroute?

Guitar Ted said...

@Skidmark- Yes, that's at the beginning of about a ten mile (as I recall) reroute to get around some flooded roads North of Tipton, Iowa.

I always will remember how the winds made an overhead power line at that point moan as if a 1000 spirits were hovering around me. Spooky!