Sunday, October 18, 2020

Trans Iowa Stories: Let's Get This One Done - Part 2

 "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!

Rich Wince crosses the line 1st at T.I.v9
 In a previous entry to this series, I was speaking on why it was that Trans Iowa v9 seemed like one of the only Trans Iowa events I didn't really have any strong feelings about. I don't ever really think about this version of Trans Iowa when I think about the 'good times' associated with the event. There doesn't seem to be any really big, stand-out events surrounding it when I briefly consider this version. But that is not a problem for me when it comes to the other 13 versions of Trans Iowa. Why? This was a question that has dogged me for months as I was preparing to cover this part of Trans Iowa history.

The answer seems simple, once I had covered over old ground. I looked back at my initial race report. The week after a Trans Iowa was always dedicated to recapping Trans Iowa from my viewpoint. So, I thought there must be tidbits of information there which might spur on some memories and maybe give me a clue as to why I seemed so ambivalent about T.I.v9. 

The thing is, there would appear to be no outward reasons for this ambivalence. Trans Iowa v9 was a smashing success, compared to the eight that went down before it. The weather was nearly perfect, allowing for 36 people- a new record at the time- to finish. There were no really glaring faults to the running of the event, (there was a near miss, which I'll get to), and I witnessed a second time Women's class finisher and four of the nine women starters finished. We even had a single speed women finisher- Christina Mihaescu, the only one in Trans Iowa history - despite many women trying it single speed afterward. 

Checkpoint #2 @ T.I.v9- (L-R) volunteers Robert Fry, Jeremy Fry, rider Corey Godfrey, and photographer Jason Boucher.

 So, why wouldn't I have fond memories of T.I.v9? The Barn finish was highly successful, we had great volunteers, and no one had any real huge issues. No, it wasn't any of that which made me want to bury this one from my memory banks. What I think partially causes my lack of enthusiasm for T.I.v9 had to do with excess amounts of stress that I had going into 2013. 

2012 marked my tenth year at the old shop where I worked and by this time things were not well with me and that job. Although I was 'okay', deep inside I hated going into work with the way the place was being run. But at the time I had no other viable options and I wasn't really thinking about that anyway. It was just something that was "there"- an underlying issue, you might say. Then another layer was my planning to get out from under "Twenty Nine" and, ironically, Trans Iowa. My plan, which I had determined as a goal by this point, was to be free of both things by the end of 2014. T.I.v9 was just an obstacle in the way to that end goal.

Then adding in the stress of the event, having hosted a record number of racers, (91) and the issues which popped up during the event. Things like two people getting bitten by dogs, (Eric Brunt and Steve Fuller), my plan involving cutting the cues down for checkpoints, which almost cost me some major embarrassment, and my waivers getting soaked in Templeton Rye. It was enough to set me over the edge, emotionally and physically. Post v9 I was an emotional wreck. 

T.I.v9 waivers being evaporated of their whiskey content during the event near Brooklyn, Iowa.

 Amazingly, none of the potential pitfalls which could have stained the event caused any big lasting impressions. Either dog bite situation could have gone South in a big way. The waivers? Well, I decided to dry them out by placing them on my window vent with the defroster on high heat which evaporated whiskey leavings so badly that any official that may have stopped by would have had due cause to arrest me. That was kind of a dumb move on my part, looking back. Then, of course, the cues running short at checkpoint #1 was a potential bad look. Fortunately, my volunteers, led by Brent Irish, saved the day by finding a printer to borrow at a small time garage repair place in the tiny village of Ira. What were the chances of that being a resource? I still am amazed at the lengths people would go for me and Trans Iowa. 

So, big deal, right? There were all those positives. The event was won by a rookie, Rich Wince. 36 people finished. Folks thought things were run exceptionally well. There was a great time had at the Barn finish line. As I stated, the weather, despite getting bone chillingly cold Saturday night/Sunday morning, was next to perfect. Any outsider would have thought I would have been elated by the outcome. But you wouldn't have known it by my sudden, random emotional breakdowns the week following. I would burst into tears at a moment's notice. Big, slobbering tears. I had no idea what was wrong with me. It was at once terrifying and baffling. Fortunately the emotional outbursts became less frequent by the end of that following week and by ten days out from T.I.v9, I seemed to be over it all. 

A triumphant Steve Fuller finishes T.I.v9 despite being bitten by a dog during the event.

 Apparently there is a thing called "Post Event Collapse Syndrome". Some folks e-mailed me to say that it was a real thing and to reach out for help if it didn't get better. I had no idea this could happen, but it was another reinforcement to my thinking that after ten Trans Iowas, I had to bail out. T.I.v9 was over, and afterward, I think I buried my memories as a way to protect myself from what had happened the week afterward. Of course, I know it could have been other things, but this makes the most sense to me now looking back. I believe it is the reason I feel like T.I.v9 has no real big meaning to me at this point in my life looking back at it. I just wanted to forget it all, I guess. 

Next: A Hurdle Cleared- On To The Finish Line!


S.Fuller said...

That photo brings back great memories and planted some Tour Divide thoughts. I also gained two new friends in Paul Errington and Vince Vox that weekend. Thank you for posting it

Ari said...

You trained really smart for that one Fuller.

Guitar Ted said...

@S. Fuller - You're welcome, of course! It's Vin Cox, just to set the record straight. One of two UK'ers to have joined us over the years at T.I. I think "Vince Vox" was some punk rock idol or another, yes? ;>)