Okay, it's time for some final thoughts, some tidbits that didn't really fit into the story, to be told here, and then I'm moving on.....
The Shortened Course: I don't suppose any past T.I. finishers will argue, but some might, that there should be an "asterisk" by the names of the finishers of this years course. Here's why I don't think that is necessary: every year is different. Period. That's one of the reasons I like doing a different course every year. You can't compare one T.I. to another. Similar? Yes, but definitely not the same. that's by design, and how it should be.
As for having to do the shortened course, I am at peace with it. It was the right thing to do, and there isn't really anything else to be said.
Finish Line: Here is one real regret: That more folks couldn't have joined in the fun at the finish. That was most unfortunate. Of course, by the time I announced it on T.I. Radio, it was about what, 11:30 pm? Most folks are not going to hop in their cars for an hour drive to hang with some sweaty, tired riders at that hour. It was just a bit too far from Decorah and not easy to get to. Not that it mattered. I mean, we were on the borderline of getting into trouble as it was with the few folks we did have hanging out in Edgewood.
Of course, the next morning we were done and outta there by 8:30am, so not really a great time to come and hang out then either. Oh well, I did actually announce where the finish line was before the event, but that didn't work out obviously. Next year, (if there is a next year) it will revert back to the "secret" finish line and ya'all will have to pay attention to T.I.Radio to find out what is going on. That seems like the most workable plan as of now.
Pre-Race Hangout/Meeting: That T-Bock's meet up was pretty good. I think T-Bock's was pretty stoked about it too. They were really puzzled by the amount of beer consumed before an event like T.I. Heck, haven't they heard of carb loading? Well, whatever the case, it was a great time and I think everyone made a few new connections there. I know I did. Of course, it was the only chance I got to see some familiar faces too, but it was waaaay too short a time.
Two Checkpoints: That idea was a success. No doubt about it. And we have a lot more to do to tweak it out to be better if we run T.I. again... Cell phone coverage is one thing we didn't even consider, and that should be better by next year, but we would need to make sure. A couple more eyes on the field with the photographers was a good deal too. That saved us a few times.
Is Decorah Getting Old? I bet I could pull off at least two completely new courses outta Decorah, but even last year we were discussing "moving" T.I. around the state. Is it too good up in North East Iowa? Hmm.......I know it is hard to beat, but I also know that other places in Iowa would be super cool too. While we would probably not ever do a point to point again, I wouldn't rule it out. Also, the distance to recon the roads becomes a factor, so for now, if there is another T.I., it'll be close to home unless there is a compelling reason to take it elsewhere.
What About The Date?: Here's something that has been brought up since the first Trans Iowa. Why late April? Well, originally it was because guys are usually looking for base miles anyway, or so we thought then. Now we know that guys are training for Trans Iowa all winter long and taking it much more seriously than we had expected four years ago. But in the end, I always wanted to keep it on the last weekend of April. Now there is a "wrench" in the works that has caused me to take stock of when another Trans Iowa might take place. If there is another Trans Iowa, it will be at a different time, but not far from when it is now probably. Maybe a weekend later, maybe not. We'll see, I'm not thinking about that just yet. I just know what date it can't be on!
So....What Are You saying?: I know right now that without any reservations that I would say yes to a Trans Iowa in 2009.......but there are reservations! I love doing the event, I really do, but it's stupid. Really stupid from a financial point of view, really stupid from a time spent on it point of view, and really dumb from a family point of view. But then again, I don't care about the money, and the time invested is worth it from other standpoints. The family thing? Well......yeah, that sucks. Maybe my kids will like traveling gravel later, but I tried it with the family last year and they were non-plussed. I guess it all depends on how much I dare to be stupid again. Stay tuned!
Whatever happens I will say that I have not regreted doing a Trans Iowa with the possible exception of last year which just about killed me. Even that one turned out great and was a hoot really. I have enjoyed all the folks I have worked with- Jeff and now David- very very much. The volunteers have been fantastic, from Jeff's parents to the crew from '08. To all of you, I say a huge thanks. It wouldn't happen without any one of you.
And the folks that I have met that have participated: Wow! What can I say. You guys and gals are fantastic!
Trans Iowa V4