This week's Trans Iowa V6 talk won't be so heavy on details. Still, there is much to say.
First off, we got in some sweet Trans Iowa stickers that all the racers will be getting at the Pre-Race Meat-Up on April 23rd. These would look nice on an aluminum top tube, or most any down tube, or wherever you want to stick something up with a Trans Iowa logo. These came courtesy of Wilson Bicycle Consulting which will also be sending out Kevin Wilson to help with the volunteer crew. If you get a chance to see him, tell him thanks for the support.
Speaking Of Volunteers: We have not really been beating the volunteer drum this time because we haven't had to! It has been pretty amazing so far, and I am glad to say that we have volunteers enough to run the event now- if all that have stepped forward do show up. This is awesome, and if you are a racer at T.I.V6 this year, please make an effort to say thanks to these folks. They are not getting anything but the satisfaction that they are helping out with something they believe in, (and a guaranteed entry to T.I.V7 if they want it).
Stay tuned for an e-mail from me closer to the event, if you are a volunteer.
Gravel Grinder At Trans Iowa: In lieu of a proper name for this, I am just calling it "the gravel grinder during Trans Iowa, and telling folks that if you are not in T.I.V6, you can still check out parts of the course.
That's right! If you want a wee little taste of what the guys and gals of T.I.V6 are seeing out there, you can check out about 50 miles or so of the actual T.I.V6 course. This will be a group ride with no rider left behind. Details will be released later, (with a proper name for it even!), and the total will be around 100 miles. Shorter options will be available as well.
A Moto: We will feature a motorcycle bourne course sweeper at this years T.I. for the first time. If conditions are decent that is. I mention this so that you riders will not be surprised by this and will know what is up if some dude on a moto is trying to get a close look at you. We are doing this in an effort to be more precise in pinpointing where people are on course, and this will obviously allow us to pass along more timely info to support folks. Because of this, I am going to be a bit more persnickety about where and how you place your number plates on the bike/body. I am going to ask that the plates not be modified in any way. I am going to ask that the plates be plainly visible from a distance. This will prevent the moto from having to get up in your grill and we will get better info.
Finally, in an effort to make sure we don't leave anyone unaccounted for, we are going to sweep the course after each checkpoint closes with this moto. Obviously, the moto will not be giving out free rides to town, but in exceptional cases, the moto will stop to make sure you have called in for the calvary, whomever that may be for you. Once again- You are responsible for getting out safely! You either have a support person, or you are on your own. If you are on your own, the moto driver is going to double check that you have called in to the DNF line. Then we are moving on. This is important! HAVE A CONTINGENCY PLAN FOR GETTING OFF COURSE IF YOU DNF!! We will not be responsible for you, and if it is raining, cold, and blowing out of the Northwest at an ungodly rate of speed, (all things that have happened at previous Trans Iowa's), I'd hate to be you with no one to come and get me, and being stuck miles from Grinnell.
I say these things because I know many of you are coming to Trans Iowa alone, without a support person. Be smart! Don't try to be a hero, or think you have to finish because you don't have anyone to call. Better to cut it short while you still have something left in the tank than have Trans Iowa be sullied by some needless tragedy.
Roster Thoughts: This leads me to the final thoughts I have for this posting. Rosters have been increasing to astronomical levels in a few of the underground, unsanctioned gravel events. While the ideal of free racing for all comers is an attractive one, it doesn't come without strings attached. With great rosters come great responsibilities, if I may be so bold to paraphrase the famous quote. Let me explain.....
After Trans Iowa V1 there was a great outpouring of compliments directed at Jeff and I for doing the event. The thought that we had pulled off a succesful event was a heady feeling. We, (or rather more correctly- I) got our heads pulled out of the clouds by long time event promoter, Rich Gosen. Rich had been putting on gravel grinders, XC races, and time trials off road longer than I had been riding a mountain bike. So, to say he knows a thing or two would be an understatement. Well, Rich was non-plussed by our "accomplishment".
In fact, he was rather irritated due to our lack of care that we gave to tracking folks, in particular. There was more to it than that, but suffice it to say, it was a wake up call, and well needed. I'll just say this: event promoters better be very, very confident that they can keep track of all the nuances that each extra person on an event roster brings to the table. Not only that, but the impact of each person on the locality, and the locals themselves. (Which can be a good thing, or....) It only takes one disgruntled local to ruin it for everybody. I also would mention that getting help is paramount in putting these events on. Volunteer help is indispensable to me in running T.I.V6. I'll probably have around 10 volunteers for a roster on the day of the event that might number 50-ish folks. If I had twice that number on my roster, I'd want twice that number of volunteers. I've learned this over five Trans Iowas.
Okay- I've said all I will say about that. Folks can take it- or leave it.