Saturday, December 29, 2012

Trans Iowa V9: Thoughts On The Past, Present, & Future

So, since the "end of the year" stuff is running rampant all across the internet, I may as well fall in line with a version of that concerning Trans Iowa.

T.I.V1 Gnome: Sitting on some guy's mantle these days...
The next year's Trans Iowa is #9, of course, and that means I've been dinking around out in the rural countryside of Iowa in search of Iowa's most interesting gravel roads for nearly a decade now. Why is that even something that matters? Why would anyone want to do that for nearly 10 years?

Well, I think it goes back to when I was a kid, bouncing around in the back seat of a '66 Dodge Coronet. Most all of my relatives lived on gravel roads. The seemingly endless ribbon of crushed rock was mysterious, and I wanted to know more back then. Where could you go? What could you see?

It even goes back to my first out of town rides on an old ten speed. The vastness of the countryside at slow motion was intriguing to my mind. Then came the over the road, self contained tours, which were another building block on my way to route finding, riding over long distances, and organizing that for others.

Along the way there were detours for college, a career in jewelry repair and construction, rock and roll, mountain biking, and working on automobiles. But finally I found myself back out on the gravel back roads, and I remembered what I had a passion for years earlier.

T.I.V8: Image by W. Kilburg
Okay, so that's what motivated me to start out, but what keeps me going? Honestly, I still enjoy putting the race together. Seeing it go off, with the flaws and successes, makes it interesting yet. I am challenged to tweak it out better, make less mistakes, and become better at Trans Iowa than I was the year before. I like the challenge, and it drives me to become better in ways many of you will never know.

I call it "Endurance Promoting", tongue in cheek, but in many ways, that has a ring of truth to it. There are some super-fans of Trans Iowa, some very passionately committed folks to the event, but beyond that small cadre of folks, this is an event that is just an oddity on the cycling landscape. (At least, that is what I perceive.) Trans Iowa is mostly an unknown, under the radar cycling event that most folks have never heard of, and never ever will. So, the "normal" modes of motivation to do this are not there. I really am okay with that, because I never got into this gig for those "normal" rewards. One must have the endurance of passion for this sort of weirdness, (be that good or bad, I'll let you be the judge), and that paired with the actual physical and mental demands does make this sort of an "endurance event" for me.

But maybe that is stretching things a bit? Hmm......

Re-route: T.I.V4
The low key, oddness of Trans Iowa is intentional too. You see, one day there will not be a Trans Iowa anymore. Things will change. If the structure of the event is more akin to the local gang's sprint to the corner stop sign, it will be a lot easier to dismantle this beast and walk away from it. I won't owe anyone, I won't have too many things left over that are not already used up, and I won't have anything I have to sell off.

Not that I do now. Many folks may find it amusing to know that all of my Trans Iowa stuff would easily fit into one big storage tub. Hmm......come to think of it, maybe even a medium sized tub would do. That includes everything from the first one to the eighth one. There isn't much I want or need to do a Trans Iowa. I don't want it to be bigger, badder, better, or more popular for those and other reasons. Low key. Small. Easy.

And in the future I hope it stays that way until the day I make the announcement on the internet that I am folding up the card table and putting T.I. away for good. I know a lot of folks do not want to see that day, but that is being unrealistic, now isn't it? Besides, there are things I want to do. Changes that will be good to have happen, and if Trans Iowa is holding me back from those, that is not a good thing.

I've got something up my sleeve that I want to pursue, and it has something to do with gravel road riding. So, I won't stop having things to do with gravel road cycling. I just will not be doing the organization of a major event like Trans Iowa. Someday. I'm not stopping this T.I. stuff just yet. But I've had a plan for several years now, and I am sticking to it. You'll all hear about it when it happens.

But that's in the future. For now....

Happy New Year!


Tim said...

Passion for a personal cause is a great virtue. It makes me remember that life is a journey and personal passions come and go, birth and die and that is what makes life the adventure worth living. Again, thank you for sharing your passions and your life. I'm returning to frozen Fargo,ND after some much needed time with family in the Southwest. I trust you will equally enjoy your time in El Paso, TX. Live passionately in 2013!

Exhausted_Auk said...

I am reminded once again of the Japanese saying "Wabi-Sabi": Nothing is ever finished, nothing is ever perfect, and nothing is permanent.

All the best with whatever future direction you take after TI!