Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Trans Iowa V9 Part 1: Let's Do This!

It says "Adventure Awaits You" right on the can!!
Friday April 26th:

After months of preparation, planning, thought, time spent, money spent, and the producing of materials for the event along with the organizing and packing, I was all set to "push play" on this thing called Trans Iowa once again. Despite a little bit of a time crunch due to the late Winter weather here, I wasn't stressed about not getting things done, but rather by worrying about what I may be forgetting. 

So I made this big checklist and verified everything in the tubs packed up to make the trip to Grinnell. I even detailed my bag contents, just to be sure. Everything was where it should be, so I loaded up the truck and was setting off to hit the road on a fine Friday morning when I thought I would try the car charger Mrs. Guitar Ted got me for my iPhone 4s. Then I found out that one tiny detail, a critical part of the puzzle, yet so mundane an object, could have derailed the entire Trans Iowa weekend for me.

A freakin' Apple specific USB cord.

Yep! I apparently assumed that a car charger would come with a cord. Nope! And it was a good thing I checked just seconds before heading out. Back in the house, and within 30 seconds I avoided leaving with the one thing I needed to power communications at Trans Iowa V9. Whew! That was close! 

Uhh....does it have to be that chunky guys?
 Part of the other lessons I have learned over the years is that roads can become magically closed, flooded, or otherwise compromised just a day before your event. So these days I always drive the beginning of the course on Pre-Race day to make sure I don't have to be scrambling in the dark come the next day re-routing the course.

Since T.I.V9 went North this time, I could back track the route on my way to Grinnell this year, and I drove 130 miles of the course Friday. When Wally, George, and I verified cues two weeks prior to T.I.V9, we found a barricaded road that was damaged by run off when we had a rain on top of some frozen snow and it washed away part of the roadbed. It was not a big deal at the time since the barricades were torn down enough to drive around them and the roadway was passable, albeit very rutted and rough. Would it be repaired by race day or.....all dug up and impassable due to repairs? I had to find out, since this was an integral part of getting up to the northern portions of the course and connecting Mormon Ridge Road into that from the south. I really wanted Mormon Ridge in there, so it was important to me to have this road work out.

Well, fortunately it was good, and in the same condition as it had been. I would have to warn the riders, but it wasn't a big deal. The worst thing I found was huge, chunky gravel and soft patches of fresh gravel along the way. I noted lots of dump trucks, and a county road grader right on our route. It was only going to be worse on race day! But if that was the only negative, I was all good with that.

Chamber Of Commerce proclamation presented by Craig Cooper
Then it was off to the Pre-Race Meat-Up and while unloading, a big SUV pulls up and a young women explodes out of the passenger side exclaiming in an English modified by some European accent, that she recognized me, and was soo excited for Trans Iowa that she was literally jumping up and down. It was Cristina Mihaescu, who was planning on running a single speed. She was one of the nine women that would be taking the start of Trans Iowa V9, a record for any T.I. I also am pretty sure she is the first ever female to attempt a T.I. on a single speed, but I could be wrong about that. Don't think so though.....

The meeting went well. We ended up with 91 folks showing up, (four late, but I did let them in!), which was good out of a possible 96. I even managed to get the riders out of there before 8:00pm. My frustrations were amped when I couldn't find my printed roster sheets, but beyond that, things were good. My "super-volunteer", Brent Irish, got me some copies of the one roster sheet I managed not to misplace! Then it was off to visit at Bikes To You, and I was in for a bit of a surprise. You see, the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce decided to fete me with a special proclamation. It reads thusly:

Presented to
Mark Stevenson (Guitar Ted)
on this twenty-sixth day of April, 2013, for your dedication
to organizing the Trans Iowa event in Grinnell, Iowa.
We appreciate your efforts to attract visitors to our community. 

So, I never saw that one coming, and it would be one of the many humbling things that would happen over the course of the weekend. I then got an offer to sleep in a bedroom over the bike shop, so I took that up and set the alarm for 3:15am, slammed myself into the bed, and tried not to think about all the crazy stuff going through my mind. And you know what? It worked, and I fell fast asleep.......
Next: Misty Morning Journey


Unknown said...

Mormon Ridge was definitely one of the highlights for me. Glad we got to go through there.

Thanks a million for all your energy invested-it was really a special experience.

MG said...

Yeah, Mormon Ridge was definitely a cool section. We all looked to the right, before we turned onto the Mormon Ridge road, and said "whoa, that is a STEEP climb!"

It was the first time I saw Monica drop out of her big ring that day too...

Congratulations on the award... You deserve that and much more for all the effort you've put into TransIowa!

Thank you!!


Steve Fuller said...

That whole section of the course, including the climb was great. So many cool little things out on the course the entire weekend if you were able to look around.