Saturday, October 05, 2013

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #5

In mid-November, the idea of Trans Iowa was hatched. The year was 2004. In the ten years since then there have been many stories and memories. These posts will tell of the most prominent ones to my mind. Maybe I'll even spill the beans on some things you never knew....

The drop bags from T.I.V2
 Well, the second year of Trans Iowa saw a ton of changes. I suppose that when most folks that have any knowledge of the event think about that version the memories of mud, rain, and suffering are what comes to mind the most. Obviously with no one finishing, that was a big, big, deal. However; from the viewpoint of the evolution of Trans Iowa, V2 was a pivotal year.

I remember two reasons that are most memorable for those changes that happened, some of which affect the event to this very day. One of those motivators of change was Mike Curiak and the other was the Dirty Kanza 200.

Interestingly, the Dirty Kanza hadn't even happened yet, (2006 was its first year), but when Jeff and I heard they were allowing drop bags, we latched on to that idea and implemented it for Trans Iowa V2. The reason for this was to cut out the "pit crews" we observed at Algona in V1. Now, there is a lot of debate about just what was going on with the support crews at Algona, but here's the thing: We decided to move Trans Iowa away from the 24 hour event's "pit crew" support style to a more "self supported" feel. Jeff saw that Trans Iowa was a big deal, or that it could be, but that it wasn't going to be like 24 hour events that he was competing in at that time. It was very different.

Drop bags solved the problems with regard to people getting unequal amounts of support and leveled the playing field a bit more. Plus, it made it easier for us to tell support folks to just go ahead to Decorah and wait. Before we had all sorts of folks out on the course and wandering around where we didn't think it was prudent or good for the event to have them wandering about at. Cheating chances would be lessened.

Riders started T.I.V2 in the dark for the first time
The other big influence was from Mike Curiak. He had advocated for a early, early morning start in the dark for V1, but we didn't do that. He reiterated that request for V2, when he gave us his feedback, and we decided that the forcing of the use of lights from the get-go would be a prudent idea. Plus, we could have a bit more leeway with regard to time of the event.

Mike also told me specifically to add more of the B Maintenance Roads. In his view, the B Roads were what made the event special. I had actually wanted to cut them all out for V2, after I saw them in V1, but Mike got me excited to add in this feature, so I kind of went overboard with the idea. I put in something like 14 miles of B Roads in the first 127 miles!

Finally, we had decided to not withhold the time cut off information until the start, like we did in V1, which was not very well accepted. This time we announced the time cut off to Algona and Decorah well in advance. There was no arguing or dissension this time!

V2 also set the precedent of having a different course every year. We had decided that if we had run the same course again, the cue sheets and having those be a secret would not work. Riders would be knowing exactly where they would be going, plotting strategies, and again, would be able to figure out ways to cheat, if they wanted to. We liked the mental aspect that navigating a course by cues forced upon the riders, so it was that I was digging into maps again and looking at doing recon for T.I.V2 before 2005 had ended.

Next week- Some remembrances from Recon.....

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