Saturday, November 02, 2013

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #9

Race sign in for the first Dirty Kanza 200
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....

Trans Iowa V3 had not even been announced yet but an event I took part in earlier in 2006 would have a profound effect upon the subsequent Trans Iowas. That event was the inaugural Dirty Kanza 200 The DK 200 was inspired somewhat by Jeff and I doing the first Trans Iowa, but it was obvious that event promoters Joel Dyke and Jim Cummings had a different take on a big mileage gravel based event. They also had a very cool place to ride in as well! But that's getting off topic here....

The point is, my experiences from that first DK 200 were many and varied, but in terms of Trans Iowa, there were a few specific things which I experienced and observed that would cement the way Trans Iowa was to be for as long as I was going to be involved in it. The first thing was the loop course idea.

Running a big, long course in a loop, instead of point to point, would ease my recon difficulties, make things way easier on the support folks, and would be better for riders, whether they dropped out, (probably would be no further than a 150 miles from the start), or whether they finished. (Obviously, back at the point where they started.) Then there was the course checking and prevention of cheating, which would also be somewhat easier to manage via a loop course. After the Dirty Kanza, I pretty much was convinced that any future Trans Iowa was going to be done as a loop, and I was adamant with Jeff that this would be a smarter way to run the event, and that we should implement the idea, which he agreed to.

Impromptu pizza and beer party @ 1st DK 200 finish
The second thing that cemented itself into my mind from the first DK 200 was the low key, laid back atmosphere of the event itself. It was special because of the camaraderie and social interaction that took place before the event and afterward. To my mind, the "feel" of that first DK 200 event and the way it mixed people together, elbow to elbow, from such varied backgrounds, was special, impactful, and worth pursuing. It's my belief that it could only happen on a smaller scale, which that first DK 200 definitely featured.

More than anything else, I wanted Trans Iowa to continue to have elements of this in it. I've always thought it was the people that made stuff like this special. Bicycle riding is icing on the cake, so to speak. Anything beyond that was superfluous and unnecessary. That's just my opinion, and obviously throngs of cyclists don't feel that way, judging from what the Dirty Kanza and other events like it have become today. But if you've ever wondered why Trans Iowa is weird and perhaps "backwards" in the way it is put on, now you know.

This manifested itself in the "Pre-Race Meat-Up" and how several of the subsequent Trans Iowas had "impromptu  endings" instead of "awards ceremonies" or fancy finish line hoopla. The Barn, which we've been trying to implement into Trans Iowa,  is an extension of this experience as well.

One more thing happened during that time that also would affect the Trans Iowa events to come in a profound way, and that was my trip down and back to the Dirty Kanza with David Pals. He was a veteran of the T.I.V2 event, and had been in contact with me via comments on my blog, at first, and later through e-mail. I didn't know much of anything about him before our trip to participate in that first DK 200, but we did get on rather well. That trip was a springboard for a friendship and collaboration on future Trans Iowas to come, although neither of us knew that back at that time.

Next Week: Life happens.....

1 comment:

Matt Maxwell said...

Good lookin' crew there in that first DK photo.