|The V4 website header
I was so concerned that I drove a major portion of the beginning of T.I.v4 backwards going to Decorah to verify that we could even put on the event. I did just over 100 miles of gravel recon and only the low water crossing of the Turkey River was impassable. I did a quick recon of a reroute and had a plan in place to re-route riders using ribbon and lathe sticks. This was learned from the Dirty Kanza 200, and I still use this same re-route procedure to this day for Trans Iowa.
|A stray calf from the last recon of the v4 course.
I was very close to getting to Decorah when I suddenly was stopped in my tracks by a calf standing in the road. It just stood there, gazing at me, so I took a picture of the little critter and then it finally decided to bound off the road and out of my way. Little did I know this would become an enduring image of Trans Iowa in the future.
I got to Decorah by mid-afternoon and I was told to make sure I saw the cook at T Bock's so I could "approve the sauce". Yeah......that was weird! I sat down as the cook was fetched and she came out with two pots of steaming tomato sauce for our spaghetti meal that night. I test tasted them, heard all her worrying about the sauces not being good enough for us, and gave her my hearty approval for both. She left, a little less stressed and relieved somewhat. I was wondering who she thought I was and what Trans Iowa folks were like. Maybe someone had told her we were tough customers, I don't know, but all the fuss and attention was flattering and totally unnecessary, I thought.
|Me standing, David Pals to my right, Steve Fuller to my left.
The main thing I recall about this particular meeting was that I met a lot of people that were to become dear friends and acquaintances of mine. The Slender Fungus guys, Steve Fuller, John Gorilla, Charlie Farrow, some more of the Lincoln Nebraska group I hadn't met before, and others. In a lot of ways, T.I.v4 was a starting point. Between this and T.I.v3, a lot of new people were added to my life, and I am a much better person for all of that.
A couple of things are brought to mind by this last image here. First, you might notice the limestone chunk on the table. That was David Pals' idea. He figured Trans Iowa should have a proper trophy and he carved out the letters on the block which would be presented to the winner. Secondly, Steve Fuller was a volunteer that year, and he showed up with a lap top and spread sheets with all sorts of digital organization. Trans Iowa was looking a bit more professional this go round for sure!
Well, as I recall the pre-race went really smoothly. The riders didn't question the re-route procedure, so I figured we were good to go. I went to the motel with a howling wind and temperatures that were dropping rapidly. I was okay with it though, hoping the wind would dry things off for us.
Tomorrow: The chilling start to T.I.v4