Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #22

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....

A bucolic scene from the recon of T.I.v5's course
 During the planning and running of Trans Iowa v4, David Pals and I talked some about the concept of Trans Iowa now that it had gone to a loop course. It could be done anywhere within Iowa, so why not move it around? It was an intriguing idea, but there were some reasons why I wasn't quite ready to move on just yet.

For one thing, I had a few ideas I had yet to explore for routes up that way. Secondly, I liked Decorah, (still do), a lot, and finally, I have a tendency to stick to things as long as they are good to me. Decorah had been nothing but awesome to me/Trans Iowa all along since day one. Sure- there were some reprimands and tough learning to be taken in along with the growing pains of Trans Iowa, but Decorah, and its people were good to me and the event.

However; that all changed in a day in the Summer of 2008. Suffice it to say that a number of events that year were affected negatively by the weather. An event I was roped into putting on, organizing it mostly by myself, was part of that. It was the "Big Wheeled Ballyhoo". A celebration of 29"ers, company demos, and hooliganism that had its first edition the year before in Decorah. I was assisted in that endeavor by the guy I was working for at Twenty Nine Inches at the time, but for the 2nd edition, he bailed out on me and stuck me with making all the decisions concerning it. Not what I wanted.

Anyway, the crux of this story is that I was put upon to call off the event, or not, due to flooding, possible trail damage, and no camping area available for attendees or a solid answer on where the demo trucks could go. It was getting right down to it. On one hand I had Decorah folks giving me some conflicting info and on the other hand I had vendors wanting to know if they should bother to make the trip or not. I decided to just make the safe decision and I called off the event.

Decorah folks said they would ride anyway, and actually, by the date of the cancelled event, it was beautiful. Go figure. Well, I went up for the entire afternoon and saw no one there that was supposed to be riding. I wrote about it on my blog, and suddenly, a very upset Decorah person with major ties and influence in the cycling community there was assailing me with e-mails and ended by saying, "........please do not consider Decorah for any future events."

Have a seat! More strangeness on the T.I.v5 route during recon
Well, I was a bit shook up by that. I shared it with David and he suggested we give them what they asked for and frankly, I agreed. There wasn't anything I could have changed about what had happened, I didn't feel like I/we had done anything wrong,  and I didn't feel that I, or Trans Iowa, needed to poke a stick at any sore feelings anymore by coming back to Decorah, so we moved on, but where to go?

David suggested we go south to Williamsburg, an area he was very familiar with. He said there were some really cool roads down  that way, so I agreed to look at that.

Looking back, Trans Iowa v4 was a transitional period for Trans Iowa. The last one having anything to do with Decorah, the first that had two checkpoints, and the beginnings of many friendships and the end of some other relationships. Things done at Trans Iowa v4 were the skeletons of ideas fleshed out in years to come. It was the first Trans Iowa that had a winner other than Ira Ryan!

Beginning with Trans Iowa v3 and ending with the final cutting of the cord with Decorah after T.I.v4, I felt like Trans Iowa became the event I had adopted as my responsibility alone. There was no more Jeff Kerkove, no Mike Curiak, and no more Decorah influences. Decisions on Trans Iowa going forward were all going to have to go through me. Yes- I had help and welcomed help, but in the end, it was here at this point that I recall feeling responsible for everything  about Trans Iowa.

Next: Changes......

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