Sunday, January 26, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #32

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....

Another awesome T.I. header by Jeff Kerkove
 Trans Iowa v5 had just concluded and already another Trans Iowa had been decided upon, but where would v6 be? I knew as well as David did that there was no way we were coming back to Williamsburg for anything. That ship had sailed before T.I.v5 had even begun. So, where should we go?

David had memories of his father living on a farm near Grinnell and had been around that area plenty of times. He liked the city as well, so I agreed that maybe it would be a good city to look into for a Trans Iowa start/finish town. We didn't get anywhere with planning until Fall though, and as we had not really thought of anything beyond the Grinnell choice, we headed over that direction to check things out. Some route ideas were punted around, and we decided a visit to Grinnell proper might be in order. One other thing helped solidify that, which was an offer to have the finish line in a barn just outside of Grinnell. Hmm......things sounded interesting, but we were not sold on going to Grinnell just yet.

A look from the new T.I. vehicle: The Truck With No Name
That all changed on a November day. I had spoken with Craig "Coop" Cooper of Bikes To You, a Grinnell bicycle shop, and he was giving me some low down on Grinnell, the surrounding area, and asked me to come check it out with David. Oakley rep and Coop's good friend, Rob Versteegh was there, and another key individual, who basically is the reason Trans Iowa has stayed in Grinnell to this very day.

The story went something like this: We were in Coop's shop batting all sorts of super rad ideas around. Finish line in a barn, starting line right outside of Coop's shop, and he would become our "official bike shop" too. Course ideas were shared which got David and I really excited, but we'd need a place for the pre-race meeting, and what about lodging? Coop thought for a minute and called someone at the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce. He said a woman would be coming down, would we be there for a bit? I said yeah, probably, (thinking it better not be over an hour wait), and within about ten minutes, here was a lady with a pen and paper in hand, asking "Okay, what do you need?" I was rather taken aback, but we laid out our desires. She said she would get back to me on those questions and took down my contact info.

Now, you know how these things can go. Trans Iowa is admittedly odd, and most non-cycling folks would be a bit skeptical of anything so outlandish, I would think. I didn't expect an answer to come for awhile, but I also was already very impressed with our opportunities in Grinnell. However; when I got home, I saw an e-mail already from Mrs Parmely of the Grinnell Chamber of Commerce. I figured it was just a thank you. Well, it was that, and a heck of a lot more, which blew me away.

She already had a motel deal lined up, and options for two host sites for the pre-race meal, and was planning on submitting a request to subsidize the meals through the Grinnell Tourism Council, plus she was going to "clear the event" with the City of Grinnell. Wha......?!!!

Okay, so we went from getting summarily snubbed in Williamsburg to being swept off our feet by the folks in Grinnell. Yeah.......this was a no-brainer! 

Next: Difficulties.......

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