Sunday, February 23, 2014

Trans Iowa: Ten Years Of Tales #45

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....

 With the end of Trans Iowa V8, I could have walked away and been satisfied knowing that I had done the best job of putting on a Trans Iowa I could have done. Afterward, there wasn't any glaring issues to my mind concerning that. Of course, this precludes any feelings and thoughts I may have had, (and still do), about the friends, riders, and the event itself, which were and still are compelling and strong. I still had lots of support after the event for doing another. Grinnell wanted me back again, Wally and George were up for it again, and Jeremy Fry, a Trans Iowa finisher and volunteer, was up for being a major helper in regards to doing recon and cue sheet checking.

I also had tweaked out the event to the point that a system was in place that was easily repeatable and reliable. Logistical details, formatting, rules, and execution of all of those were things already figured out over the years. No more efforts in thought needed to be put forth, no more extra efforts in materials or physical effort were wasted. So, with that all in mind, doing a version 9 was a lot easier to decide to do than, say a version 4 was, when there were a lot of things that needed to change.

To tip the cycling cap to the two time Trans Iowa winner: CP#1 location.
There were a few minor things to tweak out none the less. I decided to do away with the pesky, frustration of the Waiting List by increasing the field size to 120 folks from 100. Figuring on the "T.I.V3" effect, where we let in 128 and got 64 to show up, I was thinking that the overall final number of riders would still be about the same as ever- that being in the high 50's to high 60's in number.

I also knew that if we did get a higher number of riders that the performances of the volunteers over the past few Trans Iowas was sufficient to handle the flow of riders, especially through checkpoint #1. Volunteers were submitting their services for T.I.v9 as soon as I announced it on August 18th, 2012.

Secondly, the recon was streamlined a lot. Essentially, with the efficiency of having Jeremy involved and with the notations and maps to guide in the physical recon being done ahead of time, as I learned was valuable the previous year, we knocked out the recon in two drives. One in October and one in early December. This was instrumental in allowing for us to recheck actual cue cards ahead of time, and then to do the last physical recon in the Spring of 2013 with Wally and George. They used the actual cue sheets to drive by, which then they judged to be clear, or not, by the way I had them written.

The second recon was marked by fog, a portent of things to come.
The barn proposed as the finish line for V6 was now again going to be used as the finish line for V9. Plans were set in place and the ending of the route tweaked out to reflect this. I was really hoping that the weather would hold up so the riders would actually be able to get there!

A change with Grinnell came along as I discovered that Sheryl Parmely, the person I regard as instrumental in cementing my allegiance to Grinnell and having Trans Iowa based there, had left the Chamber and had been replaced by Rachael Kinnick, so there was a bit of uncertainty there with how things would go with the city.

Trans Iowa Radio was also going to be a bit different for V9. "Mountain Bike Radio" founder, Ben Welnak, offered up his services to make it possible for not only me to call in reports, but for any of the riders to call in and have Ben post the reports, ala Tour Divide, so folks could get access at home to what was going on from several points of view.

But beyond these minor things, I experienced no big road blocks or bumps in the road going into Trans Iowa V9. The obvious uncertainty of what the weather would do was the only real question mark coming into this one.

Next: The running of a record setting Trans Iowa....

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