Sunday, September 28, 2014

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 3- Sayin' It Again

Be Prepared! (Image by A. Andonopoulous)
 Last year I did a historical overview of each Trans Iowa up to T.I.V9. This year I am going to revisit something that I feel many folks have overlooked for a long time; The "Race Rules".

 Last week this series kicked off with the "Golden Rule" which was all about being responsible for yourself. The next rule was probably more or less just restating things in a different way, but has a similar idea behind it to the Golden Rule. Here it is.......
2: The Trans-Iowa Mountain Bike Race is a non-stop, self-supported, solo competition along the gravel roads of rural Iowa. Competitors must carry with them ALL necessary equipment.
So, yeah......the whole self-supported deal again. I'll get to all that in a minute, but first, you may have noted the "Mountain Bike" part in that rule. Here is the story behind that.  Jeff, as I have said, was coming from a mountain bike point of view. We had no real good idea what sort of bike would eventually win out as being "the" choice for riding gravel. We were certain that the pounding of gravel and uncertain conditions regarding the course would call out for a mountain bike. Others were not so sure about that, (which will be discussed in a special rule coming later), and this created no end of hot, passionate debate on the online forum at where we had set up a Trans Iowa thread in the Endurance XC Racing section.

Mountain bikes were the most prevalent in T.I.V1: (L-R: GT, Patrick Humenny, Dave Kerkove)

 Jeff was keen to make this a mountain bike race from the onset. We were always on the lookout for single track opportunities along the route, and this was why we went through Pilot Knob State Park, as I knew there were bridal paths through there we could maybe fit into the route. It also is a big reason why we went to end the event in Decorah. We had high hopes of using some of the excellent trails there for the final miles of Trans Iowa, but that plan was nixed early on, and subsequent Trans Iowas just led us further away from the mountain biking idea altogether. That said, now you know why Jeff wrote that rule with "Mountain Bike" in there.

Now as far as the self-supported part, it was necessary for us to reiterate that there would be no allowance for "help" from outsiders along the route. Of course, there was the single checkpoint in Algona, where riders were going to be allowed to have support from a "crew", ala 24 hour racing. Again- an idea brought in by Jeff. (Ironically, the Dirty Kanza 200 adopted this tactic for their event several years ago, but did not have such a rule to begin with.) It also is noteworthy to remember that Mike Curiak advised against this idea from the onset, being more stringent on the self-support idea than we were at the time.

Finally, you may note the words, "non-stop" in the rule which was underscoring the fact that there would be no time for sleeping. (Yes- we were getting asked about whether that might be allowed or advisable.) More on that facet of Trans Iowa coming later.....

Next Week: Rule #3

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