Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Trans Iowa v13: The Weather Is The Wildcard

Sure looks to be a wet and cold one.
The weather for Trans Iowa is usually a topic of great discussion and cause for consternation amongst those involved in the event at this point every year the last 13 years now. This single factor has such a great influence on this event that besides mental fortitude, it probably is the single most important influencer on how or if anyone can finish in any particular year.

Take last year, for instance. Yes, it takes tough, prepared athletes to finish any Trans Iowa, but I don't think anyone will argue that having a tailwind for the first 160 miles, a clear blue sky, warm temperatures, and a relatively calm, warm night period contributed to the record number of finishers. I also think it is obvious why Trans Iowa v11 had zero finishers with the awful weather that was experienced on that weekend.

So, you might understand why folks wring their hands and over-think their gear and set ups when Trans Iowa gets close and the weather forecasters start to dial in the forecast for the weekend of the event. Especially with how this forecast has been shaping up.

Here's a snippet of what I've been reading about the weather from the Iowa Storm Racing Network: "Despite several periods of rain, the trend for heavy rainfall is shifting to the South and East of Iowa. We should still see periods of moderate rainfall but the threat for heavy rainfall is shifting southeast. Although temperatures will fall into the 30’s, expected cloud cover and winds at 10 to 15 mph should prevent frost from developing over the area."

Last year this was the only mud we saw on Trans Iowa, but the riders didn't see any of it. This year?
 So, it is fairly certain that this year the Level B roads likely will be muddy messes. Ironically, there is a large contingent of Trans Iowa riders that wouldn't have it any other way. They call years with these conditions "real Trans Iowas", or they describe the years that are challenging as the years they wish that they could finish a Trans Iowa.

So, there is that distinct possibility that the weather will cooperate to provide just such a Trans Iowa. Not so difficult that it cannot be done, (v11), but not so......easy?, hmm...... Well, not so T.I.v12, let's say, and that a greater challenge would exist. I am just relating what I see on social media with those comments.

Personally I just want to see everyone come out on the other side safe and with something to take home with them. Whether or not they finish isn't the biggest deal. There is a lot more to it than that, I believe. I'll leave off today's post with a quote sent to me by Jess Rundlett, who does work with the State Historical Society, I believe. Anyway, she sent this from a National Historic Register concerning travel in the days before the great Lincoln Highway crossed Iowa. Jess thought it rang true for Trans Iowa, and I agree. Here it is:

"Traveling over these sorry roads, which were dusty in the summer and quagmires of sucking mud in the spring, was complicated by the fact no one knew where the roads led or whether there was a dead end or a river crossing beyond the next hill."

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