Sunday, August 25, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories: Tales Of v2 Part 3

If you look carefully, you can see riders on the left in the ditch. Image by Jeff Kerkove
 "Trans Iowa Stories" is an every Sunday post which helps tell the stories behind the event. You can check out other posts about this subject by going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

Well, Trans Iowa v2 was the event that set the tone for Trans Iowa for several years afterward. It took until v11 until the legend of this event was eclipsed. Some versions came close, but T.I.v2 was one for the ages.

My experience is pretty much a remembrance of a few key things during the event. First off, I can not recall that the start was that big of a deal. Yes- it was the first 4:00am start, but riders were especially nervous, quiet, and hoping the mist that was falling wouldn't break out into a full on rain. Which, by the way, it would not have made any difference at all if it had not rained. The damage was done already.

But back to the start. We rolled out and this being my first rodeo with a nighttime start, I found that I was immediately into that "alone zone" which I had experienced the year before, only this was right out of the gate. I couldn't see anything but what was illuminated by my headlights. I ran across a couple of "support people" on the route. One was Majiec Nowak who was looking for his brother, Marcin. Apparently he had already called in for pick-up and the Sun hadn't come up yet! My next encounter was with the father of another racer, Joe Partridge. It didn't look good for Joe to make it in v2 as he had the year before. This deal with cars on course was going to have to be dealt with.

The first Level B Road was cause for excitement for Jeff and I. We both rendezvoused at the beginning of that section where we saw about 12-20 guys rolling in a group all head right into the muck head on. Many expletives were expressed! Then I went to the other side of that mess to time how long it might take for riders to ride through it all.

The Level B Roads killed everyone's ability to reach the cutoff time point in Algona. Image by Jeff Kerkove.
 Well, I was floored by how long it took. I never dreamed they would be walking a whole mile! This was bad, bad, bad! I had a gut feeling things were not going to go well for me that day. I assumed wholeheartedly that I would be dealing with very angry racers and maybe I would even get punched out. Seriously! I was totally ready to take a LOT of abuse for this course choice. However; as bad as it was, that fear never materialized. For years afterward I would always joke that someday someone would punch me in the face for the courses I dreamt up, and this is where that saying came from.

Unlike v1, Jeff was there and his blogging skills were such that he snapped a lot of great, iconic Trans Iowa images that day. If you have a particular image in mind from this event, chances are Jeff shot it. By this time I had a digital camera as well, but I did not get as many images as Jeff did that day, nor any as iconic as those he got. Of course, Jeff was familiar with what it took to do an ultra-endurance effort, so he kind of knew what to look for in an image.

Jesse LaLonde, staring blankly at a piece of pizza covered in Cheetos, at a convenience store in Sutherland Iowa. Image by Jeff Kerkove.
Well, there was the Paulina convenience store, where the lead group was still hoping against hope to somehow claw back enough time to get to Algona in time. It was full on raining by this point. Most of the field had, by this point, dropped out. This was what was left of T.I.v2- about ten to twelve riders.

Then the interminably long wait at the end of a three mile stretch of Level B's just terminating North of Sutherland, Iowa. This was where Trans Iowa v2 ended for most everyone else that hadn't dropped out by then. The convenience store in town was the focal point for the decision to quit for most. Most - other than two riders from Canada who carried on until about 5:00pm. Dallas Sigurdur and Lindsay Gauld were the two who went the furthest, reaching Mallard, Iowa and then holing up in a bar until they were picked up by their fellow Canadian, Patrick Humenney.

Well, that was that. Afterward, Jeff made a couple of You Tube edits featuring the end of the last mess of Level B's and then another with his van following Sigurdur and Gauld up the hill out of Wanata State Park on 125th South out of Petersen, Iowa. That last edit was a haunting one showing the windshield wipers on delay and the two riders slowly clawing their way up to the sounds of "The Verve's" Bittersweet Symphony. I must have watched that clip a thousand times. (It was pulled down eventually due to copyright issues, of course) Anyway, I can clearly see that clip every time I hear that melody.
A rider picked up a "souvenir" along the road during Trans Iowa v2. Image by Jeff Kerkove.

Jeff had a way with media and that was clearly evident in his handling of the Trans Iowa v2 imagery. He clearly made an impact afterward upon several folks with what he produced, and of course, the tales coming out of that event were legendary. The event no one could finish! It was too odd that this was happening in Iowa of all places. I know that it raised some eyebrows, and going forward, Trans Iowa had a certain "something-something" which struck fear and awe into the minds of those who tried to comprehend what we were up to.

In many ways, because we had set such a course for a gravel event, it made others do things very differently, and others were starting to offer alternatives to Trans Iowa, (and by association, Dirty Kanza), which weren't so daunting, but still were gravel based and free from restrictions set by the ways things had been done in the past. But that is a different story. This is about Trans Iowa.

Next: Trans Iowa v3 - Moving On.


Rydn9ers said...

Love this post, this is what I was hoping for when you said you were going to post up these tales. Those of us who weren't there are never had even heard of T.I. when this was happening can almost feel what it must have been like to be there.

Guitar Ted said...

@Rydn9ers- Thanks! The series seems to be gathering fans. I have heard from a couple of other folks who have thought this was turning out well. I appreciate yours- and everyone else's- comments.

Michael Lemberger said...

The first I had ever heard about Trans Iowa was at Triple D—Lance Andre told us the story of hitting that first B road at V2. That was a big part of how I got mixed up in this whole thing ;-)