Sunday, September 22, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories: It Was The Third - But It Was The First

An old iron bridge over the Volga River which I reconned for the Trans Iowa v3 route
"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!

 The Trans Iowa v3 story, from my viewpoint, transitioned Trans Iowa as the event it would be until the end. In that sense, T.I.v3 was the first, or maybe a prototype, of what was to come for the next eleven years for the event, and for me.

Since Jeff was obviously leaving- eventually- I was going to be doing everything on my own by 2007. Well, not quite everything. There was one thing I thought I was going to be getting help with, and that was the cue sheet checking and printing. Now, originally, my understanding was that Jeff and I would run the course to double check the cues before the event. I kept hoping that would happen, but as the event drew nearer, it was increasingly clear that Jeff wasn't going to be able to do that. Then I thought he might actually double check the cues against a map, but he didn't, and he simply printed them, left them to me at the shop, and that was his last direct effort in putting on a Trans Iowa. I did ask him in subsequent years to do the graphics for the header on the site. So, in that way Jeff was a part of Trans Iowa up through T.I.v9, after which I took over the designing of the headers.

Anyway, the cues. Well, I had a "last chance" to check the cues the weekend before Trans Iowa. I didn't get very far. Several miles outside of Decorah, in the rambling hills of Northeast Iowa, I became panicked. I pretty much lost it, because the cues were completely off and unusable. Due to an early mistake which compounded itself further into the cues, the mileages were unreliable and several turns were incorrect. I was going to have to scrap this cue set and start completely from scratch with six days to go before Trans Iowa v3.

I had last minute details to attend to besides this. Prizing, number plates, volunteers, organizing the finish line, detailing events for the pre-race event, post race events, and communicating with racers. Top it all off with Zach Dundas' requests, my family's demands on my time, and working at the bike shop, and well...... How I ever got through that week I haven't a clue.

T.I.v3 complete cue set. (Image courtesy of Cale Wenthur)
First, I rushed home with the correct information in hand and a plan. I rewrote the cues immediately after getting home, and then every evening I stayed up late printing the cues for three straight days. I used a home printer that could do maybe 30 sheets at a crack, and ink cartridges were dying at an alarming rate. I had to go out and buy them two times. Paper was another thing I had to purchase. Then they all had to be cut and bagged by hand with scissors and using sandwich baggies.

I would be up until 1-2am doing this, then getting the cues organized took a bunch of time. Finally, on Thursday, I had that all redone and my family, including my six year old daughter and three year old son, stuffed race bags, and placed everything in boxes and tubs for transport the following day.

It was a big relief to have those cues finished, obviously, but I was also worried to death something later into the course might still be off since I had no chances to recon that against the cue sheets. The other thing was that this cue sheet crisis caused me to worry less about the "other stuff". I just didn't have the time to worry about anything else. But the energy expended to get the extra work done on top of being the only mechanic at the shop during a busy Spring made my wife unhappy. She could see what this event was doing to me, and she didn't particularly like it. Keep in mind that the previous two Trans Iowas were half as much worry and work for me. Now it was all on my shoulders.

Also, interestingly enough, we never made any "big announcements" that Jeff wouldn't be there, or that he was no longer helping to put on the event. We never even thought about doing that. It just evolved and next thing ya know, it's a "Guitar Ted" deal. Jeff? Well, it was as if he had slipped out the back door. Even Zach Dundas, in his excellent write up on Trans Iowa in the book, "The Renegade Sportsman", never brought Jeff's involvement in the event into the story. It was portrayed as if I was the only guy behind it. And at the time of the eve of T.I.v3, that was true.

And I didn't even have time to think about that. I just dove straight in, because what else could I have done? I felt like I had just dodged a huge bullet in getting the cue sheet debacle taken care of, and with no time to catch my breath, I was headed to Decorah to do things I had never done before on my own.

Next: The surreal set up and anger at being stiffed.


blooddoc23 said...

Gosh that sounds super stressful!

Anonymous said...

TIV3 was incredible GT. I loved it and your work paid off. Thank you so much for telling the stories again.

Joseph Frost said...

TI3 was a life changing event for me....I’m sure grateful you pulled it off!!