Sunday, September 15, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories: The Transition Phase

 "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!

Thinking back on what Trans Iowa v3 was about for me has been a discovery process in many ways. To my way of thinking, the event was split into two distinct parts. The first part was where I was still in collaboration with Jeff. There was the friendly banter, the ideas being shared, and a sense of excitement and camaraderie which I found immensely satisfying. Then there was a second part to T.I.v3.

This was the part where I felt like I had been abandoned, left with the responsibilities of finishing an event which I had thought that I would be getting a lot of support from on Jeff's end. Jeff, of course, had a dream of escaping Iowa, going to the mountains, and becoming the mountain biker he had been wanting to be since his childhood. He was young, he had his immediate family here, and besides Trans Iowa, he had nothing holding him back.

So, he found out Ergon was looking to hire a few folks in the U.S. to set up their operations here and expand into the North American market. Jeff was highly recruited. He got flown to Ergon's headquarters in Germany in late '06. He met several of their top officials. More and more it was becoming obvious that Jeff would be the one heading up Ergon's offices in Colorado. So, of course Jeff had to leave everything behind if he was to pursue this dream. I know it was hard for him to just leave his friends, family, and Trans Iowa. But one thing kind of sealed the deal in 2006.

It was Summer, we were busy at the bike shop, and our boss/owner was "on the schedule" to be helping out. We had a ton of repairs to do. Someone walked into the shop, and there was not any sign from the office that our boss was going to budge. This was typical behavior, by the way, and it persisted to the last day that shop was open. Anyway, Jeff finally walked around the corner of the shop, glanced at our boss just sitting there not doing anything, and said, "That's it!", in an angered voice and went out to help the customer.

And that was "it". It was the straw that broke the proverbial camel's back. Jeff told me later that was the very moment he cemented into his mind that he would be leaving Iowa. And to be honest, it was the best decision he ever made at the time. He's gone on to realize the life he always dreamed of back then, and the fruits of his labors have been many and great. I was, and still am, very happy for him.

So, I was never bitter about his leaving me all this stuff to see through to its conclusion. I wasn't necessarily happy about it,(especially in regard to my boss, whom I blamed partially for this), and I felt really overwhelmed by it all. Two years prior I was simply a mechanic, with zero experience in putting on an event. Now, besides all of Trans Iowa's duties, I was also being recruited into doing reviews online. Jeff actually strongly encouraged this. He was keen on seeing me "get out of there" as much as he was keen on leaving. So, again- I had nothing but respect and happiness for Jeff's situation at the time. He deserved everything he has gotten.

But this was really getting to be a stressful deal, this whole organizational gig, and I didn't like the "stretching" it was causing. Sleepless nights, worry, trying to put out fires while more kept popping up. I had firmly decided that Trans Iowa v3 should be the last one. I'd follow through with what Jeff had started, but I wasn't about to continue onward without him. I felt the spirit of his endurance racing ideals, the influences of his friends and acquaintances who helped us out, they were all due to his presence. The influence of Jeff was what Trans Iowa was and what it needed. Me? Who was I to keep the wheel turning?

Next: Stories of v3

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