Sunday, September 08, 2019

Trans Iowa Stories:The Media - Part 1

I was contacted by the author of this book previous to T.I.v3
 "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 story of Trans Iowa, up through v2, had largely been an underground one. Told only through the blogs of Jeff Kerkove, Guitar Ted, and what little folks shared on's Endurance Forum. Other well known endurance athletes had written blogs back in the day, but not many had a story about Trans Iowa.

As I recall, our local newspaper did a story about Trans Iowa before it happened, (so no real meat to it), and there was a bit in "Silent Sports Magazine" after v1, but distribution of that periodical was limited. The only folks that really knew anything about Trans Iowa were already connected into it, or knew someone who was, and that was a really small circle in reality.

As far as media was concerned, Jeff hatched a plan to contact local media outlets along the T.I.v1 route, but after getting no responses at all after his initial push, he pretty much gave up on that. Plus, we were beginning to think that having little to no one "official" having any knowledge about Trans Iowa was a good thing. Jeff and I then kind of took the "underground, under the radar" banner and flew it with pride. I basically was all onboard with all of that in the beginning. Seeking out media wasn't going to happen, and furthermore, we didn't need or want the attention it might bring. The less people that knew about what we were up to, the better.

Little did we know that this attitude was right up the alley of what author Zach Dundas was looking for as he was researching "underground" sporting events for an upcoming book he was to write. Mr. Dundas lived at that time in Portland, Oregon, and he happened to run across Ira Ryan, winner of v1, and who was seriously contemplating another attempt at Trans Iowa. He mentioned Trans Iowa to Zach, the wheels started turning, and I got an e-mail about a possibility of "shadowing" me during Trans Iowa v3.

Of course, I didn't know Zach, and "shadowing me" during a Trans Iowa? What fun could that possibly be? Keeping in mind that my only experiences doing the event on the weekends it had happened were anything but noteworthy. I spent a LOT of time alone, with absolutely nothing going on. The idea, to my way of thinking, was preposterous. I had already denied two requests from photographers to shadow Trans Iowa v3, and so I was having no problems dissing some weird author dude from Portland.

Besides that, all organizational details of the event were on me. Jeff was around a bit during the announcement for V3 up through Winter of '06, but he definitely wasn't up for recon, and besides helping me with decisions early on about registration, he was too busy with Ergon to deal with Trans Iowa anymore. This put me into a situation where, more and more, I was putting on Trans Iowa alone. That was stressing me out, and outside "distractions" were not anything I wanted, or that I needed.

But despite all of that, two things pushed through. One was that the Lincoln Crew had a guy that they knew by the name of David Story who was a photographer and a cyclist. Upon their recommendation I allowed him to follow the route, but I wanted him to be "invisible" as far as the participants were concerned. The second was Zach Dundas. He was not to be denied. Through persistence and very careful diplomatic relations, he managed to sway me into thinking this might actually be a fun deal. So, arrangements were made and that was that.
The image that became the T.I.v4 page header. Image by David Story

I'll have more to say about these two media folks and others in further editions of the "Trans Iowa Stories" series, but what I will say now is that in both cases- David Story's images and Zach Dundas' eventual write up- that the experiences and end products were pinnacles of their respective art forms in regard to Trans Iowa's history. No one covered T.I. the way these two folks did, nor any better, really.

Unfortunately, little of the hundreds of T.I.v3 images that David Story took are up anymore. (Last I checked his site, there were but a handful viewable)  but they covered T.I.v3 from stem to stern and had viewpoints that no other photographer of Trans Iowa- or of any gravel event I've seen photographed- has attempted. Cinematic in nature, David Story's images were timeless. Much like Jeff the year before, David had a knack for seeing the little things that riders were feeling and experiencing and took note. He caught moments as no other has since, and I was blown away.

Of course, Zach Dundas' "Renegade Sportsman" chapter on Trans Iowa v3 is epic. It really captured the essence of the event that year, and it really captured me. I am totally transported back to that weekend when I read that chapter. Thanks to Mr. Dundas' writing skills, I have a detailed snapshot of how I experienced Trans Iowa v3 which I never would have gotten any other way. No one else has ever told a story as well about Trans Iowa, in my opinion.

Next: The Downsides

1 comment:

Rydn9ers said...

Had no idea that this book existed, snagged one off of Amazon for the hefty price of $3.99. Should be here next week, can't wait to crack in open and delve into T.I.3.