Sunday, November 01, 2020

Trans Iowa Stories: Planning For A Big Exit - Part 2

Kevin Wilson printed these up for v6 but we gave them away up until the last Trans Iowa.
 The planning for, what I was hoping would be the last, Trans Iowa- v10- was a big endeavor. The thing was complex as I had a lot of moving pieces to deal with that I typically would have eschewed for any other Trans Iowa. Things like deciding what hats to get and where to have t-shirts done at. Getting quotes on costs and delivery times. Having so many sponsors and prizing streams was another point of difficulty which needed coordination and logistical planning. This, to be honest, was enough that another person probably should have been brought on for all the sponsorship and schwag arms of this event. Oh, yeah......there was also this clinic thing as well.

I decided to do a "Trans Iowa Clinic". This was a presentation from a few Trans Iowa finishers that was to be a definitive class on what to expect at Trans Iowa and what to do to be successful at it. I had a promise of a room from Sam Auen at his restaurant which he ran at the time in Des Moines. The clinic happened early in December of 2013, before the next Trans Iowa, so that riders who could attend could benefit from the knowledge dump. 

And that made people upset. They wanted it put up on You Tube or shared on the internet somehow. Keep in mind, this was 2013 and that sort of thing was not cheap to do in a good way back then. Obviously, Trans Iowa never had much funding, so I did what I could and let those folks who got bent about things be bent. That said, it was always a constant thorn in my side while I produced Trans Iowa. Folks seemed to think it was some "big time" thing with a budget, I guess. Then there were others, folks who sat in their offices and homes who never ever ventured out to Iowa, or even contacted me, that said Trans Iowa was simply a joke. A "not a race" race that was stupid and shouldn't even get the little bit of attention that it did get. So there was that as well. Voices. Hard to ignore them, but I did my best to do just that when it was beyond my sphere of concerns that I could do anything about. 

A selection of prizing offered by Wheel Werks, a shop in Illinois. Image by Jay Barre of the Slender Fungus

 But it didn't uplift me, those negative voices, and it was a hurtful thing that I tried to ignore. One more straw on the camel's back, as it were. I kept my focus on getting v10 to be as big a celebration of the riders and the event as I could with what I had to work with. And there were contributions aplenty as well. I've mentioned these some before, but here is a list of folks and companies that pitched in for v10 that really helped me make this version the celebration of ten years that I was wanting. Plus, it would have made a great 'last Trans Iowa'. But obviously, it wasn't that. Anyway....the list!

  • Wheel Werks/Jay Barre
  • Slender Fungus/Surly Bikes
  • Lederman Bail Bonds/Josh Lederman
  • Ergon/Jeff Kerkove
  • Velocity U.S.A
  • Pedal of Littleton
  • HED Wheels
  • Shimano
  • Michelin
  • Oakley
  • Hammer Nutrition
  • WTB (Nano 40 tires) 
  • Sam Auen (Trans Iowa Clinic)
  • Brian Bottke (Coordinated t-shirt production and hat production)
  • Bikes To You/Craig Cooper
  • Grinnell Chamber of Commerce/Rachael Kinnick
  • Grinnell Steakhouse (Pre-Race Meat-Up)
  • The Barn (Rob Versteegh)
  • The Studio at 46 West/ Wally Kilburg, George Keslin (photography)
  • Mountain Bike Radio (Trans Iowa Radio host) 
  • Europa Cycle and Ski (gas money)

Members of the Slender Fungus and volunteer crew help with putting out prizing just before T.I.v10's Pre-Race Meat-Up at The Grinnell Steakhouse

 That doesn't include some behind the scenes folks like Jeremy Fry, many volunteers, and others who pitched in where necessary. Trans Iowa v10 was definitely one of the more difficult ones to put together, but as I have said- I planned on it being the last one. So draining myself of every last drop of effort to make it as good as possible was okay with me. It wasn't going to happen again, so I was prepared to leave it all on the table. 

In fact, I may have overdone things a bit. There was so much schwag that there were leftovers! I ended up giving away not just a few things the following year at T.I.v11. So, I guess I did well on getting this v10 thing to be a 'big deal'. I said it back then, and I think it remained for all time, it was the best haul of prizing and the best representative of support that I ever enjoyed for the event. 

I still am pretty amazed that I got all that pulled together with all the amazing help I received and support from brands and companies. I am really proud of that particular aspect of my tenure at the helm of Trans Iowa. We did it without an entry fee, with no insurance, and with no big production. A seemingly simple event with a lot of complex moving parts. Again, thanks to all those who helped. I understand it wasn't 'just Guitar Ted' who pulled this all off. A team effort for sure, and I was glad to be a part of it. 

Next: I get into some stories from the event itself.


S.Fuller said...

Anyone that thought that Trans Iowa was a joke obviously the kind of person that would consider putting in the work to prepare for it, or even show up at the start line. So sorry to see you had to put up with these kinds of things. It boggles my mind...

Ben said...

No first-hand experience at it Steve, but I would echo your sentiments since I get exhausted just reading the stories about it : )

Guitar Ted said...

@Ben- Sorry. Ya gotta figure I'm going to have a LOT to say about Trans Iowa though. You can always choose to tune out.......

Ari said...

It was always an honor to help and volunteer at TransIowa.
Slender Fungus Cycling Association