|(L-R) Todd Scott, Mike Curiak, Joe Partridge, Steve Fassibinder at T.I.v1|
Every once in a while a new tidbit of information reaches me concerning Trans Iowa. Perhaps because the traditional date for the series is fast approaching, old participants of the event are finding new things to share with me.
As an example, this coming Sunday's "Trans Iowa Series" post has two new images shared with me last week by Ari Andonopoulous. Now, just yesterday, I got tagged on a post on Facebook by former Trans Iowa finisher Joe Partridge. Joe was one of the nine riders (not those Nine Riders) who finished the very first Trans Iowa, he riding a single speed.
In the image here, which I grabbed from Joe's Facebook page, he is sitting second wheel in a four-up group. This group was near the lead throughout the event. The group is representative of some of the top names in endurance racing in 2005. Up front is Steve "Dr. Doom" Fassibinder, then Joe, behind Joe is the legend Mike Curiak, and following in fourth is Todd Scott, who had done several 24hr events, the Leadville 100, and the Iditasport event on his bike. Todd was one who also finished this event.
While there were two stalwart, very experienced endurance racers in this group, they did not prevail. Todd and Joe weren't slouches, by any stretch, but it was cool to see that they made it through despite the fact that the 'big guys' did not. In fact, it was in part that many of these well known racers did not finish that Trans Iowa instantly became something of a byword amongst the endurance racing crowd. The fact the no one finished the following year, at T.I.v2, just further cemented that notorious air about the event.
Back in 2005, no one had ever heard of a 'gravel bike'. It was either a flat bar or drop bar bike and most folks were split into the cyclo cross camp or they were in the mountain bike group. Of course, 26" wheels still ruled the day in terms of MTB, but Trans Iowa v1 had a lot of 29 inch wheeled bikes and you can see those represented in the group shot above. Todd was on a 26"er, if I recall correctly.
I will always point to this event, the first Trans Iowa, as being the first 'modern day' gravel event. Sure- there were other bicycle races held on gravel, or partially on gravel courses, but none of those kicked off what we know today as the 'gravel segment' of cycling. This was the event that started this whole thing rolling that you know today as Gravel®. These four guys, and others who attended, were the pioneers of that movement. I think it is just amazing that I was there and saw it start. That I got to be a small part of this is so humbling. Just a really cool experience.
Anyway, thanks to Joe Partridge for this great shot that I had never seen before until yesterday.