First, a few things you should know. I purposefully stayed away from any contact with the event and stayed away from even paying any attention to it, for the most part, on their first run in 2019. Then last year was, well, last year. I was down there as a volunteer for the Spotted Horse, which was run on the same weekend as the postponed IWAR, but I did not show my face around the event headquarters nor made any attempt to associate myself with IWAR. (Iowa Wind And Rock) I'll let my "Trans Iowa Stories" tell you why all that is, so this post won't say anything about that story. Stay tuned......
Nothing 'bad blood' about that, or even negative, so you conspiracy theorists and speculators can stuff that. You'll just have to wait for my reasons for why I stayed away. But this year, I decided being a spectator from afar would be okay. So, off and on all weekend I checked in with the proceedings. Here are a few thoughts from my, admittedly very unique, perspective.
IWAR does the event pretty much how I used to do things, but of course, it is a different event. It's their baby down there, so any differences are to be expected. I'm sure they put their own spin and flavor on things. But from what I can tell, the bones of the event are pretty similar. Okay, so from that standpoint, I was able to make some observations on the event as it unfolded.
We knew there would be Level B Maintenance roads and from watching the weather, it was obvious that some amount of precipitation had fallen over the area of their course not long before, or perhaps during, the start. That meant some wet dirt and we all know what that can do. It can destroy stuff, and it did in this case. I guess it is a bit odd, in some ways, from an outsider's view, as to why anyone would fall victim to the eventuality of destruction when dealing with Level B muck, but you kind of have to have been there. Some folks can actually ride these roads and get away with it while sometimes you can be super careful and still get bitten. It's not as cut-and-dried as it might seem. Anyway, I was not at all surprised to see that many of the riders had a shortened day due to the conditions.
Then races like this get very strung out and IWAR was no exception. A small lead group formed and was whittled down as the day-night-day progressed. I watched and saw times given by the IWAR organizers on social media, along with mileages. I've done the math so much in my head that I could see long before the end that finishers would likely be coming in between 8:00am and 9:00am, given the weather. Of course, I didn't know the course, but I know the pace of these types of events gets slower as the event wears on.
You also get a few that miss checkpoint cut-offs and IWAR has two you have to make on time. I was impressed by a few mentions of drop outs at the CP#2 spot, as that was how things often went at Trans Iowa. People would get there and figure that was enough fun for one day. Interestingly, almost every time people left CP#2, more often than not they finished. Sure, I had exceptions to that rule, like if folks barely made the cut-off. But it seems like if riders get CP#2 under their belt, can ride past 4:00am, and see a hint of the Sun rising in the East, it's a done deal. It then just becomes a matter of will. I seem to get the feeling IWAR was similar in that way this year. (And that's a LOT easier said than done, by the way!)
So, I was happy for the Relentless Adventures team and for the riders. It seemed like a great event. It seemed to have been done very well, from where I sat, anyway. Not that it matters a whit what I think for their success. It doesn't, they have made their own reputation. But I was pleased to see it all went off well. I wish for nothing but the best for the riders and the organizers there. Congratulations to all who took part in the 2021 IWAR! Well done!
And that's my thoughts on that...............