Sunday, April 18, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories: A Moment Of Reflection

Downtown Grinnell on a morning we were doing recon of a T.I. course.
 "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 clicking on the "Trans Iowa Stories" link under the blog header. Thanks and enjoy! 

 As I get into the last three Trans Iowa events and their stories, I come upon a time, (as I write this in 2021) that wasn't so long ago. The memories are still pretty fresh, and I have more resources to fall back on to dig up stories about T.I.v12, v13, and the final version of Trans Iowa. Heck, I even noticed I have many of the text messages I received on my phone from v12-v14. Why? I don't know. I guess I never thought to delete them and they got pushed down the list so far I just forgot about them. 

But when I noted that I still had that resource, and after some research into T.I.v12, I realized that this was an era of Trans Iowa which happened not all that long ago. I think that maybe many of you still remember a lot of things about those last few Trans Iowa events also. There are tons of social media posts, lots more people were posting things Trans Iowa related back then, and so many have stories cemented in their minds concerning these last Trans Iowa events. What stories could I possibly have that have not already been splashed all over the internet? 

Well, there are a few things not many people ever knew happened. There are some things that I went through that I have not yet fully plumbed the depths of. There are a lot of things you all do not know about the final version of Trans Iowa. There are a few things you maybe never heard about which concerned Trans Iowa and how Iowa Wind and Rock are related. Those things are stories I wanted to get to. 

Another thing which I have already alluded to that really changed the dynamic of the event was the advancements in technology. Particularly the 'smart phone'. GPS data gathering cycling computers being another thing which really came to bear on the event. I may do an entire post about that facet of technology as it affected Trans Iowa, but for this post, I have just a few notes.

In the early days of Trans Iowa, things were different. Image by Jeff Kerkove
One being how we learned about weather. Back in the early days of the event we could only rely on traditional weather forecasts. We would look at the 'weather channel' on cable, see what the latest was right before we left, and maybe we had a vague idea of what might happen. Surely, anything like a Trans Iowa v11 situation would have been a complete surprise, and in fact, that pretty much was, excepting that I had a few hours of warning. Now? pshaw! You've got hour-by-hour weather data at your fingertips and you can pretty much know without much doubt what is going to happen. And what is more- every rider could avail themselves of that power. 

I think now back on how support people would pull up a GPS generated map with a blinking dot and say something like, "This is my rider. It looks like he is at 370th and I Avenue. How long do you think it will take him to get to Checkpoint #2?" That was several years ago that these things started happening and I was taken aback. Heck, back in the early years you had zero idea where anyone might be! Now? In 2021? That same support person could easily pull up terrain data, gather rider speed data, and extrapolate an estimated time of arrival with no need of a race director. That same person could tell their rider things about other competitors and the course. And in fact, I know that did happen to a degree.

Certainly technology affected the intentions and the feel of the event greatly compared to the earlier days, and there was nothing I could do about it. Trans Iowa was changed and changing at an alarming (to my way of thinking) rate. This also played into my dismay and discouragement in putting on the event towards the end. But I'll get around to telling more about that later. 

So, as we settle in for the last stretch here, things will get maybe a bit more personal. I won't get into the main stories everyone already knows all about concerning those last Trans Iowa events. I guess that was kind of the point all along, but for the past T.I. stories I did get into happenings with the event more than I will now going forward. That is because back in the earlier days of Trans Iowa, not many people were paying attention, and there wasn't much of a 'digital crumb trail' to follow later. Now you can go search "#transiowa" and find all sorts of posts dealing with the latter days of Trans Iowa. Not to mention the recordings on of riders calling in on "Trans Iowa Radio".

Anyway, I just wanted to take a moment to set the table for these last few Trans Iowa events and the posts that will go with them. There will be one more "It's About The People" post, a post or two dealing with the ending of the event, and definitely a post about the immediate aftermath of Trans Iowa events. That's all in addition to the several posts specifically focused on the last three Trans Iowa events- v12, v13, and v14. Then I'll likely do a final epilogue and that should end the series. I am guessing that may be sometime in early 2022. 

Next: Close To Home


graveldoc said...

Reading this post and your digging through old texts and social media posts, that good old Steely Dan song came to mind: Reeling in the years, stowing away the time...

Guitar Ted said...

@graveldoc - Another good one! Thanks!

graveldoc said...

you're welcome! My pleasure!