Sunday, May 09, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories: Making Note Of Some Interesting Things

From the recon of the T.I.v12 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 going back to earlier Sunday posts on this blog. Thanks and enjoy!

Running up to the 12th Trans Iowa event, there are a few interesting things which occurred which have impacted Trans Iowa, and more importantly, my life, even past Trans Iowa. Of course, I had no idea that these things would end up becoming such a big deal later on, but as they say, "Hindsight is 20-20." So with that I will get into a few things here which ended up becoming important parts to my story and Trans Iowa's history. 

In a foreshadowing of the future, Sarah Cooper, who had recently found gravel events in 2015 and was winning in some of her efforts, also was bitten by the idea of putting on her own event. In 2016 it was revealed that there would be a 200 mile/150 mile event in the Fall called the "Spotted Horse Gravel Ultra". Sarah seemed to use influences from Trans Iowa and a few other grassroots events to formulate her idea of what a gravel event could be. I was pretty stoked on this idea of hers, to be honest, and I actually signed up to ride in the first one. However; an eleventh hour organization of a Fargo Reunion Ride which was going to have my brother in Life, Matt Gersib, my good friend Ben Witt, Jason Boucher, and others involved, changed my plans. It was a once in a lifetime gig and I ended up bailing on the Spotted Horse deal. 

Sarah Cooper's Spotted Horse logo.
But the bigger point in all this was that Sarah Cooper stepped into event promoting, and eventually that led to her, along with some other Trans Iowa related people, putting on the "Iowa Wind & Rock" event later on. There is a lot more to that facet of the story, but that will have to wait until I get into the final chapters of this tale. 

Another turn of events which directly impacted Trans Iowa v12 and my future was when, in 2015, my employer at the time hired a young man by the name of Andy Tetmeyer. He was an ambitious fellow with a gregarious character and was full of ideas. As we worked together it was easy to become friends with Andy and we seemed to hit it off well right away. I noticed Andy was a good sales person and got along with many types of people, so when he offered to be a volunteer for Trans Iowa, I gladly accepted his offer. 

Andy's participation in T.I.v12 will be covered later, but another facet of his working where I did had a big effect upon my later life. Andy's ultimate ambition was to own his own bicycle shop, so I kept close tabs on him after I learned this. By 2015 I had been ready to move on from my job where I had been for a long time. Trouble was that there was no where to go in the area. Bicycle mechanics may have been, and may still be, in short supply in many places, but where I live? Not so much. At that time there were three viable shops and everyone had the personnel they needed. So, I was biding my time, waiting for a good opportunity to arise. Andy seemed like he may present that opportunity at that time. And as we all know now, that all worked out later. 

A family issue with the folks involved in the property where "The Barn" sat raised its head along about the early part of T.I.v12's production. This caused me to take stock in where the route might end. While there was hope held out that the Barn may still be available, I decided to not place any bets on 'hope' and that controlling my own destiny, in terms of where the event would end, was my best course of action. This is why T.I.v10 was the last time we ended at The Barn. Trans Iowa v11 was to end there, but, of course, that didn't happen for the obvious reasons of the weather that weekend of T.I.v11.  

So, I chose to find out if we could plug the route into the West end of Grinnell somehow. I did not really want to end the event at the intersection of 8th and Bliss, as we had for T.I.v7 and v8. That wasn't going to work with my route, but a cemetery on that end of town did. This choice also left the option of using The Barn, should that chance present itself, since I routed right by it. However; I wasn't going to bank on that chance, and as we all know now, that was a good idea.

Finally, around this time I was becoming more and more aware that my two children were getting on in age to the point that their awareness of what I did and their approach towards adulthood were making me take stock in where I placed my energies. The focus needed to be more on them during this critical phase of their lives and Trans Iowa simply was a huge energy drain on me. It was taking away from my ability to give of myself to them, not to mention my ever enduring wife, Phyllis, and that did not sit well with me. The combination of my growing dissatisfaction with my job situation and my family needs were starting to gnaw at my desire to put on Trans Iowa by this time. 

These things and more were all mixing together to create the scene in which I entered the planning for Trans Iowa v12 and beyond. 

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