Sunday, June 20, 2021

Trans Iowa Stories: A Tale Of Two Trans Iowas: Part 2

"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!

The pre-race event for T.I.v12 was a rather good one, as far as those went. I never was as smooth or had it all together as I wanted to have it, and this despite making notes, and charts, and whatever I came up with. I don't know that I ever really ran the pre-race meeting the way I intended to for any Trans Iowa. Typically I'd lose my clipboard, the roster sheets, or forget half the stuff I wanted to say. I guess it never really mattered, since everything went well. 

 So, afterward when everything was wrapped up and I got a call from a rider that said he was missing a cue sheet in his set, I was really miffed. Was this a singular mistake or did we screw up more sets when we had the cue sheet stuffing party a few days ago? Now I had that on my mind! Well, first things first. I told the guy to get a hold of me at the start and I'd fix him up. One more detail to add to the pile! And you know from reading these tales that any mishaps with the cue sheets was a really big deal to me. So, I was feeling not so hot about this deal for hours afterward. 

The entire evening was a bit crazed what with that big Winny RV behind Bikes To You and all the car shuffling we had to do to get everything lined up for our early morning bug-out. I just recall being in a state of constant dealings with things until I finally laid my head down and caught a few precious moments of sleep. MG was there and had his wife's Subaru Forrester to haul me around in all the next day, night, and into Sunday. It was going to be a lot of fun to hang out with him, and he was excited as well. 

The iconic T.I.v12 start line image by Wally Kilburg. I have this print hanging in my living room.

So, the regular start line hoopla was in play. I was bopping around, talking with various riders, getting them lined up, (always like herding cats!), and then giving them all my little sermonette, as I always did. While this was happening Wally was futzing around with his camera about 15 yards away and I was off to the side, chatting with some racers. Then I decided to walk out to the middle of the front row and make a quick announcement, but before I had a chance, I heard Wally bellow, "Hey Mark!". I quickly turned around and saw that Wally had trained his camera on myself and the folks around me, so I made a quick decision to 'make a pose' and the spread leg, crossed arm thing was what I came up with. 

It was all spur of the moment, but I could tell from Wally's reaction that he was pleased with the shot. Then I turned around and got back to business and forgot all about the moment. Of course, I had a lot more pressing things on my mind right then. Moments later, I was off with MG in the blue Forrester and the start was a fading memory. It wasn't until much later on, when Wally sent me a preview of his shots from T.I.v12, that I saw the results of the start line image. It was stunning! I was super pleased with it. Wally took note and kindly printed a version of it out and sent it to me gratis. I have it hanging in a place of honor in my home to this day. 

The moon sets the morning of the first day of T.Iv12
So here I was sat in Matt Gersib's Suby and bouncing down a gravel road in the dark. Not very exciting reading there, but for me it was something that had not happened since I had David Pals as a co-director for T.I.v7. For myself? This was a huge difference maker. All I had to do was to tell MG where to turn and which way to go and man the phone. 

Again, that may not seem like a big deal, but speaking from experience, this was a game changing decision for me. It made putting on Trans Iowa so much easier it was crazy. Driving, navigating, trying to do social media, Trans Iowa Radio, and taking calls from volunteers, riders, and concerned people close to the event was a task which was far too difficult than it needed to be. Do that for a couple hours or so, no big deal. Try doing it for 24-30 hours straight. Maybe that helps paint the picture. 

Added in to this is the fact that now I had MG in a car to myself for a couple of days, which I was excited about. I have a deep friendship with him which I don't have with any other person. Sometimes now that Trans Iowa is done and with all that has happened with a global pandemic and whatnot I find myself feeling guilty for not being a better friend to him. I miss those long days and nights in the car with him. But at least I had those times, and they were mighty good ones. 

So, not only was this situation a big deal for the putting on of Trans Iowa, it was a big deal to me personally. I was excited. I think Matt was as well. This was going to be a good time, and it was one of the highlights for me during Trans Iowa v12. Had I not had MG driving me this would have perhaps been a lot tougher event on me than it ended up being anyway.

Riders navigate some of the early miles of Trans Iowa v12. Image by Celeste Mathias.

As the morning wore on towards Checkpoint #1 nothing much was really happening that was noteworthy. The early miles were marked by some pretty outstanding terrain. The imagery that came out of this part of the event was some of the best that any Trans Iowa produced. Of course, I had the talented Wally Kilburg and his cohort, George Keslin out there taking images. I have shared with you about those two before. However; for Trans Iowa v12 I had a new resource which became available to me. Not only was this good for imagery, but I had another set of 'eyes' out there which became immensely valuable to me for the last three Trans Iowa events. 

John Mathias, a very talented rider who had ridden in v7, v8, v9, v10, and v11, was now wanting to help as a volunteer. He and his equally talented wife, Celeste Mathias, decided to travel around the course as observers, and Celeste, being a hobbyist photographer herself, was to take some images for the event as well. I knew of her vast talents in imagery from Celeste's work for a Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational which John participated in previously and at which Celeste had done some very impressive imagery work.  

I'll be sprinkling my posts for v12 with the work of Wally and Celeste, but expect a single post showcasing the images in the coming weeks. 

A rider bombs down one of the many rollers found early in the course of T.I.v12. Image by Wally Kilburg.
Dawn shows the eerie morning fog during T.I.v12. Image by Wally Kilburg.

The course looped to the South and then it made a big push Eastward to go by Montezuma Iowa and then onward to points East. Fortunately the Sun illuminated the course enough through this section that the beauty of the land could be enjoyed by the riders and captured by Wally. It was a rather spectacular morning for the sights, that's for sure. 

This would turn out to be the calmest time of the event for many hours for me. Actually, I don't remember much about this particular bit of T.I.v12. Maybe it was the peacefulness, the ethereal look to the early morning hours, or maybe it was that I felt everything was solidly in hand concerning the event. I did have Mike Johnson and Tony McGrane running interference to catch anything untoward with signs and marking the course. I had that extra set of eyes with George and Wally and John and Celeste. I had MG driving me around and providing great companionship. It seemed too easy. 

Sharing the load with these folks did make putting on Trans Iowa easier, but ultimately, the responsibilities of certain aspects of the event were not sharable. It was things pertaining to those responsibilities which would be the most difficult thing to deal with for me during this Trans Iowa. 

Next; A Tale of Two Trans Iowas - Part 3


MG said...

I agree 100%, Brother. We are fortunate to have had those times, but we’ll get more time together soon. We just need to make it happen.

Happy Father’s Day!!

Love ya,

Guitar Ted said...

Thanks Brother! Love you too!!

Ben said...

As a non TI-rider, I don't have much to add...other than that is definitely a pretty kick-ass photo from the start!