|Various trips past the Des Moines area provided me with ideas.|
NOTE: This post was supposed to have published 9/19/21, but due to a technical error it was republished today. I apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused. "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!
I've been treated to some great Trans Iowa stories and memories from
riders recently. I am collecting these to - hopefully - put into a book
at the end of this series. If you were a Trans Iowa rider and have any
memories that you'd like to share, please do and send those to
email@example.com. Maybe your tale will also end up in the
Trans Iowa Book Of Tales!
In the epic tale, "Lord of the Rings",
J.R.R. Tolkien writes about hobbits and describes how some are very
home-bound, not taken to adventure or wild ideas of travel to foreign
lands. However; some of them, namely the Fallohides, had this
adventurous streak. This was epitomized by the nature of Bilbo Baggins'
character, who traced his lineage back to this clan.
I have a secret to reveal here- I am not much for travel. So, I guess I wouldn't quite qualify to be of the race which Bilbo Baggins claimed to belong to. That said, I do have an adventurous streak, so maybe there is something deep inside of me that is, as they would have said in the "Lord of the Rings", 'Took-ish". Whatever the case may be, I don't often travel, but generally whenever I did, be that with family or for events, the route invariably took me past Des Moines, Iowa on the interstate highway system.
Since the time of Trans Iowa v8, I had an idea. This idea was to take Trans Iowa and make a course for it around the metro area of Des Moines. A circumnavigation. A 'ring' around the city, if you will. My quest since that time was in pursuit of creating this ring. Not a Ring of Power, like Sauron had made, but a Ring of Adventure. A course that would put not only the riders of Trans Iowa to the test, but myself as well. Just creating such a course, to my mind, was going to be a monumental feat.
|The annual CIRREM gravel event's course helped provide ideas for V13. |
Why even try this? A fair question. My
motivation was from Gravel Worlds. Their early courses were
circumnavigations of Lincoln, and due to the nature of their State
Capitol building's architecture, one could almost always see a glimpse
of the building from hilltops as you rode around the course. I thought
that this idea was interesting. I also love Gravel Worlds and the people
behind it, so I figured a circumnavigation of Des Moines during a Trans
Iowa could be my tribute to Gravel Worlds.
Now, when I did travel, as I said, Des Moines was often on the route, so I always kept an eagle eye out for overpasses of I-35 and I-80 which I could use for this route idea. Several overpasses, which were gravel roads, were identified on those trips. Then I would research those out on the State DOT maps whenever I was back at home. These crossings would be a critical piece in making the ring around Des Moines possible. But just because I could find gravel road overpasses didn't mean that they were useful.
If the road the overpass carried ended up at a "T" intersection with a county road, or went into a town and had no exit, that wasn't a good through route for Trans Iowa. Add in that these overpasses had to be as close to Des Moines as possible to cut down on mileage made the difficulty level rise again. Now think about resupply stops. These overpasses had to work into a route that made sense for resupply chances as well. So, as you can tell by the parameters, making this course work as a Trans Iowa course was going to be a monumental task.Next: Going The Long Way Around: Part 2