|Goofing around at the end of T.I.v8 on Slender Fungus member Gumby's Pugs.|
It was a Wednesday in late February of this year, 2022. I was about to drive my daughter to her job. You know, she never took after me in regard to cycling, but she also never has learned how to drive a car......yet! Anyway, it was an ordinary day. I was about to walk out to that old truck I used to use for Trans Iowa recon when the phone pinged me. The now familiar 'ping' of a text message. It was an unexpected message from an old acquaintance about something that had ended years ago.
Ending things. I sometimes would stop to consider how I was going to end this series. I have had difficulty doing that in regard to Trans Iowa. Even this series was an excuse, in may ways, for me to relive the past. Writing about Trans Iowa events flowed from one into another these past three years. I delved back into the archives and felt those old emotions again. I was reminded of things forgotten, and things that stung. I was reminded of stress and worry, and I was reminded of good times and memories. Memories I will cherish 'forever'. At least as long as I am able to conjure those memories back up again.
I was reminded of great people. Athletes, volunteers, friends, family. I was reminded of Life. How it changes constantly. This whole experience writing up these stories seemed like a nostalgic high that would never end.
But it is ending. While I wasn't ready for it to end, Life has reminded me that endings are a part of the journey. This was made manifest in other 'endings'. Many more than just the ending of this event. I had important family members die during Trans Iowa's run of events, and shortly after - My grandmother, my father in law, my own mother and father. I lost some Trans Iowa related people to death. Bill Pontious, Joe Mann, Kyle Platts, and Paul Black come to mind. Trans Iowa and Trans Iowa's ending is nothing in comparison to the losses of those lives to many of us.
|A comment from Joe Partridge, a two-time finisher of Trans Iowa.|
In light of those things, when it came to writing a post to end this series, I was a bit hesitant. Trans Iowa..... Yeah, it was important. I get that. Many lives were changed, relationships were formed, and Trans Iowa was a stepping stone to even greater heights for many of those who came to Iowa to participate in my silly little gravel event for bicycles. So, on the one hand, I cannot belittle what Trans Iowa was to many of you. That isn't for me to explain or define.
And I believe there is something to all of that. It's just that I do have issues with accepting gratitude shown for what I did to provide this platform for the people that came to Trans Iowa, to be shaped by it and all. But I try to be gracious. I struggle with it. Sometimes I think at the "End of It All", maybe none of it will matter, but for you? I cannot say.
So, as I set that task of writing up this closing piece on the back-burner, I tried to stay grounded. I tried not to let this get too emotional or puffed up. I didn't want to get down and melancholy. Things haven't been better or worse since Trans Iowa ended. I believe every day is a blessing, and even more so when I get pinged by an unexpected text, like I did that late February day I mentioned above. It was no ordinary text message....
|For some people, like Al Brunner, Trans Iowa literally left its mark in more ways than one.|
In fact, that text solved a problem for me. It pretty much sums up everything Trans Iowa was all about in a nutshell. Here's what it said:
"GT, I drove to Cedar Rapids today and came across the road that crosses HWY 30 that was on TIv5. I want to thank you again for the memories. It is one of the top ten accomplishments of my life and I thank you."
Memories and experiences that changed, and still change, lives. Even after 13 years, this fellow named Paul Jacobson felt compelled to let me know how this affected him. I think there are many more folks who did Trans Iowa that probably would be nodding in agreement with Paul here. Maybe, in a manner of speaking, Trans Iowa's effects never have an ending.
From my perspective? Here's what I thought in early 2006, after we'd only run one Trans Iowa:
"It's all about people and what relationships you build. It's about the
stories, the lessons, and the inspiration you receive and give away
during the process. .............I got to meet a ton of
really interesting and inspiring people through this event. I cherish
that. That's why I am involved in Trans Iowa.
Of course, Trans Iowa will end some day, just like it started. Nothing like that lasts forever. Maybe it'll be this year. I don't know. I just know that I'm glad I got to do it from the standpoint of dividends that I reaped from the people involved. That's what makes it worth it...... It's about the people.
At the end of it all, it was worth the effort. It was, and it still is, about the People. I was really - really blessed to have known and worked with the people I had the privilege to come into contact with because of Trans Iowa. I'm sure glad I didn't shrink away and say "no" to Jeff that day in 2004 when he said, "Let's do it!". I am so happy and glad today that I said "Yes." And now I can look back and say, "I did do that".
It's all over now, but it isn't. The Journey continues. There is no more Trans Iowa for me, but it will never cease to be an influence on me as long as I live.
Thank you for reading this series.