|Images from T.I.v9 by Jason Boucher|
In this post I want to acknowledge and thank those individuals and companies that were integral to the 14 year run of Trans Iowa events. I will split these up into categories.
Influencers: Jeff Kerkove, Mike Curiak, Richard, "Deke" Gosen, Jason Boucher, Joel Dyke, Jim Cummings, and David Pals.
Hosts: Pizza Ranch, Hawarden, Iowa, West Sioux Public High School, Hawarden, T 'Bocks, Decorah, Iowa, City of Algona, Williamsburg Community Center, Williamsburg, Iowa, The Malt Shoppe, North English, Grinnell Steakhouse, the owners of "The Barn" (Rob Versteegh), Grinnell, Iowa, Lonski's, Grinnell, Iowa, City of Hawarden, City of Algona, City of Decorah, City of Williamsburg, City of Grinnell, City of West Union, City of Wadena, City of Earlville, City of Edgewood, City of Washington, City of LeGrand, City of Monroe, City of What Cheer, Village of Ira, City of Lynville, Village of Guernsey, Village of Hartwick, City of Baxter, City of Pella, City of North English, Village of Attica, City of Montezuma, Village of Webster, City of Deep River, City of Traer, and the City of Brandon, Iowa. Bikes To You/Craig Cooper. Special mention for the family that hosted Jeff and I for the first two Trans Iowa events in their home in Hawarden. Unfortunately their names are lost on me now.
|The movie poster for "300 Miles of Gravel" by Jeff Frings. The short documentray won a regional Emmy award.|
Media Credits & Thanks: "Silent Sports" who ran the first article about Trans Iowa in a monthly magazine. "The Waterloo Courier", who ran a story about Trans Iowa before it ever happened. "The Quad Cities Times", who also ran a story on three athletes who were coming to ride in T.I.V1. The story published before the event as well. Thanks to all the athletes who blogged about Trans Iowa experiences back in the early years of the event.
|A quote from author Zach Dundas pulled from an e-mail to GT concerning Zach's book, the "Renegade Sportsman"|
Thank you to Zach Dundas, author of "The Renegade Sportsmen
" for coming to Trans Iowa v3, shadowing myself and the event, and writing what might be the best narrative of the early days of Trans Iowa ever put to digital and analog media. Thank you to David Story for the first professional image spread on the event that painted a picture for those fortunate enough to see that gallery back in the day of an event unlike anything else out there. Thanks to Jeff Frings, who through his insistence, unwavering passion, and long enduring efforts brought the essence of Trans Iowa to the movies in his awesome documentary, "300 Miles of Gravel
". Thanks to Dave Mabel for his reporting on Trans Iowa for his own publication, "Iowa Momentum Magazine
". Thanks to the now defunct "Bicycle Times
" who ran a story on Trans Iowa in their issue #10. Thanks to Josh Patterson, then editor of "Dirt Rag
", who having participated in the early gravel scene, understood its importance to cycling and allowed myself to write a couple pieces on that and featured a story on Trans Iowa.
Special Thanks to Wally and George. Wally Kilburg, and his close friend, George Keslin, were the image takers par-excellence of Trans Iowa for many years. They also figured heavily as partners in route verification and as a sounding board for ideas.
|An image sent to me by Jeff Frings showing the Emmy he received for the documentary, "300 Miles of Gravel"|
A Special Thanks to Steve Fuller, who not only was a volunteer off and on dating back to Trans Iowa v4, but finished the event as a rider, and was the main photographer for T.I.v7, and T.I.v8 which has produced a number of iconic images used in publications since then.
A Special Thanks to Jason Boucher, who took some crazy-good images of Trans Iowa, but who also championed the event, featured it in his work on a personal and professional level, and who also furthered the reach of Trans Iowa's influence by doing those things and more during his stint at the helm of Salsa Cycles.
Thanks to Jon Duke, a very talented image taker and a Trans Iowa volunteer who filled in at a critical time for the event and took some really iconic images which will not soon be forgotten.
A Special Thanks to Celeste Mathias, who took some really great images of the last several Trans Iowa events. Also, a shout out to her husband, John, who along with Celeste volunteered at Trans Iowa after finishing and participating in the event as a rider.
A Special Thanks to Jeremy Kershaw, who as a rider in the event did an amazing job documenting it as he went along. His story on Trans Iowa from his blog was picked up by the now defunct "Bicycle Times". Jeremy is now the director of Heck of The North and its related events.
Thank you to the now defunct "Dirt Rag" magazine who allowed me to write a couple of pieces up on Trans Iowa, one even was featured in an issue (#157). Thanks also to "Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" for a feature story the publication ran on Trans Iowa.
|One of Trans Iowa's most iconic images. Greg Gleason leaving Guernsey, Iowa during T.I.v11 by Jason Boucher. |
|One of the few images I have from David Story's images from T.I.v3. This one featuring "Team Polska". |
Thanks also to "The Des Moines Register", "CX Magazine", "Grit.cx", "XXC Magazine", and other publications that ran stories about Trans Iowa in the past.
Acknowledgements & Thank You: I cannot leave this post until I have mentioned a few key figures in Trans Iowa's history, who without their influences, help, and support, the event would not have happened or lasted as long as it did. My first person on the list is my wife, Phyllis Stevenson, who stood by my side and supported me, despite her misgivings about the event and its effects on myself and my family. Secondly, Jeff Kerkove, without whom this never would have ever gotten off the ground. I did not see myself as an event director, but he obviously saw something in me that I did not.
Next, I have to thank Mike Curiak and Richard, "Deke" Gosen, without whom the event would not have been molded into what it finally became. Their direct hand in shaping what became Trans Iowa indirectly influenced the gravel scene going forward in a very core way.
I then would move on to Jason Boucher, without whom I would have been lost, and Trans Iowa would have been done after T.I.v3. His motivation was critical to the successes I enjoyed regarding Trans Iowa, the bicycle industry, and media afterward. Thank you!!
Next, David Pals is a person that has a great deal to do with gravel cycling, and Trans Iowa in particular. David was not what you would call "The Face of an Event", or a strong, forward personality, but his actions, ideas, and influence loom large not only on Trans Iowa, but on the DK200 and gravel cycling in the early "modern times" of its existence. Thank you!
|Jeremy Fry, (L) helping riders at the "Secret Checkpoint" during T.I.v8|
Of course, I have to mention Jeremy Fry, without whom I would have had a far more difficult time in producing Trans Iowa, and without whom I would have had a poorer experience. His help in reconning courses, and cue sheet production in particular, helped forge Trans Iowa as the leader in written cue sheet navigation. I'd put our cues up against anything ever done in the gravel scene. For the length of our courses, it was nothing short of miraculous to have the level of perfection and detail that we put into those cues. Thank you!
Matt Gersib, or "MG" : This is a person I consider my brother. He and I have seen the lowest of lows and the highest of highs through the mutual sharing of Trans Iowa experiences. I owe Matt a great debt of gratitude and thanks which I could never repay him. Love ya Brother! His driving me around the course, as invaluable as that was, pales in comparison to what our relationship forged out of this event means to me now.
Volunteers: Wow..... This is too long a list for this post, but I will just say that the Trans Iowa experience was molded and put into action for those that rode in it by the volunteers. From Dave and Linda Kerkove to Mike Johnson and Tony McGrane and everyone in between, the fourteen years of Trans Iowa was made possible by your selfless dedication and service to this event and those who participated in it.
|Joe Meiser (#29) at T.I.v5|
Sponsors: Trans Iowa had some amazing sponsors over the years. Surly Bikes was an early one, along with Stranahan's Whiskey, perhaps the first whiskey company to have sponsored a gravel event! But I have to single out three very important sponsorships that not only affected the event in a impactful way, but the cycling industry as a whole.
The first in a chronological viewpoint, was Salsa Cycles. We didn't get a 'direct' sponsorship from the company, but in a way, Salsa Cycles influenced riders who attended and they used Trans Iowa as a testing platform for their bicycle ideas, most notably from T.I.v5 - T.I.v9. In the sense that they sponsored Trans Iowa, what that entails is really who Salsa Cycle's employees influenced to come to Trans Iowa. Trans Iowa winners Joe Meiser (T.I.v5) and John Gorilla (T.I.v4) were direct results of Salsa Cycles' influence on the event. From a cycling industry perspective, they influenced other riders by using Trans Iowa to refine what a 'gravel bike' would eventually become. So, in 2012 we saw the first gravel production bike, which was the Warbird, which was a direct result of Trans Iowa events which Salsa Cycles participated in, which became a major marketing story that Salsa used to help, amongst other things, influence Trans Iowa participation even more.
|Josh Lederman, after finishing T.I.v12, helped sponsor Trans Iowa for years.|
The second sponsorship I want to cover here is not really a company you'd associate with cycling. Lederman Bail Bonds, and in particular, Josh Lederman, sponsored Trans Iowa by giving significant financial aid to myself for the production of the event. This happened over the course of the last half of the Trans Iowa events and was integral to the workings and therefore, the overall influence of Trans Iowa on riders and the gravel cycling scene. Without this important sponsor, I may well have had to stop Trans Iowa earlier than I did.
|Will Ritchie, then of WTB. (Image by Celeste Mathias)|
Finally, there was Wilderness Trail Bikes, or WTB as most know the company by. Their dedication to developing a gravel tire moved them to sponsor Trans Iowa in a way that, at least to my knowledge, has never been done for an event like Trans Iowa. They air shipped prototype tires for the winners of T.I.v12 to the event, they sent their employee, Will Ritchie, himself a major influencer on the participation by WTB in Trans Iowa, to ride in the event. They drop shipped tires for finishers of Trans Iowa which even dealers and local bike shops could not get at the time. I cannot over-state how much WTB did for the event, or overstate their commitment to Trans Iowa to make it more special for the participants. They spent more money and more resources on this event than I can ever imagine. And of course, Will Ritchie's love of Trans Iowa has to be noted as well, which made this even more of a special sponsorship for me, at least.
|Matt Gersib's Subaru after Trans Iowa v13 Image by A. Andonopoulous.|
Finally.... To the 530 individual riders who came to Iowa to test themselves against Trans Iowa's challenge, I thank you. There is no event without participants and you humans were the best! I count it a privilege and a distinct honor to have met all of you and to have shared Trans Iowa with you over the years. Whether that was just one time, or for a decade, I owe all of you a huge debt of gratitude which I could never repay. You enriched my life beyond measure, and your participation in Trans Iowa helped transform my life, your lives, and influenced thousands of other lives all across the world. It is no small thing, and we all did that together. Thank you!
I want to extend my deepest condolences and sincerest sorrow at the loss of some of my Trans Iowa participants over the years. Bill Pontious, Paul Black, Kyle Platts, Joe Mann, and anyone else I may have missed due to lack of knowing about their passing.
Next: The last post in this series......