That first Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational went about as well as anyone could have asked. We took about 14 hours to ride over 150 miles and we didn't have any major issues with the minor exception of losing David and Mark Pals due to David's struggles with a head cold he had at the time. He and his brother left the route with about 80 miles to their credit.
In a recently found hand written document concerning the first GTDRI, I wrote, "Ride was good. Good comments from all who partook." So, I had good feedback, apparently, on my format and ride choices. That was something coming from the likes of Matt Wills, who was already a seasoned gravel rider from the Lincoln scene which produced the Pirate Cycling League and ultimately, Gravel Worlds.
The ride garnered the attention of some of the local cycling enthusiasts including John Adamson, Chris Congdon, Rob Walters, and Jeff Kerkove himself. They rode out of town with us a few miles before turning back to Waterloo and Cedar Falls. I think they thought we were crazy. I thought it was fun. I wrote my reaction as being, "All in all, a great time."
|From the recon of the first GTDRI|
But closer to the mark then, I noted something which changed in my partnership with Jeff Kerkove and Trans Iowa that happened after the first GTDRI. In my post event notes I wrote the following: "Maybe I'll put this on again. It was pretty fun. Looks like Trans Iowa v3 will be much like it. Jeff seems to be handing over more and more of the reins of T.I., especially after the GTDRI success."
I did not think of myself as an "event director" at all when we did Trans Iowa v1. I did take on a bit more of an administrative role for v2, and I think Jeff was taking notes. Either consciously or unconsciously, he seemed to be marking me for a leadership role in Trans Iowa. His plans were to "head to the mountains", as he used to tell me. By the time of the first GTDRI, he had mentally decided he was going to leave the shop we were working at.
I didn't want to admit Jeff was leaving, but I knew it was going to happen at some point. Honestly, I figured that when he did leave, Trans Iowa would end. How could I ever be seen as the leader of an event like that? Well, Jeff perhaps saw that I did have potential which showed up in my production and execution of the GTDRI, which he did not have a hand in. Looking back, I think that was on purpose.
So, his handing off of things to me after the first GTDRI maybe was his way of showing his confidence in me. His desire to see T.I. continue was bolstered, perhaps, by his observing my performance in putting on the first GTDRI. Whatever the case was, he did hand off a lot of responsibilities to me, and by Spring of 2007, he was gone working for Ergon.
That put a lot more pressure on me to hold up Trans Iowa and see it through. We, (Jeff and I), had committed to doing this thing. We had people signed up, and there was no backing out, despite Jeff's absence for the actual event itself. This meant that I was reticent to put on anything else, and that precipitated a new wrinkle for the next GTDRI later that Summer. And THAT development actually influenced Trans Iowa for several years to come.
Next: Take A Load Off