The Genesis Story: Trans Iowa was started on a cold grey November day in 2004. It grew out of a discussion between two co-workers at Europa Cycle and Ski named Jeff Kerkove and Mark Stevenson, also known as Guitar Ted. During a slow day a conversation that led to Jeff musing on what it would take to ride across Iowa in a day, much like an earlier stunt pulled off by some road cyclists affiliated with Europa Cycles in the early 80’s, morphed into this question: “How about if you tried to do it on a mountain bike on gravel roads?” G-Ted said, “..sure, why not?”, or something to that effect. The pivotal statement came right afterward with no hesitation when Jeff said, “Let’s do it!”
Within 24 hours a call had been put out on Jeff’s blog and on the Endurance Forum of mtbr.com . Response was immediate and enthusiastic. Within three weeks registration for the first Trans Iowa was underway with a planned field limit of 50 riders and an entry fee of $20.00. It only took a day and a half to fill out the first field of 50 riders in online registration.
Meanwhile plans were researched and questions asked. G-Ted and Jeff discussed many options, but the main “backbone” of the event was influenced by Mike Curiak, a well known ultra endurance cyclist and event planner. It was Mike’s involvement in things like the Grand Loop event, The Kokopelli Trail Race, and The Great Divide Race that attracted Jeff to ask of Mike for some advice. Eventually, much of Mike’s suggestions became part of Trans Iowa. If not then, in 2005, later on.
The first route was mainly shaped by Jeff’s desire to have the event pass through his hometown, Algona, Iowa, and his suggestion to start it in Hawarden, Iowa. The end point originally was to be in Lansing, Iowa, but due to a suggestion made by another Trans Iowa contributor, Rich Gosen, the end point became Decorah, Iowa. This suggestion of ending in Decorah, Iowa also was partially responsible for the date chosen to run Trans Iowa. Rich thought it would be cool to combine his event, The Decorah Time Trials, with this event. Rich annually held the time trial on the last weekend in April every year.
Important First Posts About Trans Iowa: Here are some links to Jeff’s posts from 2004 where Trans Iowa (The idea, the event hadn’t been named yet!) is first mentioned.
#1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 (Note: Post #6 is the first post where the name “Trans Iowa” is ever mentioned. Jeff came up with that name himself, by the way) And finally, this post, which was authored by Guitar Ted, who started out blogging as a guest on Jeff’s blog.
All linked posts were from November 2004 and show how fast this idea went from zero to “rediculous speed”.
Note: Each Trans Iowa event has it’s own “page”. The pages are linked over on the upper right side. Just click on the Trans Iowa event you are interested in to see the page on it. Thanks for looking!