Trans Iowa: For The First Time
by Guitar Ted
This is the first page that deals only with the run up to the first Trans Iowa. On subsequent pages you will find info regarding each individual running of the event.
Getting Started: It was mainly Jeff’s job to arrange for sponsors, drum up interest, and secure lodging for entrants for the first running of Trans Iowa. With his experience and standing within the endurance racing scene, he was able to attract immediate attention from companies, racers, and media. Our hometown paper did a big spread on Trans Iowa the first year, for instance, and companies were sending us schwag that was unbelievable. It is definitely doubtful Trans Iowa would have gotten off on such a good note without Jeff and who he was at that time.
My job was mainly a supporting one. A “gopher”, if you will. I did the mapping of the first route though, and besides the main points of Hawarden, Algona, and Decorah, I was pretty free to do what I wanted with the course. Once it was chosen, and the winter subsided, Jeff and I did our two day recon across the state in his little Mazda.
We decided that it might be prudent to “warn” everyone about the race. So we printed up stacks of informational fliers to stuff into rural mail boxes along the route. This made for some slow going as we traversed the route from west to east. Of course, getting out there in the first place was a five hour drive anyway. Then picking our way back, we ran into the first B roads and a couple of dead ends. Keep in mind we were trying to use Jeff’s trip meter on his Mazda to ascertain mileage, so these detours caused us to really stretch our brains doing math, and writing down figures and road names became so burdensome that after the first 40 miles we thought we’d never get the job done. Going around the B roads caused all sorts of mental mayhem!
We did finally get to Algona, where we crashed at Jeff’s parents house for the night. We had a great meal and some good conversations with Jeff’s folks. Then bright and early, after a hearty breakfast, we were off again. This time, we abandoned the mail box stuffing, it made things go a lot faster! It was wet and mucky, as it rained part of the time on us, and Jeff’s Mazda got trashed with gravel crap all over it. This was the first of many times that either I or Jeff would realize that there was a hidden cost to be payed for putting on Trans Iowa. One: It was very hard on our automobiles! (Not to mention the gas money!)
Once the course had been re-conned, we compiled the data as best we could, printed up cue sheets, stuffed race bags, and we were ready for the first Trans Iowa to begin. We had a place to hold the pre-race get together in Hawarden. The Pizza Ranch decided to do a special spaghetti dinner for us and let us use their party room at no extra charge. We had host families putting up riders, and the local high school allowed cars to be parked on their lot for the duration of the event. We were as ready as we could be. I didn’t know what to expect, and I’m sure Jeff had some anxious moments as well, but we dove on in.