The Reasons Why

I have been doing a lot of thinking about the end of Trans Iowa since, oh maybe the Fall of 2017. Obviously there are and will be a lot of things running through my mind concerning this event. I have a lot of emotions about it, a lot of opinions, and things I want to share, so this post, (and maybe others), will come out over time to help me process through this. Maybe you readers will enjoy the thoughts I jot down here, but I am mostly doing this for myself. So, if it doesn’t go over real well as far as response, that’s okay by me. If you do get something out of it, all the better. The main thing is that this will be the post where I share some of the reasons not only for ending Trans Iowa, but also the “why I did things the way that I did” part as well. If you have had a question regarding why I did things for Trans Iowa like I did, feel free to ask in the comments.

The first thing a lot of folks will wonder is Why didn’t you let more people sign up to enter Trans Iowa?“, which is also related to the why I quit doing a waiting list and also why I never allowed transfers. These things are all related to each other.

I have covered some of this over the years.  First, the very format for Trans Iowa could not support more people than 120 maximum riders. This fact actually played out during T.I.v10 when we had 106 riders start, the most ever, and at the first convenience store the place was overwhelmed. Since convenience stores formed the backbone of support options for riders, it was obvious why I couldn’t expect them to be able to handle 100’s of riders at a time coming through. In fact, this is why the DK200 changed from a “TI” style event early on when the decision was made to allow that event to grow bigger. The Dirty Kanza changed to charge more money for the event, (Trans Iowa did not charge for race entry after T.I.v2), allow support at specified points, (to avoid having to use convenience stores), and increased their field size by leaps and bounds until they got to a point where the rooms available to house racers ran out. Trans Iowa was never going to go that route. The Dirty Kanza folks allowed a lot more complexity in regard to the production of that event, and in the end, even they had to instigate a lottery due to restrictions.

This also played in to why I didn’t allow for transfers of entries and why I quit doing a waiting list after I increased the roster signed on limit to 120 riders. I’d rather that the roster shrank to avoid problems with too many riders at stores, on roads, coming through smaller towns and villages, etc. Too many riders were going to cause me more problems and reduce the quality of the experience for the riders.

Then there was the backlash against the lottery I implemented to regulate the inflow of Rookies. This is something that rankled outsiders and during 2018 it got to be kind of a thing to rant about amongst folks on social media. Well, here’s the thing: “I don’t really care.” I ran Trans Iowa the way I saw fit to give those getting in the best possible experience. How Trans Iowa was run and the type of experiences it provided for were my main concern, and to that end, according to those who got to ride in TI, I was successful. Other events decided to charge you money and grow the infrastructure of the event to create a “quality experience” for the rider. It was my belief that the way Trans Iowa was formatted did that better than adding aid stations, more volunteers, charging more money, and creating, in the end, a completely different experience. That wasn’t my jam. End of story.

That leads me to an obvious tenet of Trans Iowa. This is the foundational thought I used to gauge anything against when it came to putting on this event: Was it a thing that retained the spirit of the event? That and the second most important thing to me was, Would it be easy for me to implement this idea, or would it further complicate things for me?

As an observer of Trans Iowa, those are the two things you need to always run through whenever you are thinking about “why” I did things the way I did. The above example being a good one. If I did not do something, you can be assured that it violated one or both of those two tenets above.

So, simply put, that’s why I did what I did. Now as far as stopping Trans Iowa, well there are many reasons going into that. First was that my family is maturing and my two children will soon be graduating from schools, getting on as adults, possibly getting married or whatnot. I want to be present and available for these events. As children, their lives were steady- go to primary and secondary schools, after school activities were basic, easy to attend. But now their lives will include significant life marking moments like those mentioned above and they will want my presence of mind and body. My wife requires it as well. Trans Iowa takes away from that.

I haven’t got anything more to prove or give to Trans Iowa. As I stated elsewhere, my goals were achieved, my energy for the event was tapped out, and it was becoming more a thing of duty and “work” than it ever had been. The “fun factor” was gone. I was ready to throw off the yoke and move on to other pursuits that invigorate my mind and body.

That’s not to say that I have given up on creating routes and doing gravel road riding. Oh no! Not by a long shot, and the next post will give you a glimpse into that future.

Next: The Post-Trans Iowa Future


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