Trans Iowa v13


It was close, but Walter Zitz and Greg Gleason missed getting T.I.v12 done in under 24hrs by a minute or two!

Post T.I.v12: The aftermath of Trans Iowa was kind of bewildering and depressing this time. The event, which set a record for the most finishers ever with 47, was the highest of highs and had several emotionally charged moments. I suppose it was to be expected that I would have a down time post T.I.v12, but it was particularly hard after that one. Of course, the event was deemed a massive success, and with the tweaks to how it was run, mainly involving giving more volunteers more duties, it was perhaps the easiest Trans Iowa on me that I have ever done. The registration Lottery was a huge success, and besides some piddly complaints from a local volunteer fire department, there really were no negatives to Trans Iowa v12 to speak of.

A v13 kind of grew on me. It wasn’t an automatic thing right away. I decided that, ultimately, the number thirteen didn’t have to be feared, and by doing a v13, it would be a way to show that to everyone. Finally, a circumnavigation of Des Moines had always been on my mind since v8, and this was a good as chance as any to pull that off.

The Changes: The changes mainly had to do with registration. I had far too many names on the past roster that were inactive. Far too many folks to let come in if they wanted to anymore, and some “frequent fliers” that deserved a spot if they wanted it. So a big change was the Lottery for Rookies and Veterans. No longer would any past finisher get a free pass in to Trans Iowa. You had to be an “active” rider, having ridden in v8 or later, and also those that had six or more Trans Iowa attempts with at least one in v8 or afterward were allowed in via post card only. Otherwise it was all by Lottery now.

Registration: Strangely enough, there was no push back or complaints about this new wrinkle to Trans Iowa’s registration ahead of the fact. As it turned out, there was no need for a lottery for the Veterans and the lottery for the Rookies went smoothly. The roster ended up having the largest Women’s field ever, and there was the distinct possibility that more Rookies than ever would be taking the start of T.I.v13, if there were low numbers of drop outs. After Registration was OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAover there were some grumbles about lotteries and not letting in all the women, and more. Nice timing! Overall though, it wasn’t a big deal with me on this end.

We ended up with 124 total on the roster with 4 of those being Volunteer Exemptions. In January, I had a guy who hadn’t cashed in his Volunteer’s exemption since T.I.v8 try to use it after registration had been closed for over two months. This kind of thoughtless abuse of privileges caused me to cancel any future usage of this exemption going forward. January also saw the first drop out from the roster, which was earlier than it had been for a few years. By mid-March the drop rate, which was rather steady, caused the roster to drop below the record set in T.I.v10, and by the first day of


The t-shirt design based upon Gary Cale’s T.I.v4 post card entry

Spring is was down to 102. (Not including Vol Ex) By April 13th the number had dropped to 93 and we also were down to three volunteer exemptions.

Recon: Course recon was done once again with Jeremy Fry and we took off on a cloudy October 17th and drove the proposed course from Grinnell. A bridge which was out on a Level B Road used in T.I.v12 caused me to scrap the entire first leg, and there were too many stretches of long pavement along with a couple sketchy highway crossings. That said, the concept of circumnavigating Des Moines was sound and I just needed to redo some bits and go back to check them out later. I thought this might happen right away, but it did not. I didn’t get out to redo the first section until late February and the rerouting down around Winterset didn’t happen until early March. Full course recon happened early in April, on the 8th, with Wally & George again. I had also rewritten the last 12 miles of the course by this time as well. The ending was slated to be at Miller Park at Lake Nyzanta, which is on the Southeast side of Grinnell. Finally, T.I.v13’s course was locked in!

The Lead Up: Trans Iowa Radio was again to be hosted by Ben Welnak/ During final course recon, we stopped in to eat at the Grinnell Steakhouse and they seemed excited to have us back again. I had to purchase more number plates for the event and I had those all personalized by the first week of April. WTB sent 13 cases of tires for every finisher and some of those were a brand new, never before released model of a 650B tire called the Byway. I also had 37mm and 45mm Riddler tires to pass out. The t-shirts, paid for by Lederman Bail Bonds, were done and picked up by mid-April thanks to Sam Auen’s help. Cue sheets were finalized and Mike Johnson once again stepped up to provide the printing and costs to cover that. Those were sorted and bagged by one week out. Things were coming together fairly smoothly. MG was on tap to drive me, Tony McGrane and Mike Johnson were also available as course checkers again. Dennis and Christina Grelk who were on board as volunteers at CP#1 offered their services to extract any riders in need. All good stuff, but the forecast was looking cold and soggy.

What was maddening and a bit befuddling was that there were three drop outs the week of the event. Weather related? Who knows if that is what finally pushed them over the edge? Then two days before the event a full six more dropped out.  It seemed in all cases that decisions could have been made sooner and that would have saved us money and time. The weather was forecast to be wet. How that would actually pan out was a topic of much chatter leading up to the event.


MG took this image of the starting field for TIv13 from atop his Subaru

The Event: Friday recon went well, but it rained lightly most of the day. The Pre-Race Meat-Up was another success. With all the drop outs and a few no-shows to the Meat-Up, the roster went down to a low of 75 starters, the lowest number of starters since T.I.v8. Will Ritchie from WTB was in attendance and gave a short talk about the Byway, a new 650B X 47 tire introduced in conjunction with T.I.v13.

The morning of the event we experienced chilly temps in the upper 30’s and a stiff NE wind which never relented during the entire event. Fortunately for the riders, the event went mostly West to start out with after an initial loop to the East and North. We had 23 people miss the cut off at CP#1 mostly due to the early difficulties with the wind and a 1 mile stretch of muddy B road. Two more dropped shortly after the checkpoint, but then we went well in to the afternoon before seeing mass attrition set in. This was about the time that the rain got worse and the tailwind section was over for the riders. As the day wore on riders kept dropping out until by midnight on Saturday, we were down to less than 15 riders out on course.

Rain and cold wind were the main culprits this year. It began to rain around Noon on Saturday, and although the intensity of that rain varied, it never really quit until Sunday morning. By then the field had been whittled down to 8 and only six actually finished. An amazing event with outstanding rides put in by all.


1: Dan Hughes Open Men @ 10:45am 
2: Greg Gleason Open Men @ 11:20 am
3: TIE: Walter Zitz, Matt Acker, Jackson Hinde Open Men @ 12:04pm
4: Mark Johnson Single Speed/Fixed @ 1:50pm

75 starters total. There were 33 Rookies in the field. Six is the second lowest number of finishers, ( there were two years that saw no finishers), since T.I.v4, which was shortened due to road conditions and saw five finishers.



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