Photo Credit: Guitar Ted Productions, TI v10 start line,
First off, it's free. Yes, somehow that makes a huge difference. You can cross states, spend hundreds upon hundreds of dollars on foolish, retrospectively unnecessary gear getting there, caught up in emotional packing and expenditures and somehow, down the line, knowing the event is free helps. It helps a lot. Guitar Ted spends a lot so that you don't have to.
Second, you don't know the route until you line up. Yep, no casual practicing, you don't get a cue sheet until you're nervously lined up, at the start, in the dark wondering what the hell you've gotten yourself into. The next cue card comes at the next check point, and then again, again, again... No preprogrammed GPX files, no GPS systems allowed for navigation, it's old school like that.
Lead group, Saturday morning. Photo credit: Guitar Ted Productions
Third, nothing's paved. Well, greater than 90% is unpaved. Small patches surround convenience stores allowing feasting in the form of taquitos, Twinkies, Hostess, and all other forms of solid and liquid nutritional crack. This brings us to the next point:
Four, you're on your own. 340 miles on your own with no real sleeping options if you're going to meet the 34 hour cutoff. The show must go on, regardless of the weather. No stashing goodies in a ditch down the road. Want something, you can buy it at the Quick-E mart along the route. No handouts. No support. No course marshals. No hitchhiking. No mechanic running alongside you. It's up to you.
Rider Brad Lamson of Hammer Nutrition at somewhere around mile 200. Photo Credit: Paul LaCava
Five, there's a Pre-Race Meat-Up. Grill time, all diets welcome. Smoke it if you got it. Herbivores bring veggie kabobs, carnivores, well, bring animals. Everybody grills, everybody gorges, everybody's happy. It's real.
And that's just it, it's real. Not all events still are but this one certainly is and this past April 27th marked the 10th Trans Iowa. Somewhere between 10 and 20 usually finish, the field is limited to 120. Finishers 1-5 got a set of Nano 40s, an excellent tire for a real race.
Next year? Start musing now, this one's a beast. Check out more at the Trans Iowa website.