Saturday, October 10, 2015

Trans Iowa v12: Finisher And Veteran Registration Announcement

Taking a look back to move forward
 Registration For Finishers & Veterans For Trans Iowa v12:

First of all, I want to thank Kevin Doggett up front for selflessly providing me with a spreadsheet and detailed statistics on Trans Iowa over its first ten years. Much of what I am about to put forth here is based directly off of his work. Thanks Kevin!!

Okay, as you may all know, I radically changed up how the process for registration is being undertaken for Rookies. They are still sending in cards for the upcoming lottery drawing, which will occur on Halloween Night this year. Kind of a "trick-or-treat special! Well, anyway, I have been looking really hard at Kevin's numbers he has provided and thinking ahead about what may occur in the upcoming registration for the final 80 spots left in Trans Iowa v12's roster.

Since last Spring saw no one finish, the numbers are easily added to what Kevin has provided me with here. So, here is what I am looking at from a registration point of view as far as potential registering riders is concerned.
  • There are 116 individual past finishers of Trans Iowa. (Several with multiple finishes)
  • Adding in the last Trans Iowa's starting Rookie class, there are now 361 vets of past Trans Iowas. 
  • All of these, minus a couple individuals that have died, are potential registering riders. Some will never take that spot, (they have no further interest in Trans Iowa), but I have no way of knowing how many that number may be. 
  • I have 80 spots on offer. 
No one finished Trans Iowa v11: Image by Wally Kilburg
Obviously, as the years go on, it will become apparent and necessary that I also implement the lottery drawing for spots for the Vet Class. (That is, if I decide to carry on with more Trans Iowas.) The potential number of registering riders with an intention to enter a Trans Iowa will eventually become far more than 40. It already is a bit over that. Even the Finishers took almost all their spots last year for T.I.v11.

That all said, I am going to run the registration again as I did last year at least for this Trans Iowa. I feel this may be a watershed year for Trans Iowa. With 27 Rookies from last Spring not getting their full chance at getting to checkpoint #1, I feel there is a huge potential for most of them to want to take a spot for this year. That coupled with the vast pool of Veteran Class riders and I think I may see an over flow of potential riders that may be more than a few. For the record, I have not ever had more than a couple riders miss out getting on the roster in the Vet Class and I don't think I've ever had an overage of Finishers try to get in. So, this is why I am running it like last year.

I just wanted to point out that there may be a few that don't get a spot this time, and how I may have to change things up, and why that is. Of course, all of that predicated on whether or not I actually continue to do this event. So, with all of that out of the way......

 12 Winners, as detailed in this post, have guaranteed spots in Trans Iowa V12 if they send in their cards in time. Post cards must not arrive BEFORE OCTOBER 17th and MUST BE IN BY OCTOBER 24th!! Anyone of the following twelve will get in to Trans Iowa V11 by sending in a post card. The post card must have the following on it written legibly or it will not be accepted:

  • Name
  • Class (Open Mens, Open Womens, Single Speed/Fixed)
  • A current e-mail which you can be reached at.
Post cards must be addressed and sent to:

 Europa Cycle & Ski
c/o Trans Iowa V12
4302 University Avenue
Cedar Falls, IA 50613

Here's the list of the twelve, just in case anyone missed this:

 Ira Ryan- T.I.V1, T.I.V3
Lindsay Gauld- T.I.V2*
John Gorilla- T.I.V4*
Joe Meiser- T.I.V5, T.I.V6*
Dennis Grelk- T.I.V7
Eric Brunt- T.I.V8
Rich Wince- T.I.V9
Greg Gleason- T.I.V10, T.I.V11*
Janna Vavre- T.I.V7
Monika Sattler- T.I.V9
Agytha Gryglak, Sara Cooper (tied)-T.I.V10

* Denoting the person that made it the furthest that year on course during a T.I. with no finishers, or was declared the winner in a truncated version of Trans Iowa. 


30 spots for Finishers will also be up for grabs by post card entry starting October 17th. Again- DON"T SEND ENTRIES SOONER!! They will not be accepted. Don't try sneaking in if you are not a Finisher either. I have records, ya know! Get those post cards in by October 24th! Later than that and you won't be in T.I.v12. Your post card should have the same info and be sent to the same address as above for the Winners. NOTE- If the 30 spots are gone before the 24th, that's it. If they don't get used up, the left overs will be passed on to the Vets.


The Vets will be vying for a total of 40 slots. The window of opportunity to get in is going to be from October 24th till October 31st. Do not send your card in before this! The following items must be on your post card in a legible fashion or you will not be in T.I.V12. Legibility is judged by Guitar Ted and my decisions are final. Don't fail because of poor penmanship! Here is what you'll need to include.

  • Name  
  • Class: (Open Mens, Open Womens, Single Speed/Fixed)
  • Current e-mail where you can be reached.
  • What Trans Iowa(s) You Rode In.

If spots are unclaimed from either the Winners, Finishers, or Vets Class, they will be passed down accordingly. If after this there are still open spots, (unlikely), then they will be added to the Rookie's Class drawing which will occur the day registration closes for the Vet Class.

Any questions? Hit me up at, or leave a comment here.

Friday, October 09, 2015

Friday News And Views

A few tidbits on T.I.v12. First up, we have some news on registration for Veterans and Finishers coming on-line tomorrow right here on this blog, so stay tuned for that. Interested past Trans Iowa participants will get the low-down on what needs to be done and when to get into the big dance on April 24th, 2016.

Rookie registration is in process right now. Cards are being received now until the close of the day on October 24th. Then on October 31st there will be a lottery drawing to determine who gets in as a Rookie to ride Trans Iowa v12. So far we've received about ten cards. You can see the list of folks who are in the lottery by clicking here.

Thirdly, there has already been a couple ideas to change, or maybe a better word would be "tweak", the proposed T.I.v12 course. Until we're done messing around with that, I won't have exact mileages. The checkpoints are pretty much locked in, but there is some messing around in the back half of the course we're doing, so stay tuned.

Surly My Other Brother Darryl rims
Fat Bike Upgrades:

Okay, so when Fall comes I start to poke around for upgrades for my fat bikes. I do this about every year and some things I actually get around to, but a lot of them I don't. Oh well..... Chalk this bit up to dreaming, or wishful thinking then. Here goes....

I've been checking out about every Chinese carbon fat bike rim there is out there that is available and I have to say that saving about 50-80 grams and spending about twice or more per rim than these new Surly MOBD rims cost seems, well..........stupid. Yeah, yeah......aluminum versus carbon, and cut outs require tape, yadda,yadda,yadda..... Okay, fine. How about I spend 50 bucks more per rim and get HED's new aluminum rims that don't require rim tape and do not have cut outs? That's still waaaay cheaper than these cut-rate carbon rims from the Far East, and who knows if I'd have any recourse if something went pear-shaped on those carbon rims.

The point is, all this carbon fat bike rim stuff doesn't look real attractive when you compare benefits and dollars to get it. At least not for how I want to roll. My plan is to go tubeless, have a reasonably light wheel, and not break the bank in doing so. Plus if I get this going I will have a new tubeless wheel set for the titanium fat bike, move that old wheel set on the Ti bike currently back on to the Snow Dog, and then that bike gets back up and running.

Then I'd need tires and some other minor bits, but that's a big piece of the puzzle I need figured out to get moving forward on the fat bike front. That and 1X set ups, (mostly for tire clearance), which is another whole ball of wax. Like I said......wish list stuff! 

Getting bits together to get wheels on this.
 Speaking Of Wheels....

The Standard Rando needs wheels. I have one part of the puzzle solved. It is the rims, and I am going to go with WTB i25 KOM rims for this bike. I had the chance to build up one of these recently and I was impressed, plus the TCS system for tubeless is really a good one. I have a set of Nano 40TCS tires that will go right on this and therefore the KOM made perfect sense on this wheel build. The Nano 40's will have super support from the inner rim dimension of this particular KOM version and I suspect a superior ride quality since I'll be able to go lower on pressures with that wide, supportive rim. I've already used the similar Team i25 rims and they worked great with the Nano 40 TCS ttires. The KOM's will just be lighter. It'll be interesting to check it out, plus, I should end up with a reasonably light weight wheel set.

I just need some decent 11 speed hubs now that support disc brakes. I've been toying with Chris king R-45's or White Industries new hubs. Both of those choices come in anodized colors, which might be cool to fool around with, although the Standard Rando probably would look best with boring old black hubs. Anyway, I am going to have to save my pennies for hubs if I go either route there!

Okay, that's a wrap for this week. Stay tuned for the Trans Iowa v12 registration announcement tomorrow and have a great weekend!

Thursday, October 08, 2015

It Doesn't Get Much Better

Picture perfect weather
This Fall has been a spectacular one so far. The weather has been a touch on the warmer side here and dry. That means being outdoors is a very attractive place to be these days. Not too hot, and it cools off nicely in the evenings. even the winds haven't been all that bad this Fall.

I took the liberty of getting out for a short, 25 miler yesterday on my day off. It was about as good as it can get. Little to no wind, big skies, and warm enough for short sleeves but not at all hot. The gravel was good and dusty, with lots of freshly laid sections, but that is par for the course anymore. You just about have to expect that will be what you find out there anymore these days.

Following are a few shots I got while enjoying a good ride on a fine Fall day in Iowa.

Harvesting continues. There is still a lot to be done yet. 
I've been enjoying some roads South and West of Waterloo of late. Here is a rare blue sign. Most are green out in the country here. 
The Raleigh Tamland 2 was eating up the miles. So smooth!

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Evil Wheels Continued: Part 1- The Plan

Okay, I want something like this to happen.....
So, if you didn't see this last week, you may want to click the link and catch up. I have since been ruminating on a plan to make the 1X1 a "monster" of sorts. Of course, as many of you know, the 1X1 is a very versatile platform and can handle all sorts of different wheel set ups.

I've seen 1X1's with fat 24" wheels, 26"ers, 29"ers, and fat bike wheels. I've seen 1X1's with road bike wheels, and I've seen plenty of odd set ups as well. It has to be Surly's most user modded bike ever. So, I knew going into owning this old bike that it had a ton of potential.

I was inspired at Interbike a couple of years ago when I saw several 1X1's at Surly's tent set up with 26" Rabbit Hole 50mm wide rims and 26+ Dirt Wizard tires. It looked awesome, and I thought it might be fun to try one out, but I never got around to that. However; I never forgot about those rigs. Then at Frostbike I saw an Instigator shod with the same Rabbit Hole rims and this time, Knard 26+ tires. What a cool looking set up! Well, at that time buying a bike just to get "that look" without even knowing if I'd like it or not was totally out of the question.

So, now I have this 1X1 and it needs new wheels. So, I was thinking.... Maybe I should do some wide rims and big tires. Okay, hold on a minute! One big hurdle here with this old girl, and that is she's a rim braker. Hmm..... Well, something has popped up and I'll be making a new wheel set soon. Stay tuned for that coming up.......

Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Dirt Home Fom Work

Taking it all in.
Let's face facts- October is slow at the bike shop. This is bad for me financially, but there is a silver lining. I get to ride more. Specifically, I get to do more "dirt home from work" rides. It works out that a few of the newer trails on the South side of the Cedar River are between me and my home. Well........sort of. I do have to go out of my way a little bit, but it is so totally worth it.

Like any single track in this immediate area, there isn't any appreciable elevation gain or loss. There are just woods, and twisty ribbons of dirt through them. It was a beautiful day and I got off work early. Add it up and it meant it was time to partake of a nice, long way home.

The ride wasn't anything spectacular, just a nice, easy ride with a few stops to smell the flowers, (literally), and to check out a spider, or whatever tripped my trigger. In a world of calamity, instantaneous connections, and a barrage of garbage created by man being slung at me, these bits of solitude away from the "grid" are a good medicine. Plus, it won't be all that long before the brown ends of Fall become Winter and I'll be glad to shut the wind chill and blowing snow, (probably), out. These tranquil Fall days are precious. Missing out on an hour of pay is well worth it.

Monday, October 05, 2015

Trans Iowa v12: Recon Report

We were on it before the crack of dawn
This recon deal is getting refined down to the gnat's eyebrow. Well, it should be, after 11 of these go-rounds, right? Anyway, we had to beat a path to the place we wanted to start at, and then we could get going with the actual business at hand. That meant getting up at "o-dark-thirty" and rubbing the sleep from our eyes, injecting a bit of java, and plenty of yawning.

So, Jeremy and I weren't all that conversant as we got going, since it was still dark, and we both would have rather been in bed yet. However; it has been shown that the more we can punch out in one sitting, the easier it is to knock down the beast that is the newest Trans Iowa route plan.

We can research it all out with every on-line resource available, make our best "edumacated" guesses, come up with our best thought out plan, and still get handed a bag full of dead ends. You know, like last year. We spent the better part of a day rumbling around looking for reroutes when we found copious mistakes on the maps. That required a full-on second day of recon, and then we still didn't have everything sewn up. So advice is to never think your route is bullet proof until you've actually done the route. You have to spend the time to recon it physically. There are no short cuts.

That's why we don't mind doing this, because even though it is not easy, it saves a lot of headaches down the road. We get the best possible accuracy, and that means the world to me and, I am sure, most of the riders of Trans Iowa.

Necessary fluids (Image by J. Fry)
The route this time is full of new roads we've never used before on any Trans Iowa. My initial impressions are that it is beautiful, very curvy, and pretty "average" as far as toughness goes for a Trans Iowa. I tend to be hyper-critical of my routes, so I don't think it is tough enough and I feel it is too flat. Like last time though, I may change my tune when I see it again in the Spring during final recon. Last Spring I was amazed at how many hills there really were, so maybe my perspective will change again. Probably will.....

Agricultural activity was high. We couldn't pass this guy even if we had wanted to. Wide load!
What else can I tell you now? Let's see..... I think the counties have gone in to a hyper-legal protective phase. We noted a ton of "Impassable When Flooded" type signage all over. This even on roads I have never seen water over before. Weird. The State must have been sued over something like this recently. You know, that's how Level B Roads came to be, right? Well, it is.

Speaking of which, there are some of those infamous dirt ribbons out there waiting for T.I.v12 riders. I didn't think there were any in the first leg, but recon turned up about a third of a mile stretch right before the checkpoint. It won't even go noticed unless it rains. It's almost not a Level B it is so nice. Then there are at least four going into Checkpoint #2. A few are heinous. One may get nixed. Post CP#2 there are two bad ones. Get ready. If it is wet at all there will be hike-a-bike. And at a couple places, even if it isn't wet. Probably. That's my best guess now.

Level B road. 
So, did you notice I mentioned a part of the route may get nixed? Yes, that is another reason to do the recon. Once we see the actual roads, we can ascertain whether or not they will be good for us in Spring with much better accuracy. I saw a few things that might be sketchy, and I may end up putting a couple things through the editor and that means something goes on "the floor" never to be seen on a Trans Iowa route. That said, there will not be much of that. Although, there was close to being a lot of that!

All told, we will be rerouting a bit here and there which is adding and taking away mileage. A final tally is yet to be determined, but something 335-ish? Yeah.....that's what we're thinking now. There is one part that needs a solution yet which will determine a lot going toward the final total. When we have that figured out we can announce our numbers. That said, we are pretty sure we have something else already figured out.

That would be cut-off times. Jeremy and I discussed this a lot, and he crunched some numbers as well. Here's what we're looking at: Time cut-off for Checkpoint #1 remains at 8:30 am. Ease of the route and lack of any "real" Level B factored heavily into this. There is a lot more pavement in this section as well than there ever has been. So, there you have it. Coming to Checkpoint #2 is going to entail less mileage than before, probably about 155-ish into the course, so we're looking really hard at a 7:30pm cut-off, which is right at about about 10 miles each hour to cover on the course.

Rookies should have cards rolling in today. I'll have a running roster of possible entrants on the T.I. site. 

More soon.....

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Trans Iowa v12: Bringing In The Harvest

A combine in a soybean field
One of the treats of doing recon for any Trans Iowa is seeing the countryside. It varies a lot from year to year, but this time we hit on a day where there was a lot of harvesting going on.

Everywhere we went, combines, tractors, wagons, trucks, and semi-tractor trailers were about doing their business. One thing I noted was that when you saw a combine crew, it usually consisted of three vehicles/trailers/implements.

First was the combine proper, which almost always took up the entire road, although through cooperation, we were able to pass by several of them on the day that we were out. These rigs were minus their "heads" which were either a corn harvesting head or the grain harvesting head which was for soybeans. That was generally being towed on a trailer by a pick-up truck. Then the third part was an enormous tractor pulling an enormous grain wagon for grain transfer from the combine when its on-board grain storage was at capacity. (I apologize to my more technical savvy readers that work for John Deere that know the proper terminology here!)

Anyway, following are a few images from the harvest of 2015. We saw so much more than I had a chance to photograph, but I hope this imparts a bit of what it was like out there yesterday. Enjoy!

Where harvesting had taken place already, there were many round bales of the refuse which sometimes is fed to cattle.
We would sometimes pass semi-tractor trailers awaiting loading so the grain could be taken to storage. 
Mostly we saw soybeans being harvested, although corn was also being picked in places now.
We saw this Bald Eagle standing in a recently harvested field. A VERY rare sight to see one on the ground like this. 
My attempt at "art" showing how many combines were kicking up dust as they harvested.