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Trans Iowa:  This event will no longer be held
News about the former Trans Iowa event and anything related to it will continue to be posted here when relevant

10/12/23: A little late, but here is the link to the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame report.  The GCHoF also put up a separate page on their site about me HERE. There is also an "Acknowledgement and Credits" post on the Guitar Ted Productions blog which anyone visiting this site should check out HERE

5/4/22: In a little less than a month, Trans Iowa co-founder Guitar Ted will be inducted into the Gravel Cycling Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Emporia, Kansas on June 1st, 2022 at 6:00pm. A report on the ceremony will be linked here in the near future. This represents what Guitar Ted says is an accomplishment that reflects the participation, support, and help given during Trans Iowa's 14 year run by riders, sponsors, and volunteers. In GT's estimation, this recognition belongs to everyone that had anything to do with Trans Iowa. If you were a part of Trans Iowa over the years, consider yourself going into this Hall of Fame along with GT. As he stated in a post about this induction: "I am nothing without all of you."
7/6/19: Have you been following the new series on "Guitar Ted Productions" called "Trans Iowa Stories"? You should be if you want to get some back story on the event that helped set off the gravel grinding scene as we know it today. You can catch a new post every Sunday, or search for old posts using the "trans iowa stories" line in the blog's search box. Here's a link to the site.

9/12/18: A new event, dubbed the "Iowa Wind And Rock", has been announced and will be run during the same time slot as Trans Iowa used to be run in. Rules and format are similar as well. See THIS POST for my thoughts on this development and for a link to that event's website. 
 6/25/18: It has come to my attention that artwork for one of the Trans Iowa headers, my artwork, by the way, was used by another artist to produce a work for a TI rider. Please note- ANY REPRODUCTIONS OF MY ART OR ANY IMAGES FOUND HERE USED IN ANY WAY WITHOUT MY EXPRESS PERSONAL CONSENT FOR PERSONAL OR COMMERCIAL USE IS CONSIDERED STEALING. 

All you have to do, typically, to use stuff found here for most purposes is to ASK ME. I'm  actually pretty fair when it comes to stuff like this. 

6/20/18: First time Trans Iowa rider, Stefano Tomasello, shares his compelling race report HERE
5/5/18: Trans Iowa will not happen again. In case you haven't heard or read the news, there will not be a T.I.v15. Read HERE for the reasons why. With my (Guitar Ted's) not being involved in producing this, there cannot be a v15 and there are no plans to "hand over" the event at this time, or in the foreseeable future. Thank you for all the years of support and for the memories! This site will remain live for the near future. 
5/3/18: Race Images Links: Free to download for race participants. Any media use or promotional use of these images is strictly forbidden without prior written permission from Guitar Ted. Celeste Mathias gallery HERE
Some great images of the Pre-Race Meat-Up and starting line for T.I.v14 can be found HERE and were taken by Katherine Roccaseca 

5/1/18: OFFICIAL RESULTS: Over all Winner of Trans Iowa v14 is Luke Wilson who arrived back in Grinnell at Miller Park at 8:50am.  The Single Speed/Fixed winner was Mark Johnson who got back Grinnell at 9:15am. The Women's Open winner was Janna Vavra who arrived back in Grinnell at 12:50pm. Following are the complete results
  • Luke Wilson Open Men's @8:50am
  • Mark Johnson Single Speed/Fixed @ 9:15am
  • Mathew Kutilek Open Men's @ 9:30am
  • Justin McBride Single Speed/Fixed @ 10:30am
  • Dan Lockery and Scott Rider Both Men's Open @ 10:50am
  • Trent Hovenga and Jim Koziol Both Men's Open @ 11:15am
  • Ryan Simon Single Speed/Fixed @ 12:00 noon
  • Joe Stephens Men's Open @ 12:22pm
  • Nick Legan and James Nixon Both Men's Open @ 12:30pm
  • David Weiss and Derek Brown Both Men's Open @ 12:42pm
  • Mark Lowe and Tyler Puls Both Men's Open @ 12:45pm
  • Janna Vavra Women's Open @ 12:50pm
  • Jason Shearer Men's Open @ 1:02pm
  • Ben Mullin Men's Open @ 1:17pm
Out of 95 starting the event we had 19 finishers. Janna Vavra has the distinction of being the first woman to finish a Trans Iowa (T.I.v7) and the last one that ever will. She also won the Black Mountain Cycles' Grittiest Ride award for the event.

 Trans Iowa would like to thank it's sponsors: WTB, Black Mountain Cycles, Bar Yak, Pedal Of Littleton, Lederman Bail Bonds, Europa Cycle & Ski, Guitar Ted Productions, Riding Gravel, Wally Kilburg Photography, Jon Duke Photographer, The Grinnell Steakhouse, The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce, Bikes To You/Craig Cooper.

 This will be the end of Trans Iowa events. The site will stay live for a time, at least. Look for any Trans Iowa related news to appear here in the future. 

Thanks to Kerkove Design Media for the work on this site!

Racers have been known to mentally break down and cry along side of the road.
Nick Legan's race report on the "Rambleur" site is HERE

Trans Iowa v8 winner, Eric Brunt is featured in this new post on Cannondale's site.

Will Ritchie's WTB blog post about Trans Iowa can be found HERE

Celete Mathias' photos from T.I.v12 can be seen HERE & HERE

Jason Boucher's 2015 T.I.v11 image gallery is HERE.

Travel Iowa did a story about gravel tourism centered around Trans Iowa for a 2015 article: HERE

The Grinnell Chamber of Commerce awarded Trans Iowa with the "Outstanding Tourism Experience Award" for 2014.

 Wally Kilburg's photo album from Trans Iowa V10 is HERE

Jeremy Kershaw's images are HERE 

 An Article by Mark Elsasser on T.I.v10 which originally appeared in the inaugural edition of HERE

Wilderness Trail Bikes put up a post about "Why Trans Iowa Is Rad" HERE

An interview with Cristina Mihaescu, first ever women finisher on a single speed, from "Over The Top Radio"

 Bicycle Times this time from Jeremy Kershaw. This is a version of his story posted originally on his blog.

 Official T.I.V8 photographer Steve Fuller put up his shots on This Flicker Page. Go there for some great shots of this years event.

Jeff Frings released "300 Miles of Gravel" a movie made about Trans Iowa V7, in May of 2012. This film was shown on television in the Chicago area and has won a Chicago Regional Area Emmy for Outstanding Sports Programming- One Time Special. (Purchase a copy by clicking here)

"Iowa Momentum Magazine" ran a story on Trans Iowa in its March 2012 issue.

"Bicycle Retailer and Industry News" runs a story on gravel grinding featuring Trans Iowa on its cover for its last issue of 2011.

"Dirt Rag" ran an article on T.I.V7 in its issue #157 released 7/11

Bicycle Times published an article on T.I. in issue #10, 2011

Des Moines Register Cityview Article about Trans Iowa 2010

Zach Dundas' book "The Renegade Sportsman" contains a chapter about T.I.V3


Dave Mable's T.I.V8 video
T.I.V5 Clip by George Vargas. 
Clip By Matt Gersib From T.I.V6
Ben Shockey's T.I.V7 Video Scrapbook
Part I
An article about running, but related in spirit to Trans Iowa. Recommended for those wondering about this event. 


"There is no "Easy Button" when it comes to Trans Iowa. Everything is difficult."- Guitar Ted

Event Dates:  Trans Iowa v14 was the last Trans Iowa. There will be no more.  

 Registration:   CLOSED forever.




1: The Golden Rule. The sponsors, organizers, and anyone having anything to do with this race are NOT responsible for your safety. Think of this race as a 300+ mile hard training ride with prizes. We can't say this enough.....YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU!

2: The Trans-Iowa Mountain Bike Race is a non-stop, self-supported, solo competition along the gravel roads of rural Iowa. Competitors must carry with them ALL necessary equipment.

3: Each rider is considered to be on a private excursion and remains solely responsible for any accidents in which he or she may be involved. No responsibility can be accepted for riders becoming lost or stranded.

4: Prearranged outside support is not allowed. This includes, but is not limited to assistance with navigation, delivery of supplies, lighting, or lodging.

5: Competitors will stock up on food and other items at stores and businesses along the route. Viva la gas station burritos and Oatmeal Cream Pies!

6: Competitors may not advance on the route by any means other than bicycling or in the case of a mechanical, by foot. There will be no hitching of rides via Iowa farm animals. Moooooooo.

7: Competitors may, in the case of emergency, mechanical or other unforeseeable problems, be assisted by motorized transport. By accepting motorized transport you will automatically relinquish your standing in the race.

8: The primary race route must be followed at all times. No short cuts or alternate routes are permitted. If you do this, you are a retard and will be forced to help local farmers scoop poop!

9: Bike choice is up to you! We are allowing mnt bikes, cyclocross bikes, 29"ers, and road bikes if you really want to be stupid. Just be aware that some research is going to have to go into your final bike choice. The gravel roads of Iowa can get pretty harsh in northern part of the state. I suggest atleast a 1.95, but then again, it's up to you how much you want to hurt. We'll leave it at that.

10: All singlespeed/fixie category racers must start and finish on the same gear. So, that means don't stick 10 assorted freewheels/track cogs in your bag. You CAN run a flip-flop hub, but both gears (freewheel & cog) must have the same number of teeth.

11: You are completely on your own. Use your head. Look and yield for traffic. There will be no course marshalls to hold up traffic. Don't be a dumbass!

12: Riders must wear an ANSI or Snell approved helmet, must obey city, county and state laws and Rules of the Road, and conduct themselves in a manner that will not bring discredit to the event.

13: All racers must use and carry with them a flashing red taillight and front light, and a back-up light source, i.e. headlamp. A cell phone is also a good/great idea.

14: Racers will be supplied a course map, a.k.a Cue Sheet.

15: This event will happen regardless of rain, sleet, snow, drought, wind, rabbit infestation, etc. You get the idea.

16: Weather Related Stoppage and Time Cut Off Rule: In case of severe weather during the event, we will do the folowing things so you can act accordingly. Remember: YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOURSELF!! If the sky is falling, or you see Dorothy's house go spinning by your head, you should take appropriate actions to protect yourself. We will not be responsible for ill advised heroics in inclement weather. Be smart, or be pig fodder! This is only given out so that you as an event participant will know what our actions will be in regards to keeping tabs on your progress and what will be done with prizing.

Weather related cancellation of the event will be enforced at the checkpoints. All participants will be directed as to where and when any prizing will be distributed at checkpoints by our volunteers. If you pull out before a checkpoint, you will need to contact the Event Director to find out if the event is being terminated. Results will not be tabulated if we have to stop the event. If cut off times to a checkpoint are not met by any event participant then the event will be terminated and all will be considered as DNF's.

Prizing will be distributed by raffle to the remaining participants in the event at the time of stoppage or when it becomes clear that the cut off times will not be met. Must be present to win. Decisions of the event's directors is final.

17: No GPS Systems allowed for navigation. GPS's are allowed for personal data and recording your ride.

18: Have at least a pit crew of 1 to help you if you have problems. The people and sponsors associated with this race will not come get you or be responsible for you! You get ran over by a tractor, that is your problem. You get attacked by a rabid raccoon, that also is your problem. You get recruited to scoop pig poop, yep you guessed it, that is your problem.

19: A cell phone is highly recommended. Make sure you know how to use it.

20: Racers can help other racers with mechanical support. We are not doing this event to leave someone out in the boonies of Iowa.

21: If you exit the course for food, supplies, or any other reason, You must re-enter in the same spot in which you left. Got it!

22: Drafting is allowed. But please do not show up with 8 of your buds and turn this into a road race.

23: Due to ever evolving "technology" it has to be said now that no electric assist, nor anything other than a 100% human powered, two wheeled vehicle is allowed to be used at Trans Iowa. 

24: Participants must remain within the primary boundaries of the roadway at all times. If the roadway is bordered by fences or ditches, riders must stay between them. If the roadway is in open range, stay on the roadway. Leaving the roadway or climbing over a fence is considered short cutting the course and will result in disqualification

The intent of these rules is to establish an equal and fair opportunity for all racers.



Yeah, we have some prizes, but they are neither bling-bling or going to help you find a mate. If you are looking to get rich by winning this event, I am sorry, but you better look elsewhere. Some prizing will be given to the top finishers in these 3 fields...
Open Men

Open Women
Open Singlespeed / Fixed Gear
Plus, there may be some Special Prizing given at the discretion of the Event Directors and Sponsors. Look for details in the "Latest News" section on any prizing that may be given out in this manner. 

Categories: There will be an Open Men, Open Women, Single Speed/Fixed.



The following is information for you the racer, and some suggestions for gear to keep in mind for the event. Of course, what you decided to carry is up to you. The items listed in RED are the "must haves" by all racers!
  • When you’re out riding in Iowa in April, the weather can change rapidly at any time and being prepared for wind and rain or snowy conditions with the gear that you carry will make your ride much more enjoyable. Even on a 60 degree day, it’s possible to get cold very quickly if you have to stop to fix a mechanical problem or become injured so always carry a waterproof/windproof jacket or thermal top and dress in layers appropriate to the conditions.
  • Maintain your bike so that it doesn’t let you down when you’re at the furthest point from civilization.
  • As a minimum I suggest carry the tools listed below and more importantly, know how to use them.
  • If possible cycle in a group so that if someone does hurt himself or herself there are enough people to stay with the injured person while others go for help.
  • Carrying a basic first aid kit and survival blanket is a very good idea.
  • Unless you are VERY familiar with the area where you are cycling, carry a map and compass in clear plastic bag. Again – know how to use them!
  • Keep eating and drinking regularly to keep your energy levels up so that you can complete the race. Be able to recognise the symptoms of dehydration and “hitting the wall” and act accordingly.
  • In most cases the farmers of Iowa are your best bud. They will give you food, and treat you like a son or daughter. But there are a few out there that would rather mow you down with their 1969 Dodge pickup.
  • Farmers own dogs. These dogs chase anything that moves. Be prepared to throw-down with a mutt if needed.
  • Redwing Blackbirds......if you get too close to their nests, they will dive-bomb your head. Just keep riding, they can't hurt you.

  • Red tail light (here is a good example)
  • Front light. Power output is up to you. Keep in mind you won't be able to recharge. (here is a good example)
  • A way to contact the "outside" world should you need help. (Hint- cell phone!)


  • Small rucksack / hydration pack
  • Lightweight waterproof / windproof top
  • Extra thermal top or warm layer to wear if stopped
  • 2 liters of water either in a bladder or water bottles
  • Food – for example energy bars, gels or chocolate
  • A good pump
  • Tyre levers
  • 2 spare inner tubes
  • Puncture repair kit
  • Chain splitter
  • Allen key set
  • Spoke wrench
  • First aid kit and survival blanket
  • Mobile phone / money for pay-phone
  • Butt butter....ahhhhh smooooth!
  • Good chain lube. Don't under-estimate Iowa's harsh conditions in the Spring.
  • Cash, debit card, credit card. Use these items to get items on the road to complete the route.
  • Handle bar map case ( Banjo Brothers Cue Sheet Holder)
  • a cycling computer ( Garmin Edge 200)

This may sound like a lot of gear to be lugging around during a race and on many cases you won’t need all of it. However, if something does happen to you or your bike in a remote spot, you’ll be equipped to deal with most situations or at least stay safe and warm until help arrives.


 Trans Iowa Roster
Limited to 120 Riders
"Suffering becomes beautiful when anyone bears great calamities with cheerfulness"
 Trans Iowa will not occur again. These used to be the race categories.

 Womens Open
  Mens Open

 Single Speed/ Fixed