Thursday, March 19, 2009

T.I.V5: Some Course Recon Pics

<==Don't end up like this critter! Pay attention out there folks!

There has been a small chunk of the T.I.V5 course dangling out there to be reconned since last fall. d.p. and I busted our buns trying to figure out a way through this section without getting (a) too urban and (b) too much pavement. Fortunately the urban was totally eliminated and the pavement was kept to a bare minimum. It wasn't easy. the day we did recon last fall we tried three different routes through the area with none of them either working out at all or leaving us wanting to do something different.

<==And do not be lured in by Iowa's fine roadside amenities. You may find yourself getting too comfortable, and get bit by the time limits!

So I spent some time staring at a map of the area most of the winter and figured out a route. It would be a much better choice if it panned out in reality. But if there is one thing I've learned over the course of the years that I've done this it's to never trust a map!

<==Don't sweat the small stuff! Cross those bridges when you get to them.

Well, just as I suspected, things were not as they seemed once I got out there yesterday to drive the proposed new course for this section. I re-routed and found a "B" maintenance road where I didn't expect it and a "C" maintenance road where a "normal" road was listed. Yes........I wrote "C maintenance road"!

<==The County Maintenance crews are putting out the "red carpet" treatment for ya'all this year!

Yep, yer basic "C" road is one that is usually gated and controlled by the local landowners. Nothing more than a glorified farm access road that you might find through any field or pasture. We first ran across the existence of "C" roads during the recon for T.I.V2. Since then I've run across several "C" roads in different parts of the state, but not one that wasn't gated, until yesterday.

I have to admit, I stopped and thought really hard about puttin the course across that grassy tract, but in the end, I thought better of it. This was really nothing more than an overgrown road bed. There wasn't even two track across here! I think it would have been too confusing without some course tape, and I wasn't about to commit to that! Been there, done that!

<==You'll pass many "Holstein Hotels" along the route.

The new route was to have added some "B" road mileage to the route, but when I saw the proposed course, I eliminated the "B" sections and routed around them. The balance of "B" roads to regular course and just where those sections fall is critical. I have to be very careful not to overload any one section at the risk of putting time cut offs out of reach. So with that in mind, I had to axe those miles.

<==And get a taste of what Iowa's black dirt can do for you.

But I did find another section of "B" road not listed on my map that fell in line with my course. Yes, a surprise, but those are not unexpected anymore. Not after reconning five different Trans Iowa courses and three Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitationals.

So, I took a good hard look and included it into the course. The net total of "B" roads was a -1.5 miles. So I felt better for reducing that mileage a bit, and I now feel that Checkpoint #3 will be easier to make than it would have been before.

Yes, three checkpoints this year! It'll be pretty interesting to see who makes the final checkpoint, because I have a feeling that if you do, you will finish. I also have a feeling that very, very few folks will ever see Checkpoint #3, but I could be wrong about that. You just never know with the weather being a factor and all.

Road conditions were primo. No damage from winter to be seen. The County crews were out and dumping copious amounts of fresh gravel with precise grading across the entire roadway. Never fear though! There is a whole month and a half for that to get traffic on and it should be really good by May 2nd-3rd, assuming we have a normal spring this year.

The course is finished. Now it is time for cue sheets to be compiled and printed. Volunteers will be briefed and readied. Sponsors will be shipping in the goodies. It won't be long folks! It won't be long...............

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