Well.......it's on! The recon of the Trans Iowa V6 course has begun. On Saturday morning, I crawled out of my bed at dark-thirty, drove an hour and a half, and met up with d.p. at Grinnell. We ate a little breakfast, and then we got going while it was still dark out!
What we saw has us stoked beyond belief. The T.I.V6 course is going to be a fun, fun deal for the folks that are lucky enough to ride it.
<===Recent rains have left roads in an April-like condition.
The weather of late has been cool-ish, very rainy, and reminded us a ton of what it might be like in April. For certain, the 36 hours of straight rain left the roads in what we surmised would be the worst possible conditions we might encounter for Trans Iowa. What did we find? Totally soaked road beds, ditches full of water, and totally impassable B Roads. The gravel? What gravel? In the opening 60-70 miles of the course we encountered 80% certified peanut butter conditions. Really sloppy! Basically, if you were riding a bicycle, you had to stay in the main car tracks, which there were usually only two of. How do we know this for sure? Well, we actually found a guy riding a cross bike on a short portion of what we're using as T.I.V6 course. (Dude- if you read this, we were the guys in the burgundy truck that passed you!)
<===The cyclist we saw was working hard. Check out how his cross tires were knifing into the soft gravel. (Photo after several cars had passed over his tracks)
If Trans Iowa runs this course in the rain or really wet conditions like today, it will play into slower times for sure with riders and cause a lot of suffering. That much is plain.
That said, d.p. and I noticed marked change within just a few hours of the course being hit with bright sunshine. Add in wind, which there was little of today, and these roads look like the kind that will firm up and dry out in a hurry. The gravel road surface being much sandier than in other parts of the state. This reminded me more of western Iowa gravel and Nebraska gravel than North East Iowa gravel, if that makes sense to anyone.
<===Of course.......there will be Hills!
The hills will make their presence known, don't worry about that! There were more than a few, "Oh! Cool!" and "Yeah! Check this out!" exclamations in the cab of the "un-named truck" as we sped along that morning. Certainly we will have some flats as well, but hills will be featured heavily in the opening round of T.I.V6- and keep in mind, you'll be in the dark! Better bring a bright, powerful light for the opening of T.I.V6.
We also figured out the potential start/roll out/pull off deal, which if it pans out, will be really cool. We checked out the potential finish line which will totally be in the tradition of years past but this one just might not be one that I'll ever be able to upstage. Possibly the all time best finish line a Trans Iowa could ever have. (Now lets hope the weather co-operates and we can "possibly use it"!) The run in to the finish will also be something we've wanted to do for years, and this time it will happen.
Yep! We're excited! And we've only laid eyes on about 1/5th of the course so far!