Recon Report: I got in a bit more recon on Wednesday and this is the latest on the course conditions in this sector.
Here's a B Road that will be on the course. You can see a big wet spot where frost is still coming up out of the ground. The rest of this one is rock hard dirt.
This sector has a series of rollers. The roads have been maintained in many places already along this part of the course.
The gravel was pretty fresh and loose for many miles in this part. Very dry gravel meant lots of dust as well.
Now here is a really cool corner of the course, but look very closely at the image. The gravel in the fore ground is very loose and sandy. This was a very prevalent feature of the roads in this area. Lots of sandy/gravel sections that were inches deep. The surface was like powder/sand and the Truck With No Name was wallowing and pitching in it a lot. I suspect that bicycles will find this a bit slow going where it was the worst, unless we get a fair amount of rain just before the event, in which case the B Roads will be slow. Seems like either way these roads in this sector are going to be toughies. Oh yeah, that white patch by the A pillar of my truck? That's snow that was still in the ditch!
Re-Supply Options Limited Near The End!! Several years ago I made an effort to try and make convenience stores show up about every 40-50 miles on course. With the change in policies of many of these rural stores to not being open 24 hours, and with several of the towns and cities being so small, it has become increasingly more difficult to make the convenience store appear on route where it is most "convenient" for you racers.
So, here is the skinny on the course with regards to convenience store opportunities. After Checkpoint #3, there are no convenience stores on route!! None! Zip! nada! The towns on the route are very small, and the route is in a remote area (for Iowa) which has no need for convenience stores. There are bars though, and a bar can be a good place to get water, if need be. Bars close at about 1:30am, (real time), maybe closer to 2am in some cases. Are there towns just off route with a convenience store? Yes, one. It has a convenience store that closes at 9pm on Saturday night and is about 80 miles from the end of the event. It is located about a mile off course, which means you'd have a two mile round trip just to use it. (We'll indicate on the cues where this is)
Okay, that's the bad news. The good news is that you can plan for this. In past Trans Iowas I was roundly criticized for not making riders aware that the stores would be closed after a certain time Saturday evening in these remote rural towns and villages. Now you know. You should be prepared to ride the last section without re-supply. You'll likely need to carry your water, and definitely anything you want to eat for the last section of T.I.V6.
What About Convenience Stores On The Rest Of The Route? Before Checkpoint #3 there are good opportunities for re-supply at regular intervals. The route either goes right in front of, or within a quarter mile of convenience stores that are in plain sight. The last store is a 24 hour convenience store and is about ten to 15 miles from Checkpoint #3. You can not possibly miss it. Again: Now you know. If you pass this one up, just know that you won't be seeing another one again on the route. Pass it at your own risk!
So, I know a lot of you will be upset by this news, but again, you have time to figure out a plan. Part of T.I.V6 is logistical. This does indeed make things more difficult, but far from un-doable. It is what it is. We do not have time to do a re-route and you do not have to come and do Trans Iowa if this ruffles your feathers or throws your plans into a tizzy. Like I said, now you know. You can plan for it. It is possible to deal with it, if you think it through.
I'll have more recon reports and time cut off info in the coming days. Please let us know if you can not make the event this year. It makes life a lot easier for us if we are not preparing for someone that won't be there. Hit me with an e-mail and let me know if you won't make it.