Monday, October 18, 2010

Trans Iowa V7 Update #2

Today's update is all about recent recon and what it means for those who are looking at Trans Iowa V7, or are already in this gig. d.p. and I have decided to take Trans Iowa a bit more towards the "self-supported endurance event" side of things with a couple of tweaks to the route and how we are going to do checkpoints.

This go round was done in the daylight. so we were up at "dark-thirty" to hit the roads of rural Iowa along the route about 150 miles into our "big assed loop". That means we have some images for you, some from within the Element, some after we ditched the 4 wheel transpo for the 2 wheel mode.

Another beautiful fall day greeted us, although it was pretty windy. Conditions are super dusty out there. Doubtful that it will be so for T.I.V7, so don't take this to heart for what you might experience!

We were looking for a good spot to set up Checkpoint #2, and we think we found it. Here's where a bit of a shift comes in our thinking. d.p. and I are aware that Trans Iowa is unique in the gravel grinder world. most events are 100 miles or less and end up being road races on gravel. Some events are choosing to become a "bigger deal", some events are allowing lots of outside support just to boost finishing rates, and so on and so forth. well, Trans Iowa isn't any of that, and it isn't like other gravel events in that it isn't a road race. (Right: I  bask in the glow of Checkpoint #2 -image by d.p.)

Trans Iowa got its "DNA" originally from the great ultra-endurance events out west, like the Great Divide Race.  Much like that event, we wanted to carve out a challenge for riders in Iowa that maybe isn't so remote and fraught with danger, but has the feel of that challenge in a smaller dose. Lately we felt like Trans Iowa was being pulled away from that a bit.

While we may not have bears and mountain lions roaming the area, (well.......we might actually have mountain lions!), we can make the challenge more about self reliance and finishing with a great sense of accomplishment, if you actually finish it, which is intended to be hard to do. To that end we will be having just two checkpoints in Trans Iowa V7. Traditionally we have had only one, and in the last couple or so, we've added a couple checkpoints. This has made the event more about getting from one checkpoint to another, breaking T.I. into manageable chunks from the get go. No more!

We will still have a brief run in to an initial checkpoint in a small Iowa town, probably at 50 or so miles in, that will keep folks honest as far as the pre-planning of the first half of Trans Iowa the night before. It will also dissuade folks from camping out on the route's first half to "cheer on" people in the event, which we highly discourage. The next checkpoint, which will come at about 170 miles in, will not be at a place where there will be services. It will be at a random crossroads which we have specifically chosen. This is done to take away the "convenience" that we formerly were providing of having a checkpoint right near a convenience store, if not at one. This does several things for us, but importantly to you, the prospective Trans Iowa competitor,  it forces you into a decision more quickly and decisively to carry on, or not. Trust me, this crossroads won't be a place you'll want to hang out at! There will be no haven, no comfort there. Just the next set of cue sheets, gravel, and probably wind. We're pretty sure there will be wind.......

What about re-supply stops? Well, there will be several chances for you to do so, but these will become less as the event goes on, and in fact, we are recommending that you be able to carry enough food and water to last you at least 100 miles for the final run in. Now, this doesn't mean that there are convenience stores right on the route, (there will be some), and when there are none, we'll indicate on the cues when you are passing a nearby opportunity. We haven't done all our research yet, but this is pretty much a given- if you are out beyond 10pm Saturday night, you'd better have what you need to have by then to finish. If you decide to travel light, it might end up biting you in the end. In fact, I am betting it will.

There are a couple of good reasons for this. #1: Convenience stores that stay open 24hours are becoming a rarity in Iowa. #2: It makes Trans Iowa more challenging, and we like that.

<===For whatever reasons, we seem to be finding all kinds of rural cemeterys.

So that's it. We're taking away one checkpoint and making the re-supplies more of a intentional choice by the riders instead of an obvious choice. We're trying to make this more about overcoming a big challenge, and less about a road race on gravel. We're trying to make this low key, about riding bicycles a long way, with like minded people, and not about spectators, hoopla, or spectacle.

Stay tuned for more updates to come...

UPDATE: I am still getting e-mails from Rookies wanting in T.I.V7. Please Read The Trans Iowa V7 Site's Latest News dated 9/28/10!


MG said...

LOL... There must be some pretty hardcore rookies, or they have absolutely no idea what they're in for.

That said, I'm stoked at what I'm reading. I've got the equipment and I'll be prepared. Bring it on. I'm already testing...

Talk to you soon, good buddy.


d.p. said...

Oh, there are bears.., if your lucky.

Ari said...

Rookies will be eaten by the lions since they are young and tender. I like the self reliance more and more. Also the outside support factor has always bugged me. I am getting ready.

Dave said...

Good call.