Monday, October 05, 2015

Trans Iowa v12: Recon Report

We were on it before the crack of dawn
This recon deal is getting refined down to the gnat's eyebrow. Well, it should be, after 11 of these go-rounds, right? Anyway, we had to beat a path to the place we wanted to start at, and then we could get going with the actual business at hand. That meant getting up at "o-dark-thirty" and rubbing the sleep from our eyes, injecting a bit of java, and plenty of yawning.

So, Jeremy and I weren't all that conversant as we got going, since it was still dark, and we both would have rather been in bed yet. However; it has been shown that the more we can punch out in one sitting, the easier it is to knock down the beast that is the newest Trans Iowa route plan.

We can research it all out with every on-line resource available, make our best "edumacated" guesses, come up with our best thought out plan, and still get handed a bag full of dead ends. You know, like last year. We spent the better part of a day rumbling around looking for reroutes when we found copious mistakes on the maps. That required a full-on second day of recon, and then we still didn't have everything sewn up. So advice is to never think your route is bullet proof until you've actually done the route. You have to spend the time to recon it physically. There are no short cuts.

That's why we don't mind doing this, because even though it is not easy, it saves a lot of headaches down the road. We get the best possible accuracy, and that means the world to me and, I am sure, most of the riders of Trans Iowa.

Necessary fluids (Image by J. Fry)
The route this time is full of new roads we've never used before on any Trans Iowa. My initial impressions are that it is beautiful, very curvy, and pretty "average" as far as toughness goes for a Trans Iowa. I tend to be hyper-critical of my routes, so I don't think it is tough enough and I feel it is too flat. Like last time though, I may change my tune when I see it again in the Spring during final recon. Last Spring I was amazed at how many hills there really were, so maybe my perspective will change again. Probably will.....

Agricultural activity was high. We couldn't pass this guy even if we had wanted to. Wide load!
What else can I tell you now? Let's see..... I think the counties have gone in to a hyper-legal protective phase. We noted a ton of "Impassable When Flooded" type signage all over. This even on roads I have never seen water over before. Weird. The State must have been sued over something like this recently. You know, that's how Level B Roads came to be, right? Well, it is.

Speaking of which, there are some of those infamous dirt ribbons out there waiting for T.I.v12 riders. I didn't think there were any in the first leg, but recon turned up about a third of a mile stretch right before the checkpoint. It won't even go noticed unless it rains. It's almost not a Level B it is so nice. Then there are at least four going into Checkpoint #2. A few are heinous. One may get nixed. Post CP#2 there are two bad ones. Get ready. If it is wet at all there will be hike-a-bike. And at a couple places, even if it isn't wet. Probably. That's my best guess now.

Level B road. 
So, did you notice I mentioned a part of the route may get nixed? Yes, that is another reason to do the recon. Once we see the actual roads, we can ascertain whether or not they will be good for us in Spring with much better accuracy. I saw a few things that might be sketchy, and I may end up putting a couple things through the editor and that means something goes on "the floor" never to be seen on a Trans Iowa route. That said, there will not be much of that. Although, there was close to being a lot of that!

All told, we will be rerouting a bit here and there which is adding and taking away mileage. A final tally is yet to be determined, but something 335-ish? Yeah.....that's what we're thinking now. There is one part that needs a solution yet which will determine a lot going toward the final total. When we have that figured out we can announce our numbers. That said, we are pretty sure we have something else already figured out.

That would be cut-off times. Jeremy and I discussed this a lot, and he crunched some numbers as well. Here's what we're looking at: Time cut-off for Checkpoint #1 remains at 8:30 am. Ease of the route and lack of any "real" Level B factored heavily into this. There is a lot more pavement in this section as well than there ever has been. So, there you have it. Coming to Checkpoint #2 is going to entail less mileage than before, probably about 155-ish into the course, so we're looking really hard at a 7:30pm cut-off, which is right at about about 10 miles each hour to cover on the course.

Rookies should have cards rolling in today. I'll have a running roster of possible entrants on the T.I. site. 

More soon.....


Galen Murray said...

Thanks for the hard work of putting a top notch course together; look forward to riding it next spring!

john said...

This course setting seems to be about the most fun part of this event - other than riding it in ideal conditions.

STF_ill said...

Okay, so you got me to read about B roads some more. I read this ( and what I don't understand is why they even call it a road anymore? Why not just have the legislation instead say "this isn't a road, therefore we don't have responsibility for it"? Or is there some other reason to still keep it designated a road? Maybe to increase the total miles of roads for the purposes of highway funding allocations from the state?

Guitar Ted said...

@ STF_ill: Well, as I understand the language there on the linked pdf, the meaning is that "this is a road we do not maintain, we have adequately covered our liabilities within the law, therefore we don't have responsibility for it".

So, basically saying that "if you are stupid enough to be on this road, you are responsible for the consequences of your own actions". Or in other words: "We cannot maintain this road due to budgetary constraints, no one really lives on it, or uses it regularly, but it does allow access to land, so we're leaving it for now. We might maintain it someday, but don't hold yer breath, and don't go a-hurtin' yerself on account that we don't maintain it, ya hear!"

These roads do sometimes look like any ordinary road, only they are "dead" roads. Meaning no one lives on them anymore. Most of the time they are dirt, but can be little more than a scar across a valley. Sometimes these roads are the only way farmers can access lands/fields easily. When that is the case, the road may be declassified further to a "C Level" which allows the landowner to have the rule of access. The roads are then gated off by the State and the public must ask the landowner for permession to pass. It all seems odd, but due to the old "Northwest Ordinance" of 1789 and subsequent laws related to it that this nation passed in the 1800's, the gridded out townships and roads meant to enable settlers to easily access land still hold on to this very day.