Monday, March 13, 2017

Trans Iowa v13: Trans Iowa Recon Completed

Started out in the white stuff......
Last Fall I did the big loop and we got Trans Iowa recon off to a start. However; there were issues. First and foremost was the scrapping of the entire first leg due to one small bridge being out. Then there were issues with how the route crossed highways in a couple of places, and there was too much pavement.

I went home from that Fall recon with more questions than I had gotten for answers. The Winter came in early, and recon had to be put off till when the roads got clearer. That happened in January, but I got sick, and then I got sick again recently. In between there I managed to get the first leg reconned. But that left a big reroute to look at.

So this past weekend was the first shot I had at doing anything about the issues we found last Fall outside of the first leg being scrapped. It was a long haul to get there and I was accompanied by my recon partner-in-crime, Jeremy, on this mission. Once I rendezvoused with him Saturday morning, we headed South to Grinnell to eat at the Frontier Cafe.

A short shout out: The Frontier Cafe is down town just off 4th Street on Main Street. We "found" this place a few years ago doing recon and were wowed by the reasonable prices and good breakfast fare. The restaurant is in an old downtown business building with a spacious interior that retains much of its late 19th Century appointments- A fully intact tin ceiling, Iron support poles made to look like Grecian columns, and wood panels and trim work. Back when we first started going there, things were in a bit "worn" shape, but this past visit showed that the Frontier Cafe has refreshed its look and it is very nice inside now. They still retained all of the past which was good. It is mostly a fresh coat of paint and some new do-dads here and there, from what I can tell. Go there if you want breakfast in Grinnell.

The image doesn't do the steepness of this hill justice. Jeremy measured 13% with his Garmin.
Anyway, we made it to our appointed spot on the course to begin the rerouting recon activity. There was a check right out of the gate. Pavement! Gah! Why do we feel the need to pave over everything? The map was consulted, then a choice was made. It will be part of the reroute now, but it did not eliminate all of the pavement. The irony of it all is that the paved part doesn't go past anything important and the unpaved part goes by several "McMansions". Weird.

Then it was off toward another newly proposed section. Another checkmate! Another short section of pavement. Maybe a half to 3/4's of a mile. It stayed in. We moved on. Happily, there were no more surprises in the form of closures, missing bridges, or in terms of additional paved sections.

In fact, the reroute got rid of about as much pavement as we ended up finding again. It was a wash. But all was not a loss here. The pavement isn't all in one long section now and we got two, much more safe highway crossings out of the deal along with some rad roads which we did not have originally. Besides this, we found two stellar convenience stores as well. Really, really nice ones. One is so nice I wonder if they won't kick out sweaty, dirty cyclists. I'm serious. I do not have the service hours, but their positions on the route guarantee you would arrive there long before closing times, if you arrive there at all.

Just another steep climb, that's all.
When we finished off the major reroute we headed back to a point I needed to check out at the finish of T.I.v13's route. Jeremy and I looked things over and made a final decision there. It will involve about 1/4 mile of riders riding on the shoulder of the highway against traffic to the head of a bike path. It was either that or cross a 4 lane highway twice. I think it will all be okay.

Mmmmm! Level B Road!
And that was that. We nailed the recon and now we move on to the next phase of the preparations. The cue sheets will now get drafted up, and I will set the information into the final template. Then all we have to do is run the entire route one more time next month to verify the cues and roads before printing ensues.

There will be a cutoff time announced for Checkpoint #2 very soon. I had to get the reroute verified before we could do that. It also should be noted that there are about 8 less miles in this leg than there were before. Stay tuned on a final word on the cutoff times coming soon.....

Other than that, the next time you hear anything about the course will be after the final run through we do in April.

1 comment:

Derek said...

Awesome - can't wait. Frontier Cafe is a great place.