There you go. Everything you need to know right up front, but you want finer details, don't you?
Yes, you probably do.
First and foremost- THIS RIDE IS OPEN TO ANYONE WHO THINKS THEY CAN DO IT.
I know, I know...... The name of the ride says "Invitational", which gets people hung up every year, despite my saying otherwise for 12 years previous to this. So, just to be clear: anyone who thinks that they can pull off an unsupported, 100 mile gravel ride is welcome.
Unsupported: That's a big deal here. You won't have a sag, you won't get aid stations, you won't see crews of film makers or photographers out on the course, and there won't be any hoopla at the start or at the finish. NO ONE IS AVAILABLE TO GET YOU IF YOU FAIL! You are on your own and YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU!
This also means that you should be prepared to have plenty of water onboard your rig, plenty of nutritional items to eat, and a repair kit including, but not limited to, a full set of wrenches for your bike, a tube, and an inflation device. I recommend a master/quick link for your chain and a chain tool as well, since you'll be doing 25 miles of dirt roads which are unmaintained and where anything is possible as far as road debris is concerned. In other words, don't show up on your sub-20lb wunderbike with two water bottles and a cute, tiny seat bag. This ain't no Euro-trash, roadie action here!
|Typical rest stop on a GTDRI: Image courtesy of Rob Evans|
No-Drop, Casual Pace: While I like a tough ride, (I've failed to finish at least four GTDRI's in the past), we don't leave anyone to dangle off the back and ride alone. Well, not for long, at any rate. We've had to send riders along their way, so if you can't hack it, we will route you the quickest and easiest way back to your car, but YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU.
That said, we will be stopping often and if a few fall off the back, we stop to gather everyone up. This takes more time, also adding in the fact that we go at a casual pace, 10-12mph, probably, so plan on riding all day. I think last year we finished up around six in the evening. I don't recall for sure and I didn't document that, but it was all day.
The Route: Last year I designed a "Tour of Dirt Roads" type of ride emulating what the Pirate Cycling League does in Nebraska. It is a 100 miles, a little more maybe, of gravel with 25 of that in dirt roads. (The cues and map can be accessed from THIS LINK) We are going to ride the same course again this year because the route got rave reviews last year. However; there could be modifying concerns.....
- Road closures- Always a threat. Bridges out are most common, but with so many Level B Maintenance roads, we might find a decommissioned road this year.
- Weather Concerns- Wet weather means no Level B Roads for us. With 25 miles of them, I would have to re-route the course, shorten it, or possibly cancel the ride altogether depending upon how bad things were. If you plan on coming, keep an eye to this spot and the GTDRI page for updates.
- Heat Related Concerns- The heat in late July is no joke and we've already had heat indices here well over 100°F. Heat could modify the route by cutting things short. It's happened before!
|One of the gnarlier Level B Roads we plan on riding in Tama County|
Otherwise most of us will gather in front of the brewery on Broad Street in Reinbeck, Iowa to take off at 6:00am. Please park cars on the East side of Broad Street if you plan on leaving a car there all day. That seemed to work out well last year, but I cannot guarantee that you won't get ticketed or have a car towed. I only can say that we did this last year and it worked out okay. So, again, YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOU!
Lodging: If you plan on coming from afar and need to stay overnight the 27th, then I suggest finding a motel on the Southside of Cedar Falls, Iowa, or in Grundy Center, Iowa. Both are short drives from Reinbeck. There is a camping area in Reinbeck, and also along HWY 20 near Dike, Iowa which is a short drive from Reinbeck.
Again, anyone that thinks they can hack this ride and do it the way I've outlined here is welcome. The terrain is hilly. There will be some steep climbs and fast down hills. Gravel can be really sketchy, so good bike handling skills are a top priority. I recommend any gravel/adventure bike, Fargo's, hard tail mtbs, or fat bikes as rigs worthy of using. DO NOT TRY A CALIPER BRAKED BIKE OR A ROAD BIKE!
THE GTDRI IS A FREE RIDE AND ALWAYS WILL BE. I do not charge a dime for anyone to come.
Further updates will be posted here and linked to the GTDRI site.
Questions? Ask in the comments or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org