Note: In the coming weeks, I'll be posting up some of my thoughts on T.I.V6. Stuff like new sponsorship news, registration announcements, course recon stories, and bits about how things will go down in late April 2010:
Okay, so here is what's on my mind this time. Support. Specifically support by electronic means. Also "Trans Iowa Radio". Let me briefly recap what I am concerned with.
Cell Phone Support: It came to my attention last spring that some riders were receiving encouragement, racer updates, and other helpful info via cell phone from folks following along in the event as it went from check point to check point. I even eye witnessed this at a couple of points. Also, GPS is a part of cell phone aps now. I will address this.
Trans Iowa Radio: I call this "Trans Iowa Radio", but in reality it is simply my audioblog updates of the event as I put it on. I do this for fun. I realize now that some folks think it is a lifeline of information that should tell of every single competitor in Trans Iowa. Not only is this an absurd notion, but it is simply impossible. Yet every year I get criticized for not doing something somebody thinks I ought to with it.
Okay- I will address the cell phone thing first. #1: Checkpoints will not be announced beyond the first one approximately 40 miles in. This will do a couple of things. It will keep folks that are supporting a rider from tagging along and getting in situations that will encourage them to call their rider and give them "news" and get news of them. It also will keep those same folks from clogging up convenience store parking lot spots for hours.
Now of course, this doesn't prevent a rider from calling ahead to a support person and having them be at a checkpoint. That said, if I see this, your rider will (a) be obviously DNF-ing and has called the support person to be there to pick him/her up, or (b) will be DNF-ed because support people will not be allowed at checkpoints in 2010 unless they are doing (a) listed here. Period. No discussion of that point will be entertained by me.
Obviously, I can not keep folks off their phones. Encouragements will happen. But at least I won't have to witness it at checkpoints and I won't have to deal with angry convenience store clerks who think we are impeding customers from getting into their parking lot.
#2: GPS aps on cell phones: This has become a reality. The thing is, a GPS will not help you in Trans Iowa because we break down the course into three sections and you don't get cues for all of them before the event. Only the first 40-ish miles. Logging in the co-ordinates to have the GPS guide you would take too long. Plus, you can't read the thing and ride safely at the same time. So, GPS units will be allowed on T.I.V6 as long as they are not mounted on your bicycle or anywhere visible while you are riding. This means you must have them in a pouch, handlebar bag, or rucksack/hydration pack. Getting elevation, correct mileage ridden, and whatnot is cool. I get that. But I don't want the things on your bikes due to the safety factor. A simple computer for mileage to cues and your cue sheets are distraction enough. But what about GPS units that act as cyclo-computers? Nope. Not allowed. Why? Because someone will try to read the map in theirs while riding, that's why! Think I'm whacko? Well, during T.I.V1, we had a guy ask for the second half cues so he could microfiche them and have them flip automatically on a device he had mounted on his bike.
Now, as for Trans Iowa Radio, it will not happen again! I am done with it because of the constant complaints about riders I don't mention. As I have stated over and over again: Riders are responsible for themselves! It isn't up to me to give a report on any rider in Trans Iowa. But no matter what I write on forums, this site, the T.I. site, or tell folks at the pre-race meeting, I still get complaints that Trans Iowa Radio didn't work, or I didn't say something about "so-and-so" and are they dead? Okay, so I'm done with that. No more.
Riders should have cell phones and if they want you to know where they are at, and want to take the time to tell support folks, go ahead. have at it. But it will eat into their cell phone battery life, slow them down, and waste precious time. Another thing to weigh into your race strategy. It isn't my responsibility, it is the racers. So I won't give folks the pretense that I will be saying something about their racer by doing a fun audioblog. Got that?
As always, you can voice your opinions on any of this. If someone has an overwhelming reason to why I am a nitwit for thinking up something I write here, I will consider it carefully. I might even change my mind, but it better be a great reason for me to do that. Considered opinions are always accepted. Rants, or unreasonable comments are not. Now you know.
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