Saturday, March 26, 2011

Trans Iowa V7 Update #20: The Final Countdown!

Trans Iowa Update #20: The Final Countdown! Well, you've got less than a month to go to Trans Iowa V7. Are you ready?

The long and winding road to this event has just about reached its ending. Final tweaks and preparations are underway on our end. Cue sheets will be printed, and menu choices submitted.

Speaking of which, I received an outstanding response to the call out last weekend for riders that I couldn't seem to get a response from via e-mail. However; a few of you are not getting the message. You Have Five Days To Respond! If I do not hear from these folks by March 31st, I will assume you don't want to be in T.I.V7 and you will be removed from the roster. Here are the non-responders as of now. If you happen to know any of these guys, get ahold of them and ask them to respond to this last call.

Terry Brannick, Eric Brunt, Jim McGuire, and Jack Lewis .

 I can not continue to e-mail you forever guys, so this is it. 

Okay, so moving on from this, I want to cover some things I have been asked about recently via e-mail. I figure more of you have similar/same questions. 

Pre-Race Meat-Up Schedule Of Events: One question I received was about whether or not you, (the riders), had to be "there" for three hours. Okay- here's the schedule.....

5:00pm: We open the doors to the meeting room at The Grinnell Steakhouse. You should get there early, and check in with me. I will get your name, and check it against the roster. If you do not check in with me before 6pm, you will not race T.I.V7. 

In the interim time between opening of the doors and 6pm, you should sit down and put in your order to start off the meal process. Keep in mind that we have about 40 more folks than last year, and this will take awhile. I recommend getting there early, and gettin' ta grillin'! 

6:00pm: I stop checking in riders. Once again, if I don't check your name against the roster before 6:00pm Friday night, I will not call you up to get a race bag, and there won't be extras! Inside each bag is a T.I.V7 cue sheet set that will get you to Checkpoint #1 Saturday morning. You can not ride without cues. At 6:00pm I will start to fixing my meal, as will David and the volunteers present. This will take us approximately a half an hour tops, (I hope). 

6:30pm: By this time, everyone should be eating, or very nearly done grilling up their vittles. As soon as possible at around this time, I want to start with remarks from David and I about the course, rules of the ride, and any other pertinent information we might have to share. This will immediately be followed by a Q&A period for you, the riders, to ask anything on your minds pertinent to the event. Hopefully we can wrap that all up by 7:00pm or so. 

7:00pm: Rider Call-Up: The time will come then for Rider Call Up. Each rider will be called up that checked in before 6pm to grab their race packet.   We will have the exact number of race packets lined up to be picked up. No more, no less. If you didn't sign in by 6:00pm, you won't get called up, and there won't be any cues for you. This will also include each rider signing a waiver and media release form. This will take awhile. I hope to be completely through with the rider list, sign in by 8:00pm. You will be free to leave as soon as you sign off on the waivers and pick up your race packet/bag.

A Word On Checkpoints And Support People: 
I was also asked whether or not folks supporting riders will be allowed at checkpoints or at any other spot on the course. Basically, anyone that wants to can sit around at the first checkpoint, (to be revealed at the Pre-Race Meat-Up), and watch the riders come through. After that, no support people or spectators are allowed on course!  You can ask me or my volunteers all you want, but it ain't gonna happen folks. I've said over and over again that Trans Iowa is not a spectator sport, and we will not tell you where riders are on course to "ease your conscious", or "just so you know where your sweetie is" at 4AM Saturday morning. If that rubs you the wrong way, don't show up at Trans Iowa. This is for the riders, and if the riders want to stop and call you up, then I can not stop that, but do be aware that in several places the cell phone coverage will be bad, or non-existent, and riders generally turn off cell phones to conserve battery life in roaming areas.

Secondly, we will not reveal the location of Checkpoint #2!  Don't even try asking, and I have a mind to DQ any riders attached to anyone who does ask. (I had a bad experience with regards to this last year, so don't test me.) First off, Checkpoint #2 is in the middle of no-where, with zero parking, and no amenities. Not a good place for your support, or spectating voyeurs to be hanging out. I don't want more cars there than our volunteer's car so we do not attract any more attention than necessary. More cars may jeopardize the event. So , no one will be allowed to hang out there other than my three volunteers. (And riders that show up, and pass through, of course)

You can hang out at the finish line, which will be at Lion's Park on the western edge of Grinnell. Please park in the street and walk over to where we will have a finish line set up by the very early hours of Sunday morning. No one has ever finished a Trans Iowa in less than 25 hours, so let that be a guide. The event ends at 2pm, Sunday, so any awards , (assuming the possibility of a finish), will be doled out as the morning unfolds, as has been done in the past. So, if you want to catch it, you'll have to be patient, wait, and most importantly- be there.

The Course: This necessarily answers another question I got about the course finish and start points. Both in Grinnell. The start is in front of Bikes To You on Broad Street, downtown Grinnell, at 4AM sharp on Saturday morning! The finish will be at the Lion's Park, as described above. The course is one "big assed loop" that riders will traverse out of Grinnell over gravel roads navigating by cue sheets provided by us. The fist set of cues will take riders to Checkpoint #1, then if they make the cut-off, they will receive cues to Checkpoint #2, which will be approximately halfway into the event, give or take ten miles. If riders make that checkpoint before the cut off time, (Cut Off times will be announced a week or two before the event), then they can receive cues to the finish line. Riders must finish before 2pm on Sunday for an "official" finish to be recognized.

Basic Rules: If you don't make a checkpoint cut-off time, even by one minute, you are done. We will not give out cue sheets to late comers. We do not make the route public- ever. So, if you fail to make cut-offs, or DNF for any other reason, you will not be able to gain access to the route that you didn't get cues for.

If you have to stop, get help, ask for a ride, or are too slow, you are on your own as far as getting back to your room, or homes. This is a self-supported event, and every rider is on his own journey. We will not be responsible for you. Ever. If you think you can't handle that, or your support folks can not deal with that, do not show up in Grinnell for this ride.

How will you know where to get someone that is pulling out? First off, the rider needs to call in to us via the DNF line. (You'll get this number at the pre-race).  We can give the rider his exact position. Then its up to you and the rider to figure it out from there. (Obviously, the cue sheet can be helpful to some degree here) You may need to back-track to a previous town. You may need to knock on a farmers door, but whatever it is you need, you'll have to get it on your own.

So think about that for a minute.

If things are looking badly, you may want to pull the plug at that town you are coming up on. It would be an easier place to find, right? (And you'll pass through several towns). At any rate, this is what self-support means. It means you have to make good decisions about you and your own safety. It means you have to think logistically, and carefully. Other riders may help you, and we suggest staying with at least one other rider as you go.

Okay, that's all for this week. Next week I'll have more......

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