Saturday, February 04, 2012

Trans Iowa V8: Cue Sheets Explained

Today I want to walk you T.I.V8 folks through the cue sheet format for this edition of Trans Iowa. Here I will give you the size of the sheets, and explain simple cues and symbols that will be used and how to interpret them It's pretty simple, really, so don't fret.

Dennis Grelk Winning T.I.V7 (Image W. Kilburg)
First off, the cues should be about (UPDATE: sizes are varied- biggest are actually 6" long, but all fit into a standard sandwich bag)... and should fit into a standard sandwich baggy. They will be printed on heavy paper and the ink will run if they get wet. So take the necessary precautions when handling and using these. Trans Iowa isn't going to give you fancy-pants laminated cues, or waterproof cues, or what have you. I can't afford such niceties.

Secondly, the mileages will reset at each check point. So, you may want to zero out your computer when you get new cues to match the mileages on the sheets, or reset one of the trip functions if your computer has two. NOTE: If you take a detour to use a restroom, get food, etc, your mileage will be off from the cues. Just keep that in mind.

So, here is an example of a typical line from a cue sheet that is pretty straight forward....

157.8   R  On 125th Ave.

So let's break that down: The "157.8" refers to mileage from the start, or from the last checkpoint. Mileage for the entire course has been pulled from GPS, so it should be pretty spot on. I checked it against my odometer and found it was quite accurate. (Better than my truck!) But that said, don't expect to be perfectly in tune with the mileage. If you do, your computer, your wobbly route, your going off the route for a slice of pizza, or whatever is going to throw your mileage slightly off and you may get frustrated. Don't sweat it, it's okay. You'll get the hang of when to look for a corner/turn/landmark as you go.

The second thing, the "R" is a directional cue. In this case it means "Right turn". I'll break down all the symbols in a moment. But what you need to know is that at approximately mile 157.8, you need to look for a right turn.

Next we have "On 125th Ave." Okay, almost all of Iowa's back roads have signage. Each sign looks like a street sign. These signs will be posted in the vicinity of the intersection. In some cases the signs will be plain to see. In some cases the signs may be obscured by trees, buildings, or they may not be right on the corner where you think they should be. Look around. If I give a cue like the one above, I have seen the sign with my own two eyes. It's there. In some cases, there is no sign at a corner. This happens at least three times in T.I.V8. I indicate this on the cues.

At the start of T.I.V7 (Image W. Kilburg)
Okay, that was a straight ahead, simple cue. Let's take a look at something else that will appear a lot on T.I.V8's cues.

26.9  BL  >>178th St.
 Okay, here you have the mileage from the start/checkpoint, (26.9), and then "BL". This stands for "Bear Left". Almost always this will be self evident out on the road, but it is a way to make sure you are on track. If you come to a cue like this at that mileage and the road is straight, you may want to stop and verify where you've been. You may be lost! Other times "BL", (and of course, "BR" for "bear right"), may indicate that you are to stay to the right at a weird intersection or at a fork in the road. The description following a "BR" or a "BL" should give you proper clues as to why you are doing this.

Next you see the ">>" symbol which stands for "continue on". So in this case, you are going to "bear left" at mile "26.9" and "continue on" "178th St". In this case, you would not see a sign for the road name. The "178th St" is given to let you know you are still on 178th St and the road name has not changed even though your direction has, if you were on 178th St to begin with. If, however, you were on, say "Streeter Ave" before the "BL", the indication is that the road name is now "178th St." Usually I will indicate something like that in the following manner:

78.5  BR  Road becomes L Ave.
 So in that instance, you were on a road named something else, but when you "bear right" the road changes names to what is indicated, "L Ave". Next we'll cover another common symbol you will see. 

102.8  X  Cross HWY 63 DANGER!
 Of course, "X" in this instance means "cross" and you should exercise extreme caution when crossing any paved road on T.I.V8. I also will use the "X" symbol for crossing rail roads, and major bridges or other roads. 
Here is another important cue symbol to remember.....
98.2  ST  Stay on Dangerfield Rd./ C-70
Okay, first off, the "ST" stands for "stay on", meaning do not change roads, or that you are still on the right path in the instance of a long, unbroken stretch of twisty-turny road, which does happen a few times on T.I.V8's course. "ST" could also be used for going "straight ahead" at a point that I thought may be confusing. Again, the descriptor afterword should clear up why you are to go "straight ahead". In the given example, you are to stay straight on "Dangerfield Rd." which is also signed "C-70". Some gravel roads have "county road" designations which are signed on rectangular shaped signs with blue back grounds and using white alpha-numeric designations. You can use these signs as assurances you are on route if I give the designations on the cues, and that is why I am providing those. Okay, next is a tricky one that may throw you off if you don't pay attention! 

J.Fry leaves Checkpoint #2 (Image W. Kilburg)
    62.04  L  On 44th Ave.
   62.15  QR  On 127th St.

Whoa! What just happened there! might find you are saying this when you see the above. Here's the deal...You just turned off a road, making a left on 44th Ave, then a hair over a tenth of a mile later, (which isn't very far!), you have "QR", which stands for "quick right". The "Q" in front of an "L" or an "R" means that turn immediately comes after the preceding cue. In other words, the above example is two turns in quick succession, thus the"QR" designation here, or in other cases it may be a "QL", of course, which is "quick left". Sometimes the cue sheet will read "QR then QL" in the descriptor, indicating the turns are so close together I did not see making two separate cues necessary. In other cases like that I will do.....

157.8  JJ  Jig-a-Jog QR>QL>127th St.
So in this instance, at mile 157.8, you "JJ", or "Jig-a-Jog". What is a "Jig-a-Jog"? It is a quick wiggle in the road, a very tight "S" curve, or an offset in the road. The descriptor tells you: "QR>QL>127th St.". Interpreted this means: "Quick Right to Quick Left to 127th St." If this is a case of the road being offset, there will be a sign, but if it is an "S"  curve, there will not be a sign, but the directions should make sense. 

Finally, a few notable things: Some times you will read in the descriptor for a cue "enter small town". I am refraining from actually putting the names of towns on the cue sheets so anyone tempted to call and have something "dropped" ahead for them, or anyone wanting to have some one meet them on the sly on some city or town street for support won't have that temptation to do that. NOTE: Anyone caught doing something of this nature will be immediately DQ'ed. 

In a couple of places I indicate in the descriptor for a cue that a convenience store is within eyesight. 

In some instances, several road designations will be given. As an example: 

124.6  R  On Branch St./ C-57/ 125th St.
Some roads are given several designations on the county plat maps. One or more of these may be signed, maybe only one of them will be. Sometimes the signs appear at different points up the road. I give all given designations in case you see one of them and wonder if you got lost. Also, should you need to give your location to me, and I in turn to someone else, the complete description on the cue may make finding you easier, should you need to have your support person come fetch you. That said, here is another opportunity to say You Are Responsible For You!! Trans Iowa Is Not Coming To Bail You Out, Nor Anyone Associated With Trans Iowa. You Are On Your Own Private Excursion. 

So, a quick review of symbols here: "L" and "R" are "Left" and "Right", "BL" and "BR" are "Bear Left" and "Bear Right", and "QR" and "QL" is "Quick Right" and "Quick Left". "X" stands for "Cross", "ST" stands for "Straight", and ">>" stands for "continue on". Finally, "JJ" stands for "Jig-a-Jog". (Interesting Note: "Jig-a-Jog" is a term former co-director David Pals turned me on to, and I use it in the cues as a reminder of his past work with me on Trans Iowas.)


galaxysearchlights said...

rider symbols ,,, "RO" = rock on! and "CW" = can't wait
and do not forget "TY" = thank you!

John said...

bMark, question about the card layout...looking at the card to read it would it be 4 3/4 wide and 3 3/4 tall? That makes sense, just wanted to check before I start hole punching ziplocs. Thanks.

Guitar Ted said...

@John: Actually the 4 3/4" is the length, and the 3 3/4" is the width.

Longer than wide.

MG said...

OK GB. Thx.