Monday, December 03, 2012

Trans Iowa V9: Recon Part II

Sample Fog Image
Trans Iowa V9 recon is done. That is a nice sentence to write. I don't think that's happened this early but one other time, and that attempt got derailed in the end.

Once more I was joined by current volunteer and Trans Iowa finisher Jeremy Fry. He navigated, I drove, and we went onward through the fog. Literally. It was really quite soupy out there at times.

First off, I am quite thankful we didn't get in an accident. It was pretty sketchy out there at times, and there were plenty of opportunities for calamity to occur. Secondly, I am quite thankful that conditions of the road surfaces were tops. Even the B Maintenance roads were nice and we traversed all of them that are on the course in the second half of the event.

Now for some finer details. We started from where we left off last time which was about 12 miles beyond Checkpoint #2. The point where we began leads off into a slew of hills. In the semi-dark and fog, it was hard to get a true picture of the landscape, but it felt like we went up a lot more than we were going down.

Sample B Maintenance Road Image
Somewhere in this early going, Jeremy's Garmin recorded an incline of 14%. There were several grades near that as well. After we got along about 25-30 miles in the fog actually lifted for a spell. Then we could easily discern the landscape and the going was much easier for us, albeit still quite hilly.

Winding our way along, (yes- there are quite a few curvy spots in the course), we finally got to a point where we came across our first B Maintenance road of the day. This one I didn't discover until I laid out the recon route maps on Friday. It was a short-ish, maybe 3/4 mile long jaunt of indeterminate difficulty. We'd find out when we got there.

I wasn't too keen on driving any B Maintenance roads, but when we looked at this one it didn't look all that bad. Just as long as there was no big dip into a huge mud hole, I figured we'd be okay. Jeremy had this fine gem of wisdom for me, as he quipped, "You always can use reverse."

Sample of Rollers Image

 Well, we made it through that section, and we made it through two more miles worth of B Maintenance roads with no issues. The dirt was remarkably dry. So, it would appear my fears were unfounded. However; the fog returned with a vengeance.

The roads were pretty decent. There were the usual sections of fresh gravel. There were several sections where the "three lanes" were pounded out and clear of chunk. Then there were a lot of intersections that had really bad washboard. So bad the truck would skitter a bit sideways.

Then there was a road, with about three to four miles worth of fresh gravel, and it was so rough, I couldn't go very fast without fear of getting crossways or going into the generous and steep ditch. Beyond those things everything looked pretty normal. We even got finished with this recon section before noon!

Now I move on to doing a draft of the cue sheets. These will be forwarded to our "Official Photographer", Wally. He will then do a complete recon in the Spring using nothing but the cue sheet drafts and will report on any miscues or confusing bits. This is the same method we used last Spring to verify the cue sheets.

Jeremy asked on the way home if this was a big weight lifted off of my shoulders now. Of course, it is, and I am stoked about getting beyond this hurdle and attacking the next set of details to bring the best Trans Iowa I can to the riders come Spring.


MG said...

Thank you so much for all your work on recon and cue sheets guys!! We spent yesterday putting 105 miles into our legs with nothing but TIv9 in our minds. We might be doing different tasks, but we're all prepping for the same day... Kinda cool.

Jeremy Kershaw said...

Thanks for the work GT! Scouting routes is really a lot of time and energy. Often enjoyable. But still a lot of time. Thanks for the effort.

Guitar Ted said...

@MG, @Jeremy Kershaw: Thanks guys. I hope that the weather behaves itself next April and this goes off as well as the recon has.

Ari said...

Thanks for the effort put into this.