Sunday, January 13, 2013

Trans Iowa Geekery

Here's an example of what I spent most of Saturday creating. (Note- not actual cues for T.I.V9!!)

5.0  B Level Road after Xing pavement
5.5   L On N. 87th Ave E.
7.5  BR On E. 156th St. N.
8.0  BL  On 340th
9.0  R On 20th St.
13.1  L On 380th/6th Street
13.3  R On Ferguson Rd.
13.8  L On 4th Ave. 
Cue sheets! The "lifeblood" of any Trans Iowa event, and if they are not right, things get pear-shaped in a hurry! So, I sweat the details on these things to a high degree. Over eight of these events, I've learned that there are certain elements to include, and certain ones that you can just ignore.  For instance, I used to call out every single stop sign. Even rural, in the middle of no where stop signs. Now days I don't even call out a single one. 

Also, I used to write down the names of the towns on the cue sheets. Now I rarely, if ever do that, because it was something that was causing possible cheating issues a while back. Folks in the event would get the second set of cue sheets at the first checkpoint, then look them over quickly to tell their friend/support/significant other to meet them in any towns indicated on the cues. Well, now they have no idea what towns they are going to unless they happen to see a water tower or find out when they get there from signage. 

But I did get out for a quick ride!
With that issue taken care of, I find a lot less people out cruising the event than I did before, but ya know what? it still happens. Even though I try to discourage it. Oh yeah....I'm watching you folks. But I have to say, it isn't a big problem anymore. 

Anyway- I did a hand written set of cues first, just to draft the way they would read, and to go over our notes from the recon. This obviously takes a while to do. But- it is imperative to dial in the accuracy of the event. The field notes weren't too complex this time. In fact- this time things were pretty straightforward in that regard. 

A few possible "trouble spots" were identified when we reconned the event, and those were noted in the cues. Now that a hand written set had been drafted, it was time to enter the data into a format I chose last year which seemed to be rather successful. I am a slow....slow typist. You might never think that for all the tapping of keys I do on the internet, but I am a two finger "hen-pecking" typist that maybe can do 20 words a minute. Really! I'm absolutely horrible at this. Anyway....

Now I have gotten things entered as far as Checkpoint #2. I'll do the last leg at another time, maybe tomorrow. We'll see. I spent almost all day doing just the above though! Well.......besides for about an hour or so. I layered up and rode this new rig in for testing on . It was a fun, very interesting bike. I rode a 2010 version of this, and the feel is really different. It is surprising what the enginerds can do with carbon fiber. But the ride was short because I am tapering down for Triple D. I  just wanted to get the legs spun out and get away from that dratted computer for awhile. 
Then I came back and geeked out on cue sheet sizing, number of sheets, and mileages. It was broken up by some family time and supper, but then I was back at it until close to midnight. Crazy! 
Well, the good news is that once it is done, I have only to do a final recon check with some volunteers that will verify my directions independent of  my input, using only the cues to guide themselves by. Then, if that makes sense to them, or if any thing needs clarification, I can act accordingly before printing off the final cue sheet forms for all the riders. That won't happen until Mid-March, so that means I can put T.I. stuff on the back-burner for a bit until then.


Exhausted_Auk said...

Remember to make the cue sheet font big enough for older entrants to read! Last year's cues were awesome in this regard - about the best I've seen.

Guitar Ted said...

@Exhausted_Auk: They will have the very same font and size as last year's did. The only major change was making all cue sheets the same size, instead of the random sized ones that were used last year.

I'm using the same formatting template as well. Last year, I didn't have a handle on how to get it to work on my computer, but this year I figured that part out! :>)

Steve Fuller said...

What do you mean by cruising the event? Did you mean support vehicles on course, or did you mean riders out riding and not being registered? Maybe I just need more coffee.

Guitar Ted said...

@Steve Fuller: I meant cars/folks with people in the event going from checkpoint to checkpoint, or meeting riders in between places. It's been an issue since the beginning, but was almost, (I stress "almost") extinct in the last running of T.I.

Barturtle said...

I had been wondering if the personal SAG vehicles were allowed to meet the racers at the checkpoints, not to provide food/equipment/repairs but to check on the mental state of the riders and pull them off the course if they are in no shape to continue.

Guitar Ted said...

@Barturtle: The answer is that no one outside of volunteers is allowed out on the course or at checkpoints. The reasons for this are many, but primary amongst them are that it is too tempting to offer moral support and whatever else. After running 8 of these I've seen a lot of "questionable" activity, and it isn't fair to the other riders who play by the spirit of the rules.