Sunday, March 16, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: Checkpoint Cutoff Times

Today the information I am laying out here is vital for all Trans Iowa V10 participants, and after the detailed time cut off info there will be a re-posted bit on why the time cut offs exist as they do. Please keep in mind, if you miss a cut off, even by a minute, your Trans Iowa is done.

Okay, so here are the times:
  •  Checkpoint #1  @ 53.65m- CLOSES @ 9:30am SHARP!!
  • Checkpoint #2: @176.65 m CLOSES  @ 9:30pm SHARP
  • Finishline @ 336.75 CLOSES @ 2pm Sunday April 27th! 
You'll notice that the time cutoff times are identical. That is on purpose so you, as a rider in Trans Iowa, only have to remember one time. Of course, the first checkpoint closes in the morning, the second in the evening, but the number you have to remember is the same for both. I figured it would make things easier on all of us.

Now for the re-posted bit, which originally was up here previous to the running of Trans Iowa V8.
There are a few reasons for time cut-offs. First, many folks may not know this but one of the co-founders of the event, Jeff Kerkove, came from a 24 hour racing background. Having an overall time cut off was normal practice for an event that he would have done, so it was that when Trans Iowa was conceived, there was a time cut-off for the entire event. Besides, we had to be back to work on Monday after the event! Seriously though, we wanted there to be a challenge factor involving time.

At the eleventh hour we sprang a time cut-off to the Checkpoint in Algona the first year. This was done because we realized at the last moments that we needed to keep me moving along the route to check out things, and that we couldn't expect Jeff's parents to be sitting there in Algona waiting on riders for however long they took. Also- and more importantly- we knew that if a rider didn't get to Algona by "X" time, they wouldn't finish by our overall cut-off anyway. (For a recap of the first Trans Iowa, see this.)

Waiting for riders at the only Checkpoint for Trans Iowa V1

How were these cut-offs arrived at?

 Subsequently, after T.I.V1, we announced what the checkpoint cut-offs were ahead of time. Checkpoint cut-offs and over all event cut-off times were determined based upon a "ten miles covered on course every hour" formula. This was arrived at by thinking about the over-all time stamp for Trans Iowa.

Obviously there would be a start time, but we determined that in order to allow for riders and support folk to get back home for a possible work assignment, school attendance, or what have you, we had to cut off the event sometime in the early afternoon of Sunday. (Given our weekend time slot for Trans Iowa) We then pushed back the start of Trans Iowa by suggestion of Mike Curiak to force riders to use their lights out of the gate. This starting time was determined to be 4am, to allow us to cut off the event at 2pm Sunday, and still give our riders the 10 miles covered every hour on course minimum.

Okay, so the over-all mileage of any given Trans Iowa fluctuates a bit, so this meant that 34 hours over all would be the parameters in which to fit the event into. Then comes the checkpoints. These are figured- by design- on a slightly different level than I used to in the early days.

Remote Checkpoint, Dennis Grelk (Image by W. Kilburg)
 So, why not make the cut-offs easier to attain?

 Okay- Trans Iowa is a challenge. It is supposed to be difficult to do, because if you all could finish it, what would that mean to anyone? Just like not everyone will win a race, not everyone will be able to finish any given Trans Iowa. Sometimes no one finishes Trans Iowa. (But that's another story.)

So, with that in mind, I usually set a slightly quicker time cut-off for the first checkpoint into the event. It usually entails riding 50-55 miles in 4 plus hours or so. Sometimes the mileage is less than 50, and sometimes the time is more than 4 hours. It all depends upon my design for the course. This year you'll have to ride about 53.65miles and you'll have 5.5 hours to do it in. If you don't make it in that amount of time, you are done. But I also believe that you wouldn't finish in 34 hours overall either. Plus- I don't want my volunteers sitting there all day waiting on stragglers. Finally, there are some intangible things, such as the challenge factor, that figure into my decision each year.

But what if I travel from a long ways away and don't even get to ride past the first 50 miles or so?

Now, perhaps this all seems arbitrary, unfair, and unnecessary to you. Maybe you are thinking the cut-offs should be relaxed to make it more attractive for those coming from afar. I have one answer to that, "Trans Iowa isn't for you." That's right. Trans Iowa isn't for everybody, and if you don't think it makes sense in one way or another, do not sign up, and do not ask me to change anything about it. I have it tweaked out to where I like it, it is easier to put on the event, and most folks that have ridden in it like it as well.

That isn't to say that I don't want, or that I do not get advice on how to run Trans Iowa. I do, and I ask for that from those that have ridden it. You might be interested to know that almost to a person, no one has had an issue with time cut-offs since the first Trans Iowa. I can count on one hand with three fingers gone how many complaints I've gotten about that. So, you see, it seems to be working for most folks that accept this challenge.


MG said...

Well, one of those three is sorry he spoke up. He was just frustrated at his own failure and had yet to come to grips with it. We'll call it progress...

I can't wait to toe the line!

Michael Lemberger said...

So, there are convenience stores shortly after checkpoints 1 and 2?

Guitar Ted said...

@Mauricio Babilonia- One will have to pay attention to his surroundings and the cue sheets, then one must make a decision. ;>)