Sunday, March 23, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: Thoughts On The Roads

From this year's course.
One of my main concerns now is how the roads are coming out after this brutal Winter weather we've experienced. I must say that so far, the conditions have exceeded my expectations.

Three weeks ago we had maximum snow cover and we were experiencing the worst sub-zero temperatures of the season. Now- only three weeks later- the snow is almost completely melted. That in itself is pretty amazing.While things are looking great from that standpoint, there still is something else that will shape the outcome that has not happened as of yet.

That is the frost, which hasn't "come out" yet.

For those of you that may not understand, when Winter comes, it freezes the ground at the surface and for some depth below that. Generally speaking, that is usually about 4-5 feet down on any average Winter. However; it is estimated that the "frost" depths this year are twice that of normal. That will take  a while for the heat and energy of the Sun to "draw it out" of the ground. When it does this, we may see some spectacular road damage occur.

Minor frost damage as evidenced in the center of this road
Imagine a detachment of subterranean B-17's bombing the roads from underneath, and you might begin to understand "frost boils" and "frost heaves". These anomalies occur as frost is trying to melt, and water is pushed upward to the surface. This sometimes "boils" the ground into a fluffy texture, or it may manifest itself as a pocket of oozing mud. We had severe cases of this during T.I.v4 and again on T.I.v6.

Right now the roads look primo, and are fast and riding great. I've had reports of some county maintenance in the form of dump truck loads of fresh gravel. Holding out hope, if we do not see a tremendous amount of frost damage, and/or the weather holds out, and doesn't prevent maintenance, we may see an early start to the fresh gravel season. That would be a better situation than last year, which was pretty much smack dab in the midst of fresh gravel being put out.

Of course, this was the weekend when we had first planned to check the cues, but due to circumstances, and wanting to wait out the frost, we postponed it until our second choice, April 12th.  Hopefully by then we can see what sort of roads we will have on tap for T.I.V10.


matt said...


I agree that the gravel roads are terrific right now. It's great fun pushing 20-25 mph for a mile or so on a downwind run with little concern for loose/soft areas. 40mm tires seem like overkill.

Friday there was only one spot with fresh gravel, and that was only 1/4 mile or so out of the 23 miles ridden.

However, I also agree that the potential exists for the roads to get pretty bad in a hurry with thawing and/or rain.


Shane said...

Really looked hard at the Tamland. Wish it came in a frame set for the exact reasons you mention- cockpit and wheel components. There was also a production delay due to the Spires being recalled. Just curious what you thought about the brakes? All in all, this looks like a sweet rig!

Guitar Ted said...

@Shane Buscher: The TRP Spyres are very impressive so far. Quiet, lots of modulation and far. I imagine as they break in the feel will only improve.