Sunday, April 13, 2014

Trans Iowa V10: Final Course Check & Report

Cue the harps.....
First off, I want to say that the cues were 99% spot on and everything verified as far as the course we chose last year for this event. I have a few details to tweak. Mostly descriptors in the cues, and then the cue sheets are ready for production. That is a huge milestone and I am ready now to move into the final stages of production for T.I.V10.

Now, I could bore you all with the story of how I awoke at 4am and got going to meet Wally and George in Grinnell, or tell you how I got pulled over by a cop for no apparent reason on the way down and was let go, or how I was mistaken for a Southwestern Iowa construction company owner, but all you really want to know is what the course was like. So, I'll get on with it.......

First of all, the course was bone dry. Really dry in a kind of, I am worried about a drought kind of dry. The creeks were super low, rivers were really low. Dust was blowing everywhere, and all the B Maintenance roads were cracked wide open they were so dry. There were several areas I was concerned about for wet weather due to the low lying nature of the roads and proximity to marshy areas or creeks, but all three of us agreed that it would take nearly two weeks of consistent rains to even begin to bring water levels to a point where we need to worry. Of course, anything is possible, and we could go from bone dry to flooding, but the extended forecasts don't point to that trend. Yes, right now they are calling for many days of "showers", but that isn't going to put much of a dent into this dry condition we have now. We'll see.......

This is representative of what every B Road looked like.
As far as maintenance, there was little done up to this point. There were stretches of fresh gravel, indicating things on the maintenance front are just heating up. Expect gobs of fresh gravel again this year. I'm pretty certain that by the looks of the roads we were on that approximately 80-90% had not seen a maintainer yet this year.

Amazingly, the roads were not damaged by the switch from Winter to Spring at all. With the lone exception of one frost heave we saw, and maybe a couple pot holes, these are the best looking roads I think we've had in Spring in years. Wally quipped that the roads were so good he may even throw in his hat and ride! (<====HA!) Well........many were smooth. However; will they be that way in two weeks, or will they be swimming in fresh gravel, or saturated in rain? Who knows.....??

So it will likely come down to the "wild card" again. The Weather. Last year was a "gift", and likely not to be repeated again this time, but most probably will be somewhat worse in some way. Too hot, (like Saturday when it was in the mid-80's), or too windy, or too cold, or too wet, or whatever, but the weather is going to play a part in Trans Iowa. It always does. If Trans Iowa had been this weekend, it would have been the wind and the heat which would have decimated the field on Saturday then the rain and lightning would have likely finished everyone else off. I'm pretty sure there would have been no finishers on this weekend!

On the convenience store situation: It is our belief that anyone getting to Checkpoint #2 before 8:00pm will likely miss the opening of the convenience store opportunity at approximately 253 miles into the course. The previous convenience store is about 80 miles earlier. However; the timing of when you get to CP#2 will likely determine your fate. The earlier you get there, the more chances are that you will not make it by 11:00pm when the convenience store at mile 253 closes. That particular store does open at 6:00 am. And by the way, that is the opening and closing times for all convenience stores in the area this year. What does this mean? It means that if you are fast, you'll have to go about 121 miles to get to a convenience store that is open. Plan accordingly....... (Note: I did not say that CP#2 was anywhere near a convenience store.) The route goes right by every convenience store but one which is a block off the route.

UPDATED 4/13/14: Weather has moved in and the course has, (or will have), received upwards of two inches of rain. This coming week will feature much cooler weather and snow is a possibility. This means two things: It will not be bone dry for your Trans Iowa attempt, and it will be a lot greener out there!  My back yard went from brown to emerald green overnight as if a light switch had been thrown!

Thank You: Thanks to Jeremy for doing the early recons with me and for going over the cue sheets first. He found several mistakes that needed correcting. Thanks to Wally and George for reading the route, following it, and helping hone the cues to perfection.

Due to these gentleman's expertise and volunteer help, your cue sheets will be reliable and clear as much as I can make them to be. Now, on to the final stages on the road to T.I.V10.......

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