Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational: Update

This bridge will be on the route this year.
Here's the last update on the Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational I will be posting here. For my previous update go HERE or see the "Official Site" of the GTDRI.

In this post I want to cover some finer details of the event and the course in particular. First of all, the route cues were independently checked by two separate and unknown to each other sources and four miscues were identified which have been changed now. NOTE: If you copied the cues that were in bold type like this there are mistakes. Please go back to the GTDRI page for the 2014 cues HERE and re-copy them as they are certified to be correct now.

Okay, with that out of the way, I wanted to give you my viewpoint on the route this year. As many of you may know, this is essentially a modification of the 2009-2010 version of the Death Ride which was a 118 mile loop out of Echo Valley Park. While I could just go and do that same loop again, the thing is, it doesn't accommodate a larger group of folks at the start/finish. Echo Valley Park is an amazing park, but it is primitive and lacks space to take on many cars for parking, and it isn't as accessible as I'd like it to be for out of towners.

David Pals and I chillin out in Strawberry Point in '09
However; a park exists near the route that is both easily accessible for travelers and has amenities like showers and copious amounts of campsites along with parking for day visitors. Plus, it is a short way to a town on the route that could accommodate those wanting a motel. All I had to do was to modify the route slightly and it was a done deal. Only a hair over two miles shorter, at 116 miles, it will give us all the feel and scenery that the '09-'10 route gave us with a better start/finish to boot. Not only that, but in my view, it does something else which I think is a positive for the riders this year. It breaks up the brutal hills into smaller bites.

The '09-'10 route started from Echo Valley Park with a few rollers which opened up the legs, but then it dove down a big sweeping hill, (where I about ate it at 40+mph in '09), and went pretty much dead flat for 25 miles. Then the route went into Elkader where we would eat breakfast, then we left and immediately hit some really tough climbs until we got a brief respite at Garber, then back into the frying pan for the worst hills of the route until we got just East of Strawberry Point, where we had another brief respite until we hit more crazy hills right up until the end of the route which was capped off by climbing the same sweeping down hill we had in the morning.

This new version will start out benignly enough with an easier route up until about 20-ish miles where we hit big hills that were near the end of the old circuit. This will go on until we get another 10-ish miles in and reach Volga. Not far up the road is Wadena where we will stop for morning vittles. Rollers ensue until we get to a couple big hills then we dive down to Echo Valley Road on the same down hill we had in '09 at about 47 miles. Then it's an easy 20-ish to Elkader where we will break for lunch.

You'll be here on this year's route if you come.
After Elkader we will cruise a few easy miles then it's up to the highest country of the route and the closest we will get to the Mississippi. Down and up will become a familiar theme along with an insane dirt road which will drop us down to the Turkey River and a brief respite from hilly madness through Garber Iowa at mile 84.50.

Better enjoy that brief rest because the steepest, longest climbs of the day await us after Garber. For the next 15 miles it will be a brutal awakening for those that think Iowa is flat at all. (As if you haven't been convinced enough of that before this point!) Fantail Road. That's all I have to say about that!

The good news is that the last 15 miles or so of the GTDRI for 2014 is a lot easier than it was in '09-'10. Strawberry Point will come in again with about ten to go, so if anyone needs a last minute boost, we can get it there. We may very well need it! In '09-'10 we had to gut out the last 20+ miles with no resupply and no real resting points. Plus, we ended at a primitive area that had nothing for us to refresh ourselves. This reroute should address both those points well.

So that about sums it up. The weather man is saying there is a possibility of showers Saturday morning, but no matter. I am going unless there is really severe weather. I'll be meeting any riders that show up at the river crossing in the center of Backbone Park on the main through road at 6am sharp to get the ride started Saturday morning. If you come as well, it should prove to be a good time.


Michael Lemberger said...

Hey, we having lunch at Two-Mit's in Elkader? I hear it's good and it's right on route...

Guitar Ted said...

@Mauricio Babilonia: I don't see why not. If we're making good time, it shouldn't be an issue.