Monday, November 03, 2014

Trans Iowa V11 Recon #2 Report: Part 2

When the big semi-tractor trailer rigs went by us, we were blinded!
The recon had moved to looking at the end of the route after we had scouted out a town with a 24 hour a day convenience store. There were a lot of county road miles to get there, but we did reach the ending miles of the course and started out checking into what we had for the tail end of T.I.V11.

The gravel roads were really DRY. Dust was kicking up off trucks and cars as if we had Saturn V booster rockets attached to the backs of our automobiles. This was a concern, especially when a tractor trailer rig went buzzing by at a high rate of speed. The ensuing dust cloud would render us blind to anything we were driving toward for several nerve wracking moments. It was hairy, to say the least. I snapped this image only after I could gain a modicum of visibility, but a moment before this image it was total "dust-out"!

Jeremy and I also noted that the rivers and streams were all very low. Maybe not as desperately low as they were two years ago, but they weren't far off from that low mark. If Winter's snows are sparse and Spring isn't drenching us in rain, we could see yet another dry Trans Iowa. Who knows though?  The B Roads have been pretty lame the last couple of years. Could this be the year when those roads raise their ugly heads and cause all sorts of havoc with the Trans Iowa riders? We're due for that to happen, I think.

The reason for the massive dust making. Corn transportation. 
The T.I.V11 course winds away into the distance.
A two mile stretch of Level B that about rattled our teeth out. It might be muddy next April.....
This Level B didn't make the cut. We deleted it. 
The back end of the course is a completely different animal than the first part, and different from the middle part as well. The only common thread is gravel and dirt. There will be the occasional Level B Maintenance road, and lots of gravelly goodness. In this ending salvo of T.I.V11, we did locate another convenience store that stays open for 24 hours a day. So, this means that overnight provisions shouldn't be an issue and the spacing is darn near perfect from store to store to the end of the event.

408 miles and over a tank of gas over the12 hours I was gone.
There was a Level B Maintenance road we deleted. It was actually wet and muddy in spots. The only such place we encountered all day. I figured that if there was standing water now, when it was bone dry everywhere else, then this Spring it could be really bad! In fact, it was so bad this past weekend already that I almost got the truck stuck there.

The course was done in patches, so I cannot comment yet on totals for anything just now. I have to sit and piece everything together before I can make any further analysis. However; the distance should be something less than 338 miles and we do know that the convenience store situation looks to be spot on. Checkpoint locations are nailed down, and we are pretty sure that we are ending at the barn again. There could be some tweaking of some things, but we're really, really close to the final form for this version of Trans Iowa.

Comments: In my view, this course is the most different from the others I have done. It is going to have a distinct "split personality" and the B Roads could really figure strongly into the final outcome, but I don't think this course will be overly adversely affected if the weather gets wet. Of course, if the weather goes to T.I.V2- V6 levels of wetness, all bets are off.

Logistically this could turn out to be nearly perfect for the riders.  The 24 hour a day convenience stores really helped here for this event. So, no worries about store closures. Of course, you have to get that far, and yes- you still have checkpoint cut off times to deal with. That said, this looks good to me from that standpoint and that is a big worry of my mind.

I wasn't all that stoked about where this course was going in the beginning. Now I am fairly excited about how this is looking. Now it is time to finish up the registration, and then it will be on to making cue sheets and tweaking the things that need to be tweaked. Stay tuned.........

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