Sunday, December 14, 2014

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 13

Cues have changed a bit since T.I.V3
Last year I did a historical overview of each Trans Iowa up to T.I.V9. This year I am going to revisit something that I feel many folks have overlooked for a long time; The "Race Rules".

I skipped this series last week due to the Trans Iowa Clinic, but now I'm back on track again. The last post in this series was about lighting and cell phones. This time we're talking about Rule #14 which reads as follows....

14: Racers will be supplied a course map, a.k.a Cue Sheet.

A short rule with big implications. This isn't so much of a rule as it is a promise from myself/Trans Iowa to the riders in the event, and it takes a lot to get these published. Obviously, it is something pivotal to the event. The whole "self-sufficient. self-navigated" ethos of Trans Iowa falls on its nose if cue sheets are not part of the event and especially if they do not work as intended.

Cue sheets have evolved significantly through the years, but they still retain a certain basis in the cues we looked at for the Great Divide Race as it was set up and run back in the early 00's by Mike Curiak and associates unknown to me that were part of that circle. Note- this all predates "Tour Divide" by several years and that event doesn't figure into the early Trans Iowa influences at all.

It never occurred to me that cue sheets could be art!
Jeff Kerkove and I took that cue sheet idea and tweaked it to fit our needs and to be able to work on whatever file Jeff was creating them on inside of his Mac. Cue sheets would be drafted and then Jeff sent the file to a local printer to be printed, cut, and collated. I believe it cost us around $75.00 to do 50 sets of cue sheets back then.

Cues were produced in this manner through to the beginning of T.I.V3 when after getting the cues from Jeff I realized that they were way off after checking them. That year I printed them myself, a foreshadowing of how they would end up getting done in the future. The burden of cue sheet printing was then on David Pals from T.I.V4-T.I.V7 and fron V8 until now I have produced them "in house". Literally. Right in my house!

Sizes of cue sheets have shrunk mostly since V-1. I look back on some of those early ones and they look ginormous compared to what we use now. Accuracy has been honed to a fine point now, but there used to be a lot of mileage errors and even some wrong turns and mislabeled/unlabeled turns! Now it is rare with all the checks and re-checks I have instigated since T.I.v3.

On Spring cue sheet check of the T.I.V10 course
 One of the biggest changes is that now we drive the entire course in Spring using the cue sheets as our navigational guide. If something doesn't make sense, or if there are road changes, we can catch those before I print 100 plus sets of cue sheets. Also, then the mistakes don't reach the riders, and that's the most important thing. We've found mistakes and had to make re-routes after this recon too. It's a necessary thing with an event course this big.

Besides, it is a much looked forward to event for George and Wally who have been stalwart supporters of Trans Iowa of late. These two bring their rig, spend an entire weekend away from home, and bounce around on gravel roads with me to do this and call it fun. I owe them a lot, and so do the riders of Trans Iowa, if I do say so myself. Their sacrifices allow me to make sure everything is going to be pretty on the money for the cues at any Trans Iowa. But there is one more check I've put in place since T.I.V7 that also helps to keep the event cues fresh and avoid any last minute derailments.

That's my "day before" check of the route. Typically I am most interested in the first 50 plus miles to wherever the first checkpoint is located. The reason for the last minute check is to avoid the miscue we experienced during T.I.V7 where a road was shut down within two weeks of that event and was located within the first ten miles of the course. This caused us much consternation, missed signs by the riders, and was responsible for many riders missing the checkpoint #1 cut off that year. It was something that could have been prevented had I known ahead of time and could have communicated it to the riders at the Pre-Race Meat-Up. While I have not had to do anything major in that regard since then, I still will continue to do that last minute check. It did prove useful from a re-route standpoint for T.I.V8, which I did communicate before the event.

So, the rule says you will be provided cue sheets, and this is an important part of the event to me. I will strive to be 100% accurate with regard to execution of said cues for the riders to use. Hopefully I and my volunteers can fulfill that promise!

1 comment:

Scott Redd said...

Looks like I might need to ask my eye doc about bifocal sports glasses. I don't suppose you'll print a large-print edition for us, um, "seasoned" riders. ;-)