Sunday, December 28, 2014

Trans Iowa V11: A Look At The Rules Part 15

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".

Last week I talked about weather related stuff HERE, and now it's time to talk more about navigation:

17: No GPS Systems allowed for navigation. GPS's are allowed for personal data and recording your ride.

I'll be completely honest here, I don't know exactly where this one comes from. Be that as it may, I certainly do know how this rule has affected Trans Iowa, as it is something that pops up as a question every year. GPS units have become increasingly popular and used for all sorts of things. Not only that, but you have Strava and all kinds of odd ball applications for GPS including cell phones and cameras! Tracking an individual has become quite easy if you aren't careful. Or maybe you want to be tracked!

Whatever the case, early on in Trans Iowa we were only concerned with letting folks know we weren't going to provide a GPS track for the course, and quite frankly, it would have been impossible for us. We were on a shoestring budget and gadgets were not on our radar. We were contacted by the Trackleaders/SPOT guys and at one point I even reached out to them on the suggestion of T.I.V5 winner, Joe Meiser. It never really worked out for several logistical reasons, so that never happened. Now GPS tracking units come in several forms, and we even have some riders carry SPOT units on their own. But that doesn't help with navigation......

Navigating by GPS was our concern, but we figured out later on that if anyone were to try to download the cues given to them into a GPS tracker/Nav unit, they would have maybe 50 miles of the course, (and you probably could easily follow someone in the event anyway at that point), then you'd have a handful of cues to try to get into a GPS unit at CP#1, and then what? Yeah......logistically it just doesn't work. Plus, we just couldn't figure out how the heck folks would read their nav unit and ride, and whatever..... It probably could be done, but it would be very impractical.

So, what most folks want anyway is to have a track of their ride with stats. We made a decision for riders to be able to do that as long as the unit wasn't being used for navigation, which again, would be highly impractical anyway. As far as we know, GPS, while becoming much more prevalent, hasn't impacted Trans Iowa negatively so far.

Next Week: You Are Responsible For You......again!

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