Monday, April 10, 2017

Trans Iowa v13: Final Course Check Report

When I got to Grinnell to meet with the guys, I felt I was being watched....
The good news, for the time being, is that the final recon of the T.I.v13 course is complete and that the course is good to go. No major issues, nothing wrong right now. That could change, but hopefully it will not. I am going to cover the reroute procedure later just in case, but this post will be all about the route.

Wally and George weren't expecting me so early, but since I was too early for the Frontier Cafe, we ate at Club McDonald's instead. Not nearly as good, but hey! We had 330 plus miles of gravel to drive!

We got going by 7:00am and the Sun was up in the sky with a very nice day on tap for us. It was very windy from the South all day. We got going and it was cool, but we recorded temperatures into the upper 70"s in the afternoon. Clouds came in late, but it was a perfect day to do this recon. We were all done by 5:00pm. I stayed in Grinnell and hung out with Wally & George so I didn't get back home until 9:30pm,

It was (painfully, by the way), obvious that the roads have not been touched since Winter set in. Pot holes, washboard, and a few ruts made for jarring, rough conditions in the truck. I know, you think I am whining and blowing that up, but my lower back says that is a correct assessment as I write this. You can say what you want, but this was by far the roughest Trans Iowa recon I've ever been on.

What that means for the riders of T.I.v13 is that you can fully expect there to be lots of road maintenance and fresh gravel. In the next three weeks, those roads we were on will be vastly different. That much I can assure you of.

Some images.....

On the way to Checkpoint #1. Sunglasses necessary.
There will be one Level B Road on the way to CP"1, so be prepared!
Level B Roads were all pretty dry, despite all the rain we had earlier in the week. We had several wet spots, and one road was a straight up mile of slop. So, there will be some challenges if it is wet a few days before the event. If it stays real dry for a week or so before T.I.v13, these B Roads will still be treacherous. They are rutted and torn up by overzealous 4X4'ers and quads. We had to take all of them pretty slowly unless we wanted to bounce ourselves off the roof of George's Ford.

Some Images......

We made a mess of George's truck in one Level B.
An example of ruts in a dry Level B. Some were rutted all the way across, but this one was not.
Of course, there will be hills in Trans Iowa. That isn't a surprise, I am sure. However; I do want to underscore something here. We have fast, curving down hills that will test your abilities. I suggest that riders use extreme caution for many of the descents this year. STAY TO THE RIGHT!! There are blind corners on these fast down hills which will not show you a car coming until it is too late. YOU MUST STAY TO THE RIGHT and not be tempted into flying down these hills in the middle of the road. If these roads get gravelled up, which I fully expect, this will become a HUGE issue.

This advice hasn't been necessary since the days when we used to run out of Decorah where similar curvy downhills exist where you cannot see to the bottom of the hills. One rider, who shall remain nameless, did not heed my warnings and crashed 16 miles in, dislocating his shoulder and ending his T.I. attempt. DON"T BE STUPID! I am not joking around here, this Trans Iowa has SEVERAL of these descents in it.

Long, fast down hill runs exist across several parts of the T.I.v13 course. STAY RIGHT!!
Conversely, what goes down must go back up again. The adherence to the STAY TO THE RIGHT rule will be imperative. We were surprised by more than a few cars cresting hills on recon. Traffic was maybe higher than usually seen on some Trans Iowa's on this particular course, so please keep your heads up and be aware that you are on OPEN ROADS and that you must obey the rules of the road.

The roads were very dry, by the way. That doesn't mean anything to you, the riders, right now or even the night before the event. Things can and have changed within hours of a Trans Iowa start. (T.I.v11 anyone?) So, keep tabs on the weather and plan accordingly.

End of a long, enjoyable, prosperous day.
There are going to be more technical, "brain stretching", and navigational challenges to this Trans Iowa than ever before. Logistically, you MUST CARRY 100 MILES WORTH OF WATER AND FOOD. YOU MUST RESTOCK THAT SUPPLY AT EVERY CHANCE.

I'm not fooling. Convenience stores are hard to find that stay open 24 hours and that are not on super busy, 4 lane highways or on high traffic roads in bigger towns. These days, I have to insist on your being more self-sufficient than ever. If you decide that you are going to skip a stop you are dumb, and if you bonk out of Trans Iowa do not come crying to me. I am pretty sure many of you fast guys and gals will come at the "wrong time" through the last town out and end up making yourselves go 120 miles between the last stop and the end. You've been warned! Oh yeah, and Walmart counts as a resupply stop choice. Think about that.......

Trans Iowa v13 may be the toughest one yet, and that is without weather factored in. The technical aspects, logistical aspects, and the usual navigational and distance challenges will be right up there with anything I've come up with yet. Add in any inclement weather or winds, well...... We will see. I don't expect anything near the finishing rate we had last year, let's just put it that way.

Speaking of the finish, I will reiterate- THE FINISH IS AT MILLER PARK/LAKE NYANZA and not at the place we finished at last year. So please make that distinction in your plans. Miller Park is a bit easier to get back and forth to from the main motels you'll be using and has a bit less impact on residents of Grinnell early on a Sunday morning.

Okay, I'll have a couple more T.I.v13 specific posts in the coming weeks leading up to T.I.v13, so apologies to those not interested who read here and please pay attention if you are in T.I.v13. Thank you!!

Thanks! Thank you especially to Wally & George who have contributed so much to the accuracy and effectiveness of Trans Iowa cues since T.I.v9. I couldn't do it without your invaluable help.

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