|A view of the Turkey River between Elgin and Elkader Iowa.|
I had been running the event South for the three previous editions, but this time I thought about how we had to move Trans Iowa out of Northeast Iowa and how maybe a running of the GTDRI up there might be fun from the standpoint of quality of the roads up in that area. I was not disappointed in what I found up there.
In fact, the course was sooo good that we revisited it on three more occasions and some of the best and worst GTDRI stories are from those four epic rides. Two of the times we did this route we started from Echo Valley County Park, and two other times we launched from Backbone State Park. But all four times the route was done in a "clockwise" loop.
Interestingly, that isn't how I initially envisioned doing this ride. I was going to start out heading Southeastward and basically doing the whole deal anticlockwise. You know......maybe I should try that sometime! But I digress......
The route ended up being a bit more than a 100 miles, I think it was around 110, but I'd have to consult my blog posts later into 2009. That'll come out when we get to reviewing it soon enough though. Stay tuned.... For now suffice it to say that I knew that this would be a very scenic course, and a very, very tough one. Those things were both born out in the riding of it.
So, anyway, this course is an enduring classic. I wouldn't mind doing it again, as mentioned here already, and I think it makes for a fantastic century gravel route. That's why we did it four times for the GTDRI. No other course has been repeated this many times. The past "Tour of Dirt Roads GTDRI" course, which we have run the past two years consecutively, is another "classic" GTDRI course. That's another one I'd be willing to pull off again some year. But that will have to wait.