|This was pretty close to CP #1|
Getting back to the recon issues for T.I.v13, you might recall that I had to scrap the entire first leg to checkpoint #1 as I originally intended it to be due to the closure of a single, short span bridge on a Level B Road.
This section ended up becoming a real head scratcher due to the fact that it was devised after the rest of the route. This made getting the mileage right a big priority, since adding mileage was out of the question. Typically I also liked to use a small village to host the checkpoint in, but looking back on it, I suppose a remote corner in the middle of no where may have had to do if I didn't get a short enough distance figured out.
After hours of looking at maps, drawing up ideas, scrapping them, and then staring at the map to make sure I wasn't missing something, a route idea finally presented itself. I was actually pretty happy with how it turned out because I was able to put together several miles of previously unused roads into a town we had used as a checkpoint for v7, Baxter, Iowa.
I had to burn up a day off at work to get this checked out though. It was a big rush to get there and back so I'd be around to gather kids from school and other family related stuff. The actual time spent on course was but a pittance of what the overall windshield time was for the day, but what else could I do? This was during a time in January when the roads were clear and I wasn't sick. Ironically I was sick before and right after this, and recon would have been out of the question.
Then I had to wait until mid-March before another chance came up to go back down to the far Southwestern corner of the course where I wasn't happy with the original route. Jeremy agreed to come along so we hit the road early one March day and did our usual Frontier Cafe stop in Grinnell before getting over to where it was that I wanted to verify the course ideas I had.
It was a bit of a mixed bag. I took out a huge chunk of pavement and replaced it with two others that added up to the same amount of pavement. Gah! But it was good too because I felt 100% better about a couple of big highway crossings and that the new ideas were far safer for the riders.
So, this was pretty much the final bit of the puzzle in terms of putting together the complicated Trans Iowa v13 course. It also, at the time unbeknownst to me, was the last time I ever would do a recon with Jeremy. On the one hand, that sucked not knowing that would be the end of our run together. On the other hand, maybe it was good to just have it be another 'normal' recon for us. I don't know. But I do know that I still miss doing that with him. It was fun while it lasted.
Now it was mid-March, 2017, and I had a little over a month to do a complete final recon with Wally and George, get the cues set in stone, and get them printed. The stress over the route for this Trans Iowa stretched from October to April, and a day didn't go by that I didn't fret about getting it done on time, much less having it be to the high standards we had set for the event in terms of cues for the last five years running. This all on top of getting other logistical and procedural things arranged for T.I.v13 and you know, the rest of my life outside the event.
But at that point I was just happy to be looking at the light at the end of the tunnel, as it were. Trans Iowa v13 was coming together, but there was that last route check in April yet, and I was eager to schedule that as soon as possible.
Next: The final route check and trouble outside of Trans Iowa affects the day in "The Long Way Around - Part 5"