Tuesday, January 17, 2023

Ride Plans Taking Shape: Update

A week ago I floated some ideas that I was going to try and pursue for 2023 rides on gravel. I'm not going to recap everything said there here today, so you may want to review that post for context.

I received enough positive feedback on the ToBHC idea that I took some time to research an alternative to the Western border section that has been paved. There is a solution, so that could be implemented and it would add about three miles to the loop. 

However; as I reviewed the original course, I was a bit dismayed by the short sections of pavement sprinkled all over on the Eastern side of Black Hawk County that I felt I had to utilize. I was sticking myself into a bit of a box considering the original idea which was "Mike & Todds 105" ride, an old pavement century loop of Black Hawk County done back in the 1990's I was aware of. I realized over the past week that I didn't have to stick to those self-imposed rules and I could still have a "Tour of Black Hawk County" that was a bit more interesting than what I had done originally. 

So, here's to a completely new course! Yep! That's right! This allows me to try and loop together a bunch of what is cool in Black Hawk County, not just a circumnavigation of it. I will be making a list of things I would want to ride and ride by for sights and see if I can make it into something coherent.

That doesn't mean that there won't be some paved sectors. I know that there are some things I want to show off in far Eastern Black Hawk County that will require some bits of pavement to be included to get there. Notably crossings of HWY 20, as an example. But I'll see if I can work it out so that we have more gravel than the original ToBHC.

Then as far as mileage goes, I want to keep this around a century. Definitely 100 miles, definitely not more than 110 miles. To my way of thinking, some mileage over 100 is forgivable, but doing say, 96 miles? Why so close to bagging a century and stopping short? Doesn't make sense to me. So, a 100+, but not a lot more than that. 

And as far as Black Hawk County goes, I've been on everything gravel and dirt the county has to offer by bicycle. I can say with confidence that there is really not a lot of reasons to ride Southern Black Hawk County, especially in the Southwestern quadrant. Only a couple of things stand out- The Petrie Road Level B section, and the three mile Level B section I used which is actually in Tama County on the original ToBHC route. Otherwise? Meh!  Well, I think so, anyway. 

So, this route will likely be mostly on the East side of Waterloo, but I'm not 100% sold on that until I start trying out route ideas, fitting in the resupply points, and so on. So, I have some work to do and if you are interested in this, it will be a ride that has some visual and historical interest. Not just miles of "on-the-grid" gravel with no real stimulation other than corn, beans, and dust. Although let's face it- There will be a LOT of that too! Ha ha! 

Beyond that there was a suggestion by me that this might be a GTDRI-like deal and there were a couple dates suggested as well. I have no news on any of that other than to say that my first inclination was to get this done in May. I could see this slipping into June, but honestly, the sooner the better for me. It'll keep my feet to the fire, and that's a good thing.

More on this when I have something to share.

1 comment:

fasteddy said...

Sounds terrific. No idea if I’ll be able to participate, but I would love to.